April 3, 2015| Written by Ron Sparkman
Recently I took a trip down to Houston to see NASA, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and to visit my crazy-as-f**k friend, Jerry Butler. If you don’t know Jerry, he’s a bit of a big personality, but behind the bravado is a guy with a big (or enlarged) heart that sincerely cares and wants to share his love for what he does. He’s added D.J. after D.J. to the Panda ranks over the last year and he’s been oh-so-excited about his new spot at the Ritz Houston. So I had to know what it was all about. Say it with me, “ROAD TRIP!”
As we pulled into the club, I was taken by the very conservative way they promoted the club, “The Ritz Plaza.” I loved the understated tone. They weren’t right in everyone’s faces about who they were, but it was still flashy enough to catch the eye. Fellow PANDA David Gifford from the Lodge in Dallas accompanied me on this little road trip…and by accompanied, I mean he drove the whole trip and photographed everything! (Thanks for your help, sir!) We met Jerry in the parking lot and our adventure began.
The club is Texas-sized, with many sections, but that’s not entirely obvious when you first walk in. On the way to the main floor, you pass a buffet area for food on the right, something Ritz is known for. If you check out their Facebook page , you’ll see they give this area a consistent workout with excellent food specials throughout the week. Across from the buffet was a closed off area that would be opened up later for dances. We followed our Panda brother into the main room and this is when I noticed the very intimate feel they’ve created in the cabaret. A quality sound system thumped as a shapely brunette gyrated on the main stage. My type, head-to-toe.
This was going to be fun.
As we walked past the main bar, I started to settle into the gentleman’s club vibe that engulfed me. A comfortable, upscale atmosphere held a captive, white-collar audience around me, all having an obviously enjoyable time. Ritz avoids the pitfalls of beating their guests over the head with a million things at once. Shiny things don’t distract you here unless you want them to. Is there more to be seen than first meets the eye? Sure. But a high-end guest is gently eased into it upon request. What I didn’t understand yet was just how little of the club I had a. That’s when Jerry said “C’mon, we’re going to the man cave.” Wait what?!
Yes, a flippin’ man cave with multiple big screen T.V.s and stunning waitresses, this was the place to be! Any major sporting event from the Super Bowl to the big fights is played on the multiple big screens. (And YES, they are shelling out the bucks for the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight.) As we were admiring the awesomeness of our surroundings, we were introduced to one of the owners of Ritz Houston, Adam Saxenian. I’ve gotta say, it’s always a pleasure to meet someone that’s excited about the industry and he definitely exudes that. Full disclosure, we ended up hanging out with the guy all night, long past when we expected to. He’s definitely one of the good ones! As we settled in, we started feeling out the club and staff. We met face after smiling face and it was plainly obvious that they all work well together. The waitstaff was playful and friendly, but never obnoxious about pushing drinks. In fact, there wasn’t a single tired or bored looking staff member that I saw. Everyone was top notch. And then…then, there was the food.
Adam is an accomplished chef in his own right and took over the kitchen when he arrived at the club. Using his culinary skills, he structured a menu that would rival any clubs that I’ve been into. Since it was a celebratory evening, we all indulged in steaks; Jerry and I with filets, Dave with a prime rib. It was the only point in the night that everybody went completely silent. Our waitress, Crystal, was an absolute pleasure and made sure we had everything we needed throughout the evening. Make sure you ask for her when you visit. In all honesty, I could go on and on about good the food is, but you should really just go check it out for yourselves. A single mouthful speaks a thousand words.
After dinner, we took a tour of the rest of the club. Upstairs we were introduced to the VIP area. The first part of a total renovation of the club, the upstairs is posh. Glowing cabanas, pool tables, and an overview of the club downstairs where high rollers can make it rain on everyone on the main floor, this well-designed upstairs area is definitely a welcome addition to an already excellent club. When we walked downstairs, we were greeted by two of the top performers in the club, Sammie and Maverick. They were more than willing to take some shots and show their support of Panda. So we walked outside to the back deck. Oh yes, they have a back deck too. With beach like cabanas, smoking area, and even a basketball court!
It would so turn out that the girls weren’t just a couple of pretty faces. They are both accomplished aerialists who have choreographed a routine mesmerizing routine together on a level I’d never seen before. I know some of the best pole artists in the game, but I’ve never seen two great entertainers perform together in such a way. It was spell-binding. Words don’t do it justice, so I present this video for evidence. I was so worried that the GoPro wasn’t taking good enough video that I then started filming with my phone too! Check it out!
All in all, we had an exceptional time at the club. The many different facets of the club allow it to shine in many ways. The experience can be as small or an encompassing as you want it to be. The girls are beautiful, the D.J.’s are clear and concise, and the cuisine is the best I’ve had in Houston so far. Make sure to check out their Facebook Pages Here and Here and make to sure to stop in when you’re in Houston and say hello! You won’t regret it!