Are you ready for your lap dance, ladies?
You’re not really reading this review. Is there anyone in America who doesn’t know the Chippendales’ schtick? If not, here’s the long-form description – muscular hunks clad only in bowties and briefs giving lap dances to catcalling ladies. Sound like a hoot? Go see the Chippendales at the Rio Suite Hotel and Casino. Sound threatening? Don’t.
You gotta give it to the Chips, though, for flipping the script on the strip club. Conceived in 1979 by Paul Snider, named after the style of furniture in their first home-base nightclub in West Los Angeles, owned by Somen Banerjee and Bruce Nahin, the Chippendales perform for nearly two million people a year worldwide in 23 countries.
The $10 million theater and lounge built specially for them at the Rio, though, is the crown jewel in their global bowtie. From the seating to the stage lighting to the private sofa lounges, everything is top-shelf. The bathrooms alone will knock you out, with their chaise sofas, plush amenities, and TV screens showing the Chips for your bathroom-viewing pleasure.
Who will your fellow attendees be? Bachelorette parties are a staple, along with groups of women of all ages, from 18 to elderly, most of them yipping and hollering. You’ll also see a smattering of men with their girlfriends or wives. The looks on these men’s faces, from game to amused to uncomfortable, are a show unto themselves.
The Chips themselves are what you would expect – er, hot slabs of man, who start out in suits, firefighter outfits, cowboy leathers, police uniforms, etc. before stripping down to the trademark bowties and skivvies. So you want attention from a Chip, eh? Don’t be overly obscene or make a spectacle of yourself – a little respect goes a long way. Elderly women get priority attention, as do women with a “Bride” or “Birthday” sash. Men who want Chip attention may be out of luck. Some lucky ladies may get pulled onstage for special treatment. Supermodel Tyson Beckford occasionally moonlights as the host.
Current house rules prohibit tipping the Chips, and prohibit photography and videography inside the intimate theater. You can get your picture taken with the Chips in the lobby after the show … for $50. This is on top of a $62 ticket, $20 cocktails, and $13 beers. Also, there’s a gift shop, and purchases enter you in a lottery for a gift bag. The Chips know how to monetize – everything is for sale … and so fancy, you might be tempted to buy. Depending on the mood of your party, it might be worth it to spring for table seating near the stage, for extra interaction with the Chips.
The ticket includes VIP access to the Voodoo Rooftop Lounge, a great place to take in panoramic views of Las Vegas, sip a caipirinha, and think about what you just saw/did. It also includes unlimited access to the “Flirt Lounge” – private sofa lounges to spend time with your favorite Chip (ladies only). Boyfriends and husbands in attendance had better check their jealousy issues at the door, and bring healthy self-esteem and no body image issues. Ladies, this Chip’s for you.
Verdict: For a variety of reasons, in all seasons, the Chippendales at the Rio Suite Hotel and Casino set the gold standard for “ladies’ entertainment.” Gold from man-tan and all oiled up.