Dusk 'Til Dawn: Casa Diablo II, Bar Review

Seitan in Sellwood

There is no menu at Portland’s newest vegan strip club. Sure, you can get animal-free nachos or cleaned-up Sloppy Joe's, but you’ll have to get your dining options read out loud by a topless bartender who—according to a sign by the bar—is also available for private dances. And when she tells you there’s some soy-beef stroganoff and she really likes the “sparkle chips,” it all just seems normal by now. Dusk ’Til Dawn: Casa Diablo II (8445 SE McLoughlin Blvd., 222-6610, dusktildawn.club) is the third in a meatless strip-club empire that’s been the opening line of every crappy comic’s Portland-sure-is-weird monologue since 2008. And despite being owner Johnny Diablo’s most unassuming location–pretty much just a box on the side of Route 99E—Dusk got a year’s worth of protest from a group set on preserving the sanctity of a “neighborhood” that otherwise consists of two other strip clubs, a weed dispensary, a dead-end gravel road and the Oregon Music Hall of Fame. But Diablo just quietly waited them out. 

And so now Dusk ’Til Dawn is a sordidly intimate, soy-curled neighbor to spectacle-filled nudie steakhouse the Acropolis. All seats at Dusk are tightly arranged around a central stage, putting everyone in the room on close terms with either the small coterie of dancers or the mostly naked servers, whose change belts look like suggestive chastity guards. You will be asked, again and again, if you need more $2 bills—the sole bills they offer in change. The only correct answer is “yes,” and there’s nowhere to hide. Really the mood’s a bit like the place in that Robert Rodriguez movie—all red light, tattooed skin and velvet-laced foreboding—and although the club was mostly empty on a recent weeknight at 10 pm, it already felt like Portland might get plenty weird later in the night.