Are you sick of strip clubs that lack sophistication and taste? Do you want to go to a place where you can pay for lap dances from girls who really (no, really!) like you? Are you craving Italian? Today's your lucky day.
It's Thursday night at the dimly lit Financial District club Quest, and a 29-year-old male investment banker and a 22-year-old gallery girl in a short, tight sweater dress exchange flirtatious banter. Her favorite artist is Picasso. He’s always had a fondness for the Midwest, where she grew up. “You’re a good egg,” the banker says. “You’re a good egg, too,” she responds with a coy smile. They get another round, while dudes in crew-neck sweaters awkwardly linger by the bar, shelling out $18 a drink, and a group of girls dance by themselves in a circle to Rihanna’s “S&M,” some with plates of baked ziti in hand.
Fifteen minutes later, the young man finally musters the courage to ask her for a dance. “Sure,” she says. “It’s $20 a song.” He nods assent, and she grabs his hand and leads him to a back room. There, dozens of guys are seated thigh-to-thigh on three long rows of red banquettes, while nearly nude girls in their early 20s gyrate atop them, the men groping with wild abandon. Welcome to Saint Venus Theater — a roving amateur strip club that caters mainly to young finance guys looking for a less tacky, more girl-next-door stripping experience. Launched in 2009 by a man known to his employees as “Rob S.,” a mysterious character who favors a top hat and long ponytail, Saint Venus started off as a members-only, application-based strip den for a small group of Rob’s financier friends. Since then, it has grown, largely by word-of-mouth among its high-spending and attractive clientele, as a much-whispered-about alternative to the typically trashy strip club.
Whereas at a typically trashy strip club, the ladies appear to be in it solely for the cash, at Saint Venus, patrons get the sense the girls they're financially compensating for their time actually want to be there and would stick around even if they weren't getting paid.1
“You go to a regular strip club, and it’s like a f - - king factory,” says Josh, a 24-year-old who works at a digital marketing company and went to Saint Venus for the first time in November. “Those girls are there to make money . . . if you try to talk to them and not get a dance, they’ll say, ‘This guy is a waste of my time,’ in some weird foreign accent and walk away. “The thing at Saint Venus is I could’ve gone to high school or college with any of these chicks,” adds Josh, who’s now been to the club 10 times.
And they're actually really intelligent.
Last Thursday, Frank, a 31-year-old lawyer, had Christine perform four lap dances for him, but she was “so smart and attractive, it made me a little reluctant to have her strip for me. “But I still enjoyed it — thoroughly,” he says.
And only dance for guys they like and would have sex with even if there were no money involved.
“It’s definitely not as black-and-white as it is at a strip club...girls won’t dance with guys that they’re not attracted to, which is kind of cool. You can kind of feel it out and find a guy that you’re interested in, and then approach them or wait for them to talk to you,” she adds.
And just can't keep their hands off of you. That's right, YOU!
Even Saint Venus’ main rule — no below-the-belt touching — is flouted. “I’ve gotten yelled at before for guys putting my hand on their crotch and me not moving it right away,” says Lisa, a stunning blonde with cascading locks who lives in Brooklyn and has worked regularly at Saint Venus since September. She says she pockets $1,000 dancing two nights weekly.
Also, it's just a really good deal.
“Basically at a regular strip club, you would have to spend probably a minimum of $300 to go upstairs to the Champagne room to do the same sort of thing you can just do whenever you’re at Saint Venus for $20 a song,” says Josh.
1.“The art gallery doesn’t pay my bills,” Christine told the Post. “I just want to have more money,” said Lisa. “I want to go shopping.”