A Night at Club Stratos, the Greek Belly-Dancing Palace You Pass but Never Step Inside

Matt Lawson
Exterior of Stratos
I didn't expect a cultural explosion, or an immersion into the raucous waters of the Mediterranean, but that's what I got. When I pulled up to the tall white building on Northwest Highway, wrapped in wavy iron and bathed in blue neon, I mistakenly thought to myself, Here's another dim club with some bare mid-drifts and a few drink specials. I was wrong. So, so wrong.

Stratos Greek Taverna -- or Club Stratos -- is so much more than food and dance. It's a sensually overloading experience that will leave you laughing from your belly and praising Zeus for Greek culture.

Matt Lawson

Our party was welcomed into the club through a marble-arched facade and an acoustic duet of a James Taylor classic. Tiered platforms supported tables around the polished wooden dance floor so that the focus of the crowd was centered on the stage. Our table was situated on the edge of the dance floor, and the well rehearsed cover band serenaded us smoothly into our café styled chairs. Within minutes, wine began flowing and our table was a little non-Greek chorus of laughter.

Matt Lawson

There were eight of us. We ordered three "Mezethes" -- light Greek appetizers -- and there was plenty to share.

Matt Lawson
The belly dancer of the evening, Nina

The band took a break from performing, and a DJ climbed into his high and overseeing booth. A Greek electronic song slowly faded in from the speakers that surrounded the restaurant, and a heartbeat of techno bass began to boom. The house lights faded and were replaced by a scatter of dancing neon lights. The DJ took a moment to thank the attending eaters for their presence and then announced that the belly dancing would begin with "The lovely Nina."

Matt Lawson
Nina was more than lovely. She stalked onto the dance floor and instantly the restaurant was hushed by her presence. She began dancing, and her abdomen gyrated as quickly and fluidly as a rippling pond. She bounced her belly to the beat and moved like a rhythmic yogi. Sometimes she would dance on the floor and other times she would dance between tables of men, women and grandparents. Her dance was beautiful and romantic, but safe for more conservative eyes.

Later, halfway through my kabob the DJ ka-boomed over the PA system, "It's time for everyone to do a family-style Greek dance. Join our staff on the dance floor for instructions."

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I'm glad you did this story, because I would never have doubted my assumption that it was a strip club, given its general location.

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