Anything to Declare?

Snatch grabs a slice of the South Beach pie

I knew it was the beginning of a great night when a dopey-eyed, thuggish teenager grabbed my distressed denim skirt-clad ass on the sidewalk about a block from my destination. After threatening his life, I had finally achieved the adrenaline rush I'd been seeking all evening and was ready to hit up the Tuesday-night party at Snatch.

I waited only about 45 seconds to gain entry, but during those moments, I got an aloof "I don't see anyone" vibe from the three or four velvet gatekeepers. Still I was able to skip the twenty-dollar cover.

Over the past few months, Snatch has played home to "Cake Tuesday" parties, named for the phrase "Have your cake and eat it too." Marketing director Wesley Adams said the theme of the night was currently in "transition."

Snatch is going for the decadent Elks Lodge look
Snatch is going for the decadent Elks Lodge look

Since I arrived at just past midnight, I was afforded the privilege of leering at impossibly beautiful — flanked by a few impossibly weird — patrons and staff while the bar was still bathed in light. Cleavage, bleach-blond hair, camo, leather, denim, boots, and stilettos ruled the women's wardrobe choices, reflecting the rocker-meets-hunter theme as dictated by the dead animals on the wall and the antler chandeliers. Among the men, pomade, sharp jackets, Diesel-style jeans, and calculatedly neutral facial expressions abounded. One guy, who will probably haunt my dreams forever, looked like a six-foot-four-inch-tall cross between Gary Busey and Frankenstein's monster. His foundation-layered face provided a pallid nest for his vapid, unchanging eyes, and I don't think he moved more than three feet in either direction, or ceased to do the bobble-head dance, from midnight until four in the morning. Creepy.

Upstairs a couple of svelte young women rocked back and forth on the leather swings, and a few hip lads made use of the diminutive pool table in the center of the balcony, while DJ Tito, previously of Mynt, warmed up with some hip-hop. Pole dancers would later provide a voyeuristic performance in booty-baring red lingerie complete with bustiers and fishnet stockings.

While I sat scribbling a few notes, a long-haired manager attempted to tell me I wasn't allowed to write anything without first clearing it with management. After I amusedly reminded him of the existence of the First Amendment, he conceded and as a conciliatory gesture handed me four free drink cards, which at Snatch translates to about $44 worth of booze.

While I chatted up co-owner Jim Catsos, a problem concerning a table reservation mixup emerged. Apparently Sammy Sosa, whom Catsos deems a "regular," had accidentally sat down at the wrong table. Ooooh. I guess I can see how that might be a big deal when the bottle service prices range from $225 for Absolut to $2000 for Cristal. Sosa, who refused to remove his sunglasses or suit jacket the entire night, seemed to recover quite well, perhaps aided by costly libations and beautiful young women who congregated around the 38-year-old has-been baseball player.

Later in the evening, DJ Tito began spinning some rock/pop/hip-hop mixes, sometimes laying two tracks from different genres over one another. The majority of the selection comprised well-known crowd pleasers such as "Sweet Home Alabama," "Holla Back Girl," "Born in the U.S.A.," and the occasional Snoop Dogg or Tupac track. Perhaps by the time 3:15 a.m. rolled around, Tito had had a few cocktails too many, because he played the Police's "Roxanne" twice within ten minutes.

The ladies' room had started out shiny, clean, and well stocked with everything a clubgoer could need, from hair gel to Tylenol packets to cigarettes. By the end of the night, the paltry two stalls, having serviced an estimated 300 drunk women, were a mess, to the point where one toilet seat was about to fall off.

Over the course of the night, I met several new people, none of whom was originally from Miami or Miami Beach, but most of whom have now become locals. Despite the superficial feel, which within the Miami Beach club scene is certainly not unique to Snatch, patrons were exceedingly friendly and even mildly intelligent. A husband and wife — he a Frenchman and she a Colombian — were unbelievably outgoing, inquiring about my education, upbringing, profession, family, friends, and perspectives, and even offering to buy me drinks. I was overwhelmed by their friendly gestures, until the male entreated me to accompany them home and then kissed me on the mouth. That was my cue to leave. And no, I don't mean with them.

Having been open for a mere four months, Snatch has built up quite a reputation as a new hot spot. The hunting-lodge-turned-strip-club décor, as well as the plush camouflage couches — which, if you're not indulging in bottle service, you can forget about sitting on after midnight — give the place a primal, hormonal, and raw feel all its own.

Okay, it's more of a raw-wrapped-in-plastic-wrap feel. Still, Snatch's owners have created a pseudo-utopian party spot, assuming of course that a person "likes that sort of thing."

 
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