by Michael Love
I recently met up with Holly Redeau for our second interview in less than a year. Last time we talked more about her personal life but this time, we would be talking about the club that she and her husband Charles and their amazing staff operate in downtown Portland.
Club Privata is a members only nightclub with a sexy twist. As a nightclub that you can have sex in, it is technically designated as a swingers club, but that term tends to paint such a potentially unpleasant picture to anyone who has never been. The idea of a swingers club conjures up ideas of dirty perversions, and people that are creepy, floors that are sticky and all of the dark icky things our minds can conjure up. Club Privata is actually nothing like that. It is a clean and classy place. The club’s members are mostly average every day people who are fun loving, decent and respectful. The median age range of Club Privata members is 35-50 although people of all ages are welcome. They have a respectable number of people outside of that age dynamic as well. Club Privata’s members hail from all walks of life, from business and medical professionals to housewives, and truck drivers… their members span the social classes.
Club Privata is known for its sexy atmosphere that also places importance on consent and respect. “I love that I can go to Club Privata and be dressed slutty, or even be on the dance floor naked” a young female member tells us,” and I know that no one will touch me or approach me without respecting my space, or asking for my consent… and if they do, there are rules and people in place who will take care of it… I have been to many other ‘clothed’ nightclubs where I didn’t feel that same level of safety.”
Indeed they have very clear rules that help define the difference between good choices and bad choices and all are intended to keep the space safe and inviting for everyone. I will touch on that more later.
It was a busy Thursday night when I arrived to meet up with Holly. Things were already bustling at 8:30pm. and when I entered, I realized why… they had the Kink/BDSM equipment on the floor. “Of course’ I thought to myself, “It’s Deviance Night!”
Holly would tell me later, it is one of the clubs busiest nights of the month. “We will expect to see somewhere in the neighborhood of 230-250 people here tonight.”
In a club that typically sees just a shade under 200 people on an average weekend night… it’s great that they have a format that brings in such good numbers on a Thursday which is typically a slower more low key night of the week.
At one point I was out front, catching up with a friend, and I noticed that there was a couple who were checking in with the front door people. They were a nice, average looking couple, typical middle aged housewife and husband type visiting from Pennsylvania. Their excitement was palpable as they asked questions in their thick east coast accent… “Is this a strip club or something?” There was excited confusion when the door person explained to them what kind of club it is. Their reaction was followed by an immediate… “doesn’t matter… we’re here to explore Portland culture… we’re doing it!”
He seemed nervous… She was absolutely bubbling with excitement. I smiled. I knew they were in for an interesting evening…I was enjoying the energy that they were exuding. They seem like a couple who are confident and secure in their relationship and you could feel the nervous excitement of exploring something new together… and on a Kink/BDSM night no less. They would be seeing things that only happens in books and movies. They were going back home to conservative Pennsylvania the very next day, and I’m sure they took home stories that told of Portland to be everything they had heard about and more.
The whole process got me to thinking, for someone who has never been to Club Privata before, what can a person expect? What is the process? What are the rules? I realized that this really should be the topic of my article… to speak to those who have never been.
The first thing that anyone new to Club Privata should do is visit their website www.clubprivata.com. There is important information that can be found there that you will need to know before showing up at the door.
One thing is that Club Privata is a membership club. This means that in order to attend you must be a member. Think of your membership fee as your investment in your club. The revenue from membership fees help maintain the club and cover basic operating expenses. There are a variety of options for membership terms for you to choose from, and a different scale depending on the type of membership you are looking for. A new member would be wise to explore their membership options so they know what they want when they arrive.
You should also know that Club Privata is an upscale club and has a strictly enforced dress code. This is much grumbled about at times by critics, but a quick glance into the club on any given night will help you understand why. The owners of Club Privata want to create an atmosphere of decadence. This is not just a night out for sexy fun… this is a night out!!! They want to create an upscale atmosphere that inspires its guests to dress for the occasion. This makes for a more refined crowd, and a classier atmosphere.
The dress code is really very easy and it has your best interest at heart. “Dress to Impress” is the key. They put out some minimal guidelines in their stated dress code to help people understand what they are looking for specifically.
Men are expected to wear either a button down shirt or a pull over shirt either of which must have a collar. Casual slacks or designer jeans are allowed. Designer kilts are allowed, but no utili-kilts. Dress shoes, designer boots, or upscale modern comfort shoes are required as well.
Ladies should also dress to impress, but get a bit more leeway because with the ladies, sometimes less is more. Think sexy, flirty and sassy. Skirts, slacks, designer jeans, lingerie, dresses… It’s all allowed. Women are even allowed to wander the club nude if they desire but shoes must be worn at all times except when actively engaged in play of course. Sorry guys, unless you’re involved in play, you must remain completely dressed at all times.
