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The Green Room in Fort Lauderdale: a Club Inside a Club at America's Backyard 

I'd been wandering around America's Backyard for a while. I was misdirected twice by bartenders and nearly knocked out by some unwieldy dancing college kids; I'd been tempted with alcohol and distracted by gorgeous women dancing on the bar. Yet I was determined to find the Green Room, a sexy new hot spot based on the South Beach club-within-a-club concept. Supposedly, it was someplace inside America's Backyard, but I was losing hope.

By the time I'd wandered up a flight of stairs, lost my companion twice, and finally found an open spot at a bar, I was about to give up.  But then I glimpsed a small back door that could have easily led into the recesses of a janitor's closet. Except it was labeled "Green Room." Half expecting to find mops and Clorox, I pushed open the door and walked down the dark corridor and into the sexiest speakeasy ever.

The room itself was bathed in an eerie effulgence produced entirely by fluttering green strobe lights. Pockets of people sat closely together on scores of immaculate white couches; pop hits boomed from the DJ's booth; chandeliers dripped with glittering glass.

While spots of green light danced across white curtains that hung from the ceilings, I moved to the railing and peered down onto the first-story floor, noticing that I was in excellent range for cleavage-peeping. Broad-shouldered "hosts" (too classy to be bouncers, according to the manager) mingled with the short-skirted patrons.  Women sipped martinis at the candlelit tables, their eyes on the dance floor. A thin, good-looking black man with a Mohawk and a voluptuous girl in heels and a red tube top were dancing an amazing duet to BOB's "Airplanes." "Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are shooting stars? I could really use a wish right now..." In contrast, a guy with a sweatshirt and shaved head stood alone against one of the alabaster walls. His emphatic dance motions included pulling on his sleeves while swaying.

Eddie, a slight gentleman with a shaved head, was the Green Room's boss man, so I chatted him up and attempted to charm him. "We cater to women here," he said, explaining that the drink menu boasted fancy fruity martinis in attempts to distance itself from the pool-party aesthetic and trash-can-punch-style partying of America's Backyard. "The Green Room is for when they get sick of all the spring-breaking going on in America's Backyard."

"Why'd you call it the Green Room?" I blurted. "Why not red room or blue room or — "

My drinking partner, Beard, slapped his forehead.

"A green room is the spot a band hangs out in after a show," Eddie explained. "So, after a band plays at Revolution Live..."

"I see," I said. "They can party here."

"Exactly," he said. "We've tried to make it a hole in the wall; we've dubbed it America's Backyard's 'dirty little secret.' Recently, we conducted surveys and found that the typical person averages three drinks a night at three different clubs. A drink at America's Backyard and we've got one of your drinks. Your second drink at the Green Room and we've got your second drink of the night."

"Sneaky," I said. Hell, Green Room can have all three of my damned drinks.

"The drinks are the same prices at America's Backyard, but our dress code is way more strict," Eddie continued. "Also, with bottle service, we serve sushi; and at last call, we serve chocolate-covered Oreos."

After he said this, I found I was either salivating or else my chin had moistened itself.  

"How about a drink?" he asked, whipping behind the granite-topped bar and rolling up his sleeves. "What would you like?"

"Hey, you're the one who caters to women," I said. I told him to surprise me.

While I waited for my mystery drink, my pal Beard kicked me and pointed through the mirror behind the bar. Then I realized it wasn't actually a mirror — rather, it was a window portal that revealed a small room on the other side of the wall.

In that room were two long couches with an elevated platform between them and two stripper poles sprouting from the platform. Two girls — patrons, not paid strippers — were sliding, writhing, and generally becoming very friendly with the poles. Their boyfriends — both hefty, burly dudes — watched hungrily. The dark-skinned woman in the flower skirt was dragging a cigarette and shook her ass for only about two seconds at a time before becoming disinterested. The other girl, a petite blond in supershort jean shorts, was humping the hell out of that pole.

"Now he's groping her," Beard narrated, staring at the blond. She was still on the pole, but her boyfriend had initiated an intense make-out session, during which she seamlessly continued making passionate love to the pole.

"My goodness, how do you get anything done with that going on right behind you?" I asked Kayla, the beautiful, petite bartender. She had a beauty mark, a piercing, crimped hair, and a smooth, heart-shaped face.

"I just check to make sure no one's breaking their neck," she said. Eddie pushed a green (and potent) drink my way. "It's our take on the classic apple martini," he said. "We call it Eve's Apple Martini because it has something a little extra — Eve's dirty little secret."

I ignored the reference to that supersexist creation myth, smiled, and took a long sip. It was delicious and hella alcoholic.

Meanwhile, there was trouble in pole paradise. A Latina girl with long dark hair and her tight little body crushed into a corset wanted to commandeer the blond's pole. After a brief discourse, Corset Girl mounted the other pole, swung a leg up, jumped, flipped backward, and drifted down.

Meanwhile, the blond watched and rolled the pole between her ass cheeks to the beat of Timbaland's "The Way I Are."  "I'm about to strip and I'm well-equipped. Can you handle me the way I are?"

OMG, it was totally a pole-dancing dance-off! It ended with Corset Girl putting on her shiny silver stilettos and taking off with a roving pack of giggling girlfriends.

Afterward, I congratulated the blond pole dancer, who was fanning herself furiously and reclining on the sleek, black couch. She said her name was Chrissy (I think — the club was rather loud). She had beautiful skin and vivid eyes and somehow looked too — wholesome? — to be a stripper.

Turned out she learned her skills from a pole-dancing fitness class. "I have a 5-year-old son," she said. "I could never be a stripper!"

Next thing I knew, I was delicately balancing my drink and darting down the stairs. The dance floor was getting a bit packed, and I felt an immediate, alcohol-inspired need to inspect it. 

By then, groups of girls were out en masse and a posse of lean, muscular guys had begun break dancing. Taio Cruz's "Break Your Heart" blasted from the speakers. The scene was all hot bodies and cold drinks. It was the perfect party scene — intimate but high-energy, busy but still enough space to dance.

I grabbed Michelle, a petite young woman with cropped dark hair and freckles.

"In five words or less, tell me how you like the Green Room," I screamed into her face.

"One word," she shot back: "AMAZING!"

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Tara Nieuwesteeg