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Best Strip Joint 

Crystal Palace

When you're driving after midnight on the two-lane blacktop of Highway 157 beyond Cahokia, just when you think you've gone too far, you're in Centreville. And perhaps you have gone too far. That was the point. If you wanted safe and convenient spectator sex, you would have stopped in Sauget. Larry Flynt's Hustler Club in Washington Park is the newest and biggest and shiniest strip center, but it's, well, new and big and shiny, and the security staff can be overzealous. Brooklyn's funky but often crowded. Crystal Palace is what a strip joint should be -- a bit edgy and (comparatively) affordable. There's no cover until 7 p.m., $5 after that. Lap jockeys get 25 bucks a song -- $15 less than the higher-priced spread in Sauget. Check any concept of a "gentleman's club" at the Crystal Palace door. The strippers here look like strippers should: experienced. On a recent Sunday-night visit, with all the TVs hanging from the ceiling showing a lesbian porn marathon, two women from the sparse crowd climbed onstage, semi-clothed, and simulated sex with one another. Just think: This discount debauchery is located mere minutes from the Arch.

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