One of the things that sets Club Privata apart is its dedication to the safety and enjoyment of all of their guests in the Rules of Conduct they have laid out. Your tour guide will go over the rules with you in detail but there are a few you should know absolutely before you go.
- Weapons of any kind are not allowed on premises at all.
- Consent rules apply, always ask before you touch and no means no.
- Do not masterbate.
- Don’t be creepy… it’s a thing.. And there is a rule against it. If you have to be told what that means this might not be the right experience for you.
- For obvious reasons photography and videotaping are not allowed, no matter how much fun you’re having behind closed doors. For this reason among others, cell phones are not allowed. Either don’t bring them at all, or leave them in your locker or your purse. If you must check your phone for any reason you have to take it outside.
- Clean up after yourself, this means bedding and towels etc… but more importantly your used condoms. Would YOU want to pick up someone else’s used condom?
After a quick glance at these rules it is easy to determine that the owners of Club Privata want to ensure everyone a clean safe environment that also affords a level of discretion and privacy so that your actions are not disclosed. Literally… what happens at Club Privata stays at Club Privata.
The last thing you may want to do before you leave the house and head down for your first visit to Club Privata is review and fill out their online waiver. You can find it on their membership page. Essentially and in plain English, the waiver form is your acknowledgement that you assume your own risk by engaging in any activities while at the club. It’s an active space, with a lot of different things going on. By signing the waiver you are indicating that you are being your own advocate of safe activity. You’re also acknowledging that you will not disclose anything you see and will respect the privacy of the other members of the club by not discussing who else you saw doing whom etc… The first rule of fight club… you know. There’s some other important aspects to the release that we don’t have room to go into from here which is why it is advisable to check it out while you’re at home. This ensures you have time to read through it when you’re not standing in line.
You’ve reviewed the rules, dressed up in your sexiest best, checked out the calendar and found a party you want to check out… what can you expect? When you arrive parking can be tough, and the Club is not immediately obvious. You’d think being one of the classiest and most posh nightclubs in town they’d have the place all lit up? Remember… discretion is their primary concern, and it starts at the door. By not having the place all lit up with a marquee, you’re not “made” by standing on the sidewalk or even being within a block of the place. The front entrance is typically quite unassuming and they put sidewalk tents up with privacy screens to help shield those standing in line from curious public eye. By not having the name on a marquee, people don’t even give it a second glance. Street parking can be hit or miss, but the World Trade Center parking garage is open for parking just half a block away and for just a few dollars your car is off the street and reasonably safe.
When you get to the door, you will be greeted by a doorman who will ask you a few questions, just to ensure that you know where you are, if you’ve been there before, and if you’ve filled out the waiver form. He will be checking your clothing to make sure you meet dress code, and he will be the first to ask you for your ID. He will then let you in the door, and there you will meet the receptionist who will check your ID again, enter you into the computer and match you up with your waiver form online. She will then go over your membership options, and collect your payment. She will then hand you over to an ambassador who will get you a wristband for the evening and then take you on a little tour of the club.
When you walk into the door, you will be looking at one of the finest bars in all of Portland. With top shelf alcohol options and professional bartenders who are skilled in their craft.
Next you’ll notice the large and welcoming dance floor with the cage in the middle of it. Sooner or later that cage will be full of beautiful women in various states of dress, having all of the fun you can imagine. Depending on the day and the time of the evening the dance floor may be packed with people. Further in you’ll find a dining area with a well stocked buffet with food prepared by Club Privata’s own professional chefs and kitchen staff. They serve dinner from opening until close on Thursday nights, until 1130pm on Friday and Saturday when they bring out breakfast. So during the course of your evening you could potentially get two meals. Now you’re seeing what your door fees are paying for. Show me where a couple can go out for a night of fun, dancing and eat not one, but two meals for $70. When you look at it this way, that door fee you just paid is really a pretty cheap night out.
Further back you’ll come to a room with a bunch of lockers. If you have your own lock you can secure your belongings here. You’ll notice there are also two showers available for use. These are co-ed showers, but should also be considered semi-private spaces. If someone is using them you should not bother them unless you’re invited. It is not uncommon to see both women and men nude in this area changing clothes or showering. There are a few amenities for you to use, deodorant etc… and towels of course, are provided for your use throughout the club.
You’ve now covered most of the first floor, and have not yet even found any play spaces. It is this way by design. Some of the guests of Club Privata come for the safe and fun atmosphere and never play at all. Fear not though… we are about to head into the sexier play spaces. Beyond the dining area you will find the first of a the private and semi private play rooms. Every room can be very private or very public. These rooms all feature doors that close, and curtains that can be pulled for privacy. You will also find more towels for your convenience and a laundry hamper for when all of the fun is done.
