11 reasons why Jumbo’s Clown Room, the no-nudity strip club on Hollywood Blvd. is actually the best dive bar in Los Angeles.
1. A Strip Club You Can Take Your Mama To
Assuming your mom is cool and into contortionists. The dancers of Jumbo’s Clown Room keep it all covered while still leaving very little to the imagination. Burlesque is certainly an under-appreciated art form and no one exemplifies that better than the ladies of Jumbo’s. You won’t see any full on birthday suits while you sit in this dimly lit, windowless dirt dungeon but that isn’t to say you won’t leave very satisfied.
By LA standards of course, don’t get ahead of yourself. This is Evan Williams and PBR territory, people. Nothing bums me out more than a bar that desperately wants to parade as a “dive” but still keeps aromatic bitters in stock. A Jack & Coke will still set you back about $9 but hey…you could do a hell of a lot worse in this city.
3. Weeds the Prudes
Oh man, where was Jumbo’s when I was dating? If you have a sneaking suspicion that your latest hookup might potentially set your car on fire in a jealous rage at some point in the future, I recommend a casual evening at Jumbo’s in the early phases. Nothing will bring that crazy to the surface quicker than being in a pit of goddesses grinding to Black Sabbath under a rain of dollar bills. Hell, bring them to Jumbo’s on the first date. If you’re not mystified by the girl clapping her butt cheeks that are adorned with tasseled pasties, we are not the right people for each other.
4. Weeds out the Creeps
You can look, but you sure as hell better not touch. Or act like you’re going to touch. Or stand too close. The ladies of Jumbo’s will mingle in the crowd while they are all very lovely and tolerant, the staff around them is not. If you do something weird, you’re out. What better litmus test could exist for your potential new roommate that you found via Craigslist who inexplicably has zero social media presence? Does he wad up his dollar bills and hurl them like baseballs at the girls? Will he do that annoyingly shrill whistle thing that involves putting your fingers in your mouth? Will he refer to himself as “daddy” at some point in the night? The best way to discover secret creeps is to get them drunk and take them to a place that doesn’t tolerate their kind.
5. Gotta put your damn phone away
Seriously or they will kick you out. Pictures are STRICTLY forbidden and if you even think about checking that WhatsApp notification, prepare to be told to leave. In this age of acceptable social anxiety coddled by smart phone addiction, the idea of not checking Snapchat for a few hours might leave you short of breath. Get over yourself. The insanely talented women with more upper body strength than Floyd Mayweather didn’t show up to clack their Lucite heels for a room full of White Walkers.
6. No one cares about you
The door guy doesn’t care what studio you’ve worked for. Your roommate maybe thought he made an impression on the bartender bragging about his latest “project”, but she definitely flipped him off as he walked away. Oh, you’re a model? So is the entire roster of dancers here tonight. If you show up after 9PM, you’re going to have to wait in line just like everyone else. Jennifer Lawerence could sit Indian style on the stage and I promise you that no one would look at her. Basically, everyone is an equal here and you ain’t shit. Isn’t that beautiful?
7. Having money isn’t that fun anyway
Sure, you could probably do something responsible with a hundred bucks but being responsible rarely leads to a good story. Spend a couple hours in the time warp that exists within the confines of Jumbo’s Clown Room and try your very best to resist the siren song of the ATM machine glowing in the corner, I dare you. LA is going to swindle you out of your money one way or the other, might as well feel like you’re getting something in return.
8. No Lapdances
We can all admit they’re weird, right? So much pressure to look like you’re enjoying something that is very forced and inorganic. I’m so afraid that i’m going to do something wrong with my hands that I usually sit as stiff as a petrified nun and try not to feel bad about not having saved money for laser hair removal. If it does something for you then that’s cool, but the most you’re getting out of a Jumbo’s dancer is a polite handshake.
9. Hollywood Blvd. sucks a little less
Anyone who has ever made the grave mistake of attempting an H&M run during a movie premiere can tell you Hollywood Blvd. is the freaking worst. Unless you like being harassed by club “promoters” wearing cargo shorts and New Balances; every LA resident will tell you that your best bet is to avoid Hollywood Boulevard entirely. Jumbo’s is one of the rare gems that is off the beaten (and urine soaked) tourist’s path, so you can still feel like Tommy Lee without getting trampled in the selfie-stick masses.
10. It is actually legendary.
Jumbo’s has been a thriving and gyrating institution for 34 years . Anyone who has lived in LA for a considerable time maybe hasn’t been to Jumbo’s, but knows that Courtney Love spent some time dancing on its infamous stage. Lemmy Kilmister had his favorite girls and was seen there often. Anthony Bourdain refers to Jumbo’s in season one of The Layover. I’m still upset with myself for going too hard on tequila one night to realize I was sitting right next to Jack White; thankfully I have good friends who knew better than to tell the boozed up fangirl it was happening. You never know who is going to show up, might as well get there early for a good spot.
11. It’s just the best, ok?
From 4PM to last call, it’s all the same. This city prides itself on being the creative epicenter of the universe, on the leading edge of all that is wild and wonderful; but no where else in Los Angeles is anything like Jumbo’s Clown Room. Go for the stories, for the sake of performance art, for the shameless excuse to make heart eyes at all the beautiful women who might mace you otherwise. Take a shot of whiskey for every family member who would be disappointed in you for being there, and proceed into the best night ever.
*UPDATE 4/23 : Since posting it has been brought to my attention that Jumbo’s indeed DOES offer lap dances. Thanks again to alcohol for aiding in the keen awareness of my immediate surroundings. Please by all means save at least $20 plus a hefty tip for what is sure to be the best two and a half minutes of your life. Just don’t be a creep.