Strip and Clip

Before I get going, I want to give an update on the “Clueless Clyde in Costa Rica” saga. Part two, “Clyde Heads South” is now out and you can browse it or order it by clicking this link to Also, if you ordered a copy of the first part, I’d appreciate a review on Amazon, it helps get the word out. Likewise if you order the second part.

Now on to the subject at hand, clip joints, specifically those in San Jose (though there’s one in Quepos, I hear). Although I am officially “retired,” I do a little this and a little that to keep busy and bring in a little extra money. One thing I do is some video work… it’s mostly editing but occasionally I’ll get involved in the video shoots as well. Such was the case at a San Jose night club that was reopening after having gone bust a couple of times before and lasted about two weeks before going bust again. But let’s talk about places that still exist.

There are three levels of “night” (strip) clubs in San Jose. At the low end are the places the locals go, known to a fair number of gringos as well, but not usually on the “must visit” list. Among these would be Arcadas, Monaco, and Las Margaritas. The “business model” is pretty much identical, since as far as I know they are all owned by the same folks. Drink prices for customers are reasonable (as cheap or cheaper than the Del Rey). Girlie drinks are expensive but not TOTALLY ridiculous, and full service is available for about $30 at the time of this writing.  “Talent” quality is unpredictable, generally with plenty of chubbies and usually at least one or two pretty decent options.  One of the cutest girls I’ve ever been with was at the Monaco (she’s long gone now). The rooms at these places are generally basic and may or may not be acceptable depending on how particular you are.

DSCF0774bThe next level up are the places that are basically honest, but more expensive. Among these I would put the Grillion, Pantera Rosa, Nicole/Josephine’s and Alcazar. The business model here varies a little. Some have moderate cover charges, all have reasonably priced drinks for the customers, and somewhat high priced girlie drinks. Where they differ from the first tier clubs is in the area of what it costs for the favors of one of the girls. These clubs tend to offer a short term (20 minutes usually) option in a cramped room for an affordable, though not quite bargain, price. What they really want you to do, though, is use their ‘champagne’ room and pay somewhere over a hundred dollars for an hour with one of the ladies. Prices vary, but they are up front about it. The talent level at these places is generally a cut above the lower tier, though you will probably see a chica or two you think doesn’t really belong there. The decor of these places is generally nicer than the lower end places and of course the ‘champagne room’ should be quite nice, as it doesn’t usually get much action. I go to these places primarily just to watch the girls and maybe get a phone number for an off site fling.

The place I did the video for was in this class. The problem was its location plus the owner hadn’t planned very well and ran into cash flow problems almost immediately. I covered this in my article “The Death of a Night Club.”

The third and final level are the clip joints. These places are similar to level 2 in terms of facilities and talent, but they have no qualms about padding your bill and charging totally outrageous prices for things you fail to ask the price of or run a tab. There are plenty of stories about unsuspecting gringos lured to the places by taxi drivers (who get commissions) and end up with a bill of several hundred dollars or even a thousand dollars, sometimes without even getting their ashes hauled. If you complain about the bill, you’ll get to meet a couple of hefty thugs working as “security” who will make it clear that it’s in your best interest to pay. Among places that have been RUMORED to be in this category are Atlantis, Tango India, Elite and Hollywood. I have never been to any of them and don’t plan to go, but I do hear stories. I have also had many taxi drivers try to steer me to one or the other when I asked to go to one of the other type places. If a taxi driver recommends a place, you can be sure it’s going to cost you.

Clueless Clyde does a visit to a clip joint in Clueless Clyde in Costa Rica – Clyde Heads South, which he is fortunate enough to leave without getting TOTALLY ripped off. Just somewhat ripped off. He wouldn’t be Clueless Clyde if he didn’t get taken at least a little.

At any rate, you’ve been warned, amigo. Proceed at your own risk.

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