The Bar Belle: Camelot Show Bar

Camelot Show Bar
1823 M St. NW

When I walked out of senior night at Sign of the Whale last Thursday (earlier than expected), I was surprised to see my friends waiting for me next door – at the entrance to Camelot. This was not part of the plan. “There’s no cover, and you know you’ve always wanted to go,” my friends explained.

I don’t know if I had just the right amount of booze in me or what, but it did seem like a rather brilliant idea at the time. I’ve only been to a few strip clubs in my life and never before in the United States. Maybe it’s because we walked out of one of the most poorly ventilated and packed bars of all time, but the cool temperature and adequate, comfortable seating in Camelot is exactly the kind of bar I wanted to be in.

Or maybe it’s because at one of the last strip clubs I visited, women were shooting tennis balls out of their . well, you’ll just have to go to Thailand and see for yourself. Regardless, I know it may seem antithetical (and I feel very weird writing this), but Camelot is a classy establishment.

As we entered Camelot Show Bar (the venue’s official name), we walked through a long room with a full bar on one side and a beautiful woman dancing in front of a few patrons on the other side. We continued exploring the club and headed upstairs, where there awaited an additional full bar and another gorgeous (and naked) woman dancing. We were seated at a comfortable table and ordered drinks (you have to buy at least one drink to stay at Camelot). Domestic beers are $7 and rails are $8.50 and not that large.

Everything at Camelot was done with great precision – from the dancing to the courtesy of the clientele, and from the lighting to the perfectly concocted mixed drink – Camelot is a place you should go to before you graduate.

In 2002, Camelot was rated D.C.’s best strip club by Maxim magazine, and I cannot imagine much has changed since then. Also, all you girls will be happy to know that Camelot is female-owned and -operated. You guys will be happy to know that beautiful half-naked or naked women do everything at this bar except run the security.

Unlike what your image of what strip clubs may be (or according to your own past experience), Camelot is a different scene. On Thursday night, there wasn’t one obscenity screamed at the dancers. The crowd supported the dancers without cat-calls, or any out of place applause whatsoever. The only proper time to show your gratitude to a dancer is when she is done by applauding; or to approach the stage, one person at a time, wait for a 10-second up-close-and-personal dance (no touching!) and to place the appropriate tip ($5 or more) in the woman’s garter.

Although the dancing was great, my favorite part of the night was when I got up to use the restroom (not as nice as it should have been) and had the opportunity to talk to the waitresses and dancers while waiting for an open stall. They were joking about how one former dancer used to pee in the trashcan (she was immediately fired) and how bizarre they found one of their co-workers.

While it’s easy to idolize (and isolate) attractive women with amazing bodies, my brief encounter in the bathroom reminded me that this is a job for these ladies and I have no shame in supporting the splendor of female anatomy. If nothing else, a night a Camelot has given me a new dance move (or two) to try out on my male counterparts.

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