Why do people come to the VIP bar?
Nina: The atmosphere. Believe it or not, not everyone comes here just for the dancers. We have a lot of people that come in to see us -- the bartenders. It's kinda like a Cheers
, but we just have a different way of saying "cheers."
Jenna: You'll get a little more attention from us. Sometimes they like downstairs, but sometimes they want that interactive service. It's more elite up here. And very intimate.
You've both been here a long time. What's made you stick around?
Nina: I've worked here for 13 years, and I'm the only one [currently working here] that's been here since day one.
Jenna: I've been here three years, but I've been in the industry for about 13. I've been a few different places, too, since I moved from upstate New York.
Did you ever picture yourself working in a strip club? How did it all happen?
Nina: No! But this isn't like this is a normal strip club. I was cutting hair at the time, and heard Rachel's was opening. I decided to give it a try, because I knew it would be a good job. They had over 1,000 applicants, and they took everyone's photo. When we first opened, we probably had one of the prettiest staff in all of Palm Beach County. I was one of the "lucky" ones.
Jenna: I was actually working at Washington Mutual for a few years before I started bartending. I was let go, and started taking random jobs just to make money. Then, one day, one of my guy friends told me to check out Wild Side Cabaret [now closed] because they were hiring. We went in, and before I could even say anything, the manager told me I was hired. I'd never worked in the industry, so I started waitressing. It took six months before I was behind the bar.
You've both bartended before, then. Where else have you been?
Nina: I was all over. Places that have closed now! I grew up in Boynton Beach, so I'm a local.
Jenna: All over, too. And I'm actually still working at Renegades, and a lot of time I'm coming from there to work my shift here.
What's the biggest difference between working the bar at a strip club versus a club or regular bar?
Nina: I make a lot more money here. And it's just a great atmosphere. I can be myself, and I have fun. Plus, here, there's a lot more freedom. The waitresses can sit and eat or drink with you. If I'm not busy, I can go sit down and chat with my favorite customer and share a few drinks. It's definitely not like what you'll see anywhere else.
What's your bar crowd like?
Nina: We get everyone. Girls, guys. Older people. Couples. We keep a good crowd, and the people that come to see us don't leave after a few drinks.
Jenna: Our drinks are a little bit pricey, too. Domestic beers are $7. And a Long Island Iced Tea will run you about $17. But we give heavy pours. But go anywhere else, and the prices aren't too much different. And here, you get the entertainment on top of it.
What about the food. People actually come here just to eat, right?
Nina: Yes, our food -- it's phenomenal. This is a five-star steakhouse, although we can't officially say that because we aren't technically considered a restaurant.
What's your favorite thing on the menu?
Jenna: You'll see people ordering the Filet Oscar (with lump crab meat and asparagus, $50). But one of my favorite dishes is the Chateaubriand for Two (served with asparagus and mashed potatoes, $80). It's just this huge piece of meat. I get it as rare as you can get it.
You work during the day, what kind of people do you see during the day?
Nina: Everyone! Men, women, couples. We have a lot of elderly, too. There's a bus from Century Village that comes here. Rachel's is different than anywhere else. It's got more of a feel of an upscale bar -- just with entertainers. I can't even compare it to anywhere around here. We're just more classy.
Older people? Really?
Nina: I had a guy celebrate his 90th birthday a few weeks ago. With his wife. They had a blast. It was a good time.
Who else? Get a lot of regulars?
Nina: Women. I've heard [women] say they don't feel intimidated here. The dancers aren't in your face. They won't come over to you unless you've asked for them. It's not that kind of place. We're more classy. So we see a lot of couples and ladies out for a good time.
Jenna: And we get a lot of business men, of course. They come here after work, or for the buffet lunch. They have a few drinks, and they're out of here.
Do you have a happy hour?
Nina: We don't, but we call it happy hour for the people who are stuck in traffic on I-95 and come in to pass the time.
Jenna: But no, no drink specials.
So what's the craziest thing you've ever seen?
Nina: An old man jump up on the stage. He tried to take off his clothes, but they pulled him off.
Dancers go to the bar with patrons. Ever hear any interesting conversations?
Nina: You always hear something new, but more often you hear something old. The usual lines...I'm bored with my wife. I just got a divorce. I want to take care of you. I could give you the world. Let me take care of you. I just give them their drinks, laugh, and walk away.
Do they hit on you, too?
Nina: Yes. You know guys...they want what they can't have -- or see. And we're not taking our clothes off. I've been offered $5,000 to get up on stage and strip. Some girls will do it, but I never have. It keeps the game going, and they know that I'm not just about the money, that I'm real with them.
What are the best days to come to Rachel's?
Nina: Thursdays -- during the day shift -- are always good. The waitresses are allowed to dress up in whatever they want. Different cute outfits. That brings somewhat of a crowd. And Wednesday during the day we have prime rib on the [lunch] buffet ($5 during the summer).
Jenna: But the weekends are always busy -- everyone comes in and just wants to let loose, just like anywhere else. But here, it's always a fun atmosphere. Good drinks. Good entertainment. What more do you need?
What's the most popular drink these days?
Nina: Milagro Tequila
shots ($14). It used to be Patron, but these days a chilled shot of Milagro is it.
Jenna: It's so smooth, you don't need a chaser.
What about bottles. Do you sell a lot of champagne for the champagne room?
Nina: We have it all. Basically every champagne you can imagine, we've got it, and we sell a lot of it. Every day we're selling at least a few bottles. The Rose champagnes are the most popular.
What's the biggest tip you've ever had?
Nina: I don't know if I can say. Let's just say it was a lot.
What about the most money you've seen spent in one night?
Nina: That's all confidential. But the guy who holds that record still comes in. In fact, I think he's here right now, downstairs. He has his favorite girl, and he spends it all on her. Let's just leave it at that.
What, in your opinion, makes Rachel's different than other adult entertainment clubs in South Florida?
Nina: You can get one of the best meals you've ever had, one of the best times you've ever had, with some of the best people you'll ever meet -- all in one night. You're not going to get the energy we have here. Or the class.
I say it's time for that shot of Milagro...