Last night marked the long-awaited opening of San Francisco's latest den of iniquity and charred meats: The Penthouse Club on Broadway and Montgomery Streets. While San Francisco loves to knock heavily branded chains like this (see also: Morton's), the Penthouse Club seems to stand out as one of the classier strip joints in North Beach. Here's what our camera, awash in neon purple lighting, managed to capture at last night's opening event. The photos are surprisingly safe for work.
While we didn't get to try the steaks that the club has been touting, we did get a taste of a hand-carved open face roast beef slider. Which, well, sounds kind of filthy when you say it out loud. As for the drinks, here's a pro-tip: If you're looking to knock a few back, it'd be best to stick with your Bulleit bourbon on the rocks. We tried the Nikki Benz, one of several cocktails named for Penthouse Pets, because it sounded like a relatively inoffensive spin on the screwdriver. It turned out to be an overly sweet, somewhat offensive spin on the screwdriver. Judging by that and the rest of the cocktail list (a cosmo, something with Godiva white chocolate liqueur, a "champagne berry-tini"), the mixed drinks aren't really aimed at the male clientele here.
The rest of the place, as you might expect, is aimed squarely at the expense account set. White banquettes line the walls of the VIP loft, which in turn has it's own, separate VIP area where one could presumably receive a lap dance while engorging oneself on steak and whiskey. We couldn't get a photo of the private dance rooms, as they were much too dark for our camera, but we can report that they do include both bed-sized loveseats and flatscreen TVs. We're not actually sure what plays on the TV in a private dance room in a strip club, but we're guessing they won't be screening Downton Abbey episodes in there. (Mad Men might not be totally out of the question though.)
At the end of the night, you'll end up slipping out the black granite foyer through the vault-like metal door that adds a nice feeling of exclusivity and opulent wealth (if that's your thing). But, whatever, when all is said and done, it's another bar in North Beach where people can go to look at boobs. Except at this one you can eat steak. And they have a lot of champagne.