Rick’s Cabaret about to make DFW layovers more fun

Rick's Cabaret airport strip clubDallas-Fort Worth International Airport is about to get a little sexier. The seventh-busiest airport in the world, with more than 5.7 million passengers passing through it every year (as of 2008), will soon be home to a new gentlemen’s club.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “airport” strip clubs are usually heinous places. Not far from the airport, they usually attract the lowest of talent and clientele. Well, the new club coming to DFW is different: it’s a Rick’s Cabaret property. Even though it will be on the freeway near DFW, Rick’s will not look like the usual fare near an airport, given the upscale nature of its brand.

“Special use permits have been issued that enable us to operate an adult nightclub at this unique location near the world’s seventh busiest airport,” said Eric Langan, President and CEO of Rick’s Cabaret. “We are awaiting issuance of a mixed beverage permit by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. We plan to open the location on January 15th in time for Super Bowl. All construction is complete and the place looks great.”

This will be the sixth Rick’s Cabaret property in the Dallas area.

Got a long layover? Make it interesting.

[photo by Steve Zak Photography]

Istanbul after dark

You can read any guidebook or travel article for ideas on how to spend your days in Istanbul, taking in the city’s many world-class museums and bustling neighborhoods. But at night, you’re better off using local resources and recommendations as a starting point and then following your own instincts. In the name of research, I checked out a few diversions from the wholesome to adults-only. While by no means an exhaustive guide to Istanbul’s myriad nightlife choices, there are a few tips to keep in mind on what to do after dark.Going to the movies
Fortunately for non-Turkish speakers, foreign movies are shown in their original language with Turkish subtitles, so while you may not be able to watch a French art-house film, you can count on the latest Hollywood movies in English. Bonus: you can increase your Turkish vocabulary by following along the subtitles; I picked up some choice curse words and euphemisms watching Get Him to the Greek. The foreign-ness of the experience begins when you purchase tickets – you actually choose and reserve your seat in the theater – a new but welcome experience I haven’t seen in the US. Corn is a beloved food staple throughout the country, so popcorn is always available, though they haven’t figured out the butter thing. Before the feature begins, you’ll be subjected to ten minutes or so of loud Turkish advertisements (have you ever seen liquor ads at the movies, let alone for competing brands?) and previews in various languages. Just when you reach the halfway point, the lights will come up and there will be a ten-minute intermission to use the bathroom, get more dry popcorn, or speculate on how Inception will end. Check for listings online (Google “movies Istanbul”); some theaters let you buy tickets on their website.

Beerhalls and cocktail bars
It may be a Muslim country but alcohol flows freely in Istanbul, albeit for a price, particularly for imported liquor. Learn to love Efes (the domestic beer), raki (strong but foul-tasting anise-flavored liquor), and Turkish wines (şarap SHARAP – beyaz for white and kırmızı KURMUHZUH for red); all of which can run from 5 TL for a half-liter of beer in a low-key tavern to 20 TL for a glass of wine in a more upmarket locale. For the most variety of bars, from old-man pubs to rooftop lounges, head to the Beyoglu (BAY-YO-LOO) district off Taksim Square and turn down any street leading from the mostly-pedestrian Istiklal Caddesi. Best bets for a variety of cafes and bars are Cihangir (down the hill from Taksim along Siraselviler Caddesi), the “French Street” in Galatasaray (midway down Istiklal and left at the big high school), and Asmalı Mescit at the opposite end of Istiklal. At Kafe Pi near Tunel, we were probably the first people in a decade to order the above-photographed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles shots and they were as delightful as you’d imagine. Wander around until you find a spot that suits you and enjoy the people-watching.

Clubs – dancing girls and salsa dancing
The city’s top nightclubs line the Bosphorus, the most famous is Reina, though it’s more infamous for exorbitant drink prices, posturing crowd, and frequent closures for noise pollution and other offenses. Slightly more laid back but still pricey is Anjelique in Ortakoy, where a bottle of local wine will run you around 60 TL or if you’re flash, 400 TL for the full Absolut bottle service. Make a reservation for dinner if you actually want to get into a club. Actually want to dance instead of just stand around in stillettos? Back in Beyoglu, Cuba Bar has live music and salsa dancing on weekends. Looking for a more, er, gentlemanly club? The city’s nicest strip club (actually, might be the only one) is Regina Revue (WARNING: link not remotely safe for work or any other place you don’t want to be seen looking at naked women) north of Taksim near the Hilton Hotel. More burlesque than pole-dancing, the club is harmless, fairly cheesy fun with an unapologetically bordello-esque decor. My friend and I were the only non-working women there but neither we nor our male companions were harassed by the clientele or the dancers. The “shows” range from a writhing woman on a motorcycle to an inexplicably artsy number with a Trojan horse prop. While not a typical choice for a Friday night out, my table had a great time guessing the story behind each dance and the nationality of each (almost all natural) dancer (nearly all Russian or Eastern European), and there are certainly seedier places to spend an evening.

Find another fun night spot in Istanbul? Leave us a comment below.

Daily Pampering: Louis XIII Rare Cask shots for $1,000

Only in New York can you throw back a $1,000 shot and live to write about it.

If you’re looking for a spirit to redefine celebration, you don’t necessarily have to dress up for New York‘s luxury hotels, top-tier restaurants or exclusive bars. After all, this is New York, and luxury can be found in the most obscure places. Instead, direct your driver to W. 33rd Street, between 5th Avenue and Broadway and head to the third floor of gentlemen’s club Rick’s Cabaret – there you’ll find a cognac that’s almost impossible to purchase anywhere else in the United States.

Louis XIII Rare Cask de Remy Martin is not widely available. Of the 786 bottles on the market, a mere 30 were allocated to the U.S. market, which have mostly been claimed by private collectors and consumers, leaving few opportunities for the merely wealthy to enjoy a sip.

Shortly before the armed guards showed up at Rick’s Cabaret with the club’s two bottles, I learned from Louis XIII senior brand manager Remi Brabant, as we sipped a more conventional Remy Martin cognac, that 10 percent of the U.S. allocation – three bottles – is going to Rick’s Cabaret. Two bottles were escorted to the VIP floor at the Manhattan club, after having been carried almost reverently over the red carpet out front, and the third will be served at the company’s Tootsie’s club in Miami.

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Want more? Get your daily dose of pampering right here.
When asked why Rick’s Cabaret received the opportunity to purchase such a large share of the U.S. inventory – particularly that available after private buyers were accommodated – he cited Remy Martin’s long relationship with Rick’s Cabaret, not to mention the strength of the gentlemen’s club’s brand and its financial security (Rick’s is publicly traded and has used the recession to go on something of an acquisition spree, with CEO Eric Langan making some smart pickups). Branant told me, “It’s a great pleasure [to work with Rick’s],” adding, “these are fantastic people to work with.” Ultimately, he concluded, “It’s about friendship.”

According to Ken Sistrunk, the New York club’s general manager, a single ounce of this cognac will cost a customer $1,250, with price breaks coming at an ounce and a half ($1,750) and 2 ounces ($2,200). Even at these prices, he said that the bottles won’t last long. Sistrunk expects the first purchase to be made by the middle of August, with both bottles being exhausted by New Year’s Day.

So, who would shell out more than $1,000 for a single ounce of cognac? Sistrunk explained, “There are still a lot of people making a lot of money, and they want to celebrate.”

Latvia fed up with “English pigs” – creates anti-Brit police force

The Latvian capital city of Riga is home to a lot of beautiful things, and I’m not just talking about their stunning blonde women.

Sadly, a lot of that beauty is being spoiled by British tourists who don’t understand how to behave when abroad. The mayor of Riga complains about large groups of drunk Brits screaming and taking over the local bars and strip clubs.

One local resident went on record to say “They are drunk by the time they get off the plane and they don’t sober up again until they go back home three days later”.

One British organization even offers full package deals of “strip clubs and shooting” where stag party revelers can get lap dances and then shoot a couple of rounds with an AK-47, all for just $260.

Apparently the extreme low cost of flying within Europe has brought out some of the worst the UK has to offer, forcing the mayor to take some drastic measures. Starting this week, a dedicated division of the Riga police will be on the lookout for British tourists who take their fun a little too far. One man has already spent 3 days in jail for peeing on the Latvian national monument, so they obviously are not joking around. Oh, and the phrase “English pigs”? That is how the Latvian interior minister referred to these tourists. Classy.

Strippers abound in Tampa, as expected, for big game

There won’t be many lonely nights in Tampa this Super Bowl weekend. Prostitutes, it seems, will be widely available. As one of these sex workers remarked, “Pimps see the Super Bowl as a moneymaking opportunity sent by God.” So, if you’re making the trek down to Florida for the biggest sporting event of the year, know that you won’t be alone.

Now, if street-corner encounters are not for you, remember that Tampa is the world’s lap dance capital. Strippers will be out in force, with memories of their financial success from Super Bowl XXXV. Bernie Notte, for example, remembers pulling down $6,000 in four days and dancing even after her feet bled. Liquored up football fans were willing to drop $100 for a $25 dance.

Why focus on strip clubs gentlemen’s clubs? Tampa has 43 of them. “Trampa,” as some call it, has what everyone wants: “Football and naked girls.”

Interestingly, local authorities expect, to a certain extent, that patrons will be on the “honor system,” as they are not stepping up enforcement for the weekend. So, it is up to you to maintain the six-foot distance from a stripper that is required by law. Obviously, local strip club owners are happy about this.

Not that you have any chance of getting that close anyway …

Approximately 7,000 journalists from 500 media organizations have received credentials for the Super Bowl, and they’ll all be pushing up against the main stage when the game is over. Don’t worry, though. The media industry is in crisis, and these guys will run out of singles in less time than it takes to pound an $8 beer.

[Photo of Carmen Luvana thanks to Adam & Eve]