1 A half-century ago, Tom Sherwood used to take a bus from Philadelphia to shine shoes in Atlantic City, where he would sleep under the boardwalk and wake up the next day to watch trained horses dive off a platform into the ocean water. Those shows have long since ended, but Sherwood, now a 66-year-old developer, started a spectacle of his own when he opened Diving Horse Cabaret and Steakhouse. With the help of his son Tom and daughter Angie, the gentlemen's club is gaining a reputation as an upscale lounge with premier adult entertainment.
2 Let's be clear: Diving Horse is not a strip club. The female dancers keep their clothes on, leaving something - albeit very little - to the imagination. Sherwood said he wanted it that way, envisioning a venue similar to the upscale gentlemen's clubs he frequented with clients in Las Vegas. That being said, these women aren't shy. When they aren't on stage seducing the crowd, they are at the bar starting a conversation. To supplement the beautiful talent, Diving Horse has hosted celebrity dancers such as porn stars Bree Olsen, Felicity Jade and Amy Fisher.
3 The 55,000-square-foot complex that houses Diving Horse also is home to Luxx Lounge, a late-night club that opened in October; The Brass Rail, a gay bar; Saints and Sinners, a private swingers club, and the Diving Horse Inn, a 30-room hotel catering to couples. Diving Horse and Luxx together take up about 20,000 square feet of the property, and are redesigned versions of Club Tru and Studio Six, both of which were once electronic dance clubs. Each were completely gutted and redesigned, their walls painted and covered in mirrors, light and sound systems modified and their floors filled with plush furniture.
4 Don't discount the importance of being able to get something good to eat at night - partying on an empty stomach can