Then we head up to the mezzanine floor, what we call the second floor. Up a narrow stairwell where you can’t help but be social with people passing up and down to the first doorway at the top of the stairs where you find more play spaces. To your right is the old bar that has been preserved but now converted into an orgy bed… with two king sized beds pushed together. Depending on the night these beds will be getting some use by the clubs more exhibitionist types. Bar stools are available for you to sit and watch the action on the orgy bed, or the porn playing on the television. This is a great space to socialize and meet people. The sounds of sex are literally happening all around you and depending on if those in rooms have left doors or windows open you may even be encouraged to watch or join.
At this point it is important to note a certain code you need to follow. If a door or curtain is closed, then the people behind it do not wish to be disturbed. Do not open either for any reason unless you are invited to do so. If the door or curtain is open, you are invited to watch, but do not take it as an invitation to join. If you are invited, you will know… there will be no doubt.
At some point in the middle of this… you will come to realize, you’re in a VERY sex charged atmosphere. Sex is literally happening all around you. Sexy people are all around you… but no one is being creepy or inappropriate. People that come up to talk to you are genuinely friendly and down to earth but also respectful of your personal space and comfort. That is not to say you won’t be propositioned, but in general, people know how to use their personal skills and manners. It is the rules of the club, the classy atmosphere they have created and the attention to determination by people who go to the club to make it the best experience they can for everyone.
The further onto the mezzanine you venture the more people you encounter. People love to congregate at the rail and watch the excitement happening on the dance floor. This is especially true later in the evening. It is here that you notice the stripper pole, its quietly unassuming over in the corner, but depending on the night it is probably getting some use by budding dancers and seasoned pros alike. There may even be a pro giving a newbie a lesson or two. The genuine friendliness of people in this club is pretty amazing.
There are couches for lounging but they are also play spaces. It is not uncommon to see people engaged in some kind of activity on them. The rule here is, put something under you, either a towel or a sheet to protect the vinyl surface from any bare skin contact so it is sanitary for the next person.
You’ll find that the later it gets the more the club will fill up. Especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Everyone will be buzzing about “when will the third floor open up?” You’ll soon find out why.
On Friday and Saturday nights the 3rd floor opens at 11:30. As you make your way up the second flight of stairs you come into an open space with a small bar. This is the third floor social area. There are tables for your convenience, and two smaller lounge spaces with couches for more intimate socializing, or for play… just remember to put a towel down. That tab you opened downstairs? It’s available here, no need to go get your card. Grab yourself a drink and then head back to the couples only area.
You’ll notice that beyond the social area, to the left is the VIP room. This room is available exclusively to rent. On busier nights at times, it can get mighty tough to find a place to play, especially if you want a private room. By renting the VIP room you will always have your space reserved for you and your guests only. You can rent the room when you arrive, or by reserving ahead of time online. See their website for more details.
As you head back past the VIP room you are officially entering the “Couples only” area. The couples only area is a series of open play spaces that is designed for couples who prefer to have the company of other couples or single females around. This may seem discriminatory to single men, but it is set up this way so the couples who are not comfortable with single men hanging around have a comfortable space to play.
The third floor couples area is both an exhibitionists and a voyeur’s paradise. There are bed configurations for just about every imaginable situation. With a large room with two adjoined beds for same room kind of play, another room with three beds in an open configuration with couch nearby for couples waiting to join, or just to watch. The main draw however, is the main room… beautifully decorated with gold framed mirrors, high ceilings and chandeliers throughout (throughout the entire 3rd floor really,) Hanging from the light fixtures strategically placed over the three beds in this room are golden sheer curtains. These curtains are intended to offer some somewhat translucent privacy, but they also provide an air of elegance that really sets the tone of the space. This is the epitome of elegance and class… and it is the place where people flock to when the third floor opens. It’s not uncommon to see four or more people playing on a bed here, sometimes it’s an all girl puppy pile/orgy, and sometimes its couples that are connecting and interconnecting.
You’ve been in the club for a couple of hours now. No one has harassed you and no one has stalked you. You may have even been approached by someone… hopefully a couple of someone’s… and you realize, it all feels so very natural and non-threatening. Perhaps you were lucky enough to connect with someone your first night, but it is never a good idea to go with that expectation, even if that is what you’re looking for. That is setting yourself up for disappointment. When you don’t connect you will leave with a less than satisfying experience and you will have missed out on a lot of the flirty fun that the club has to offer. Whether it is your first time visiting Club Privata or your 100th time… it is always best to go without expectations and just take what serendipity offers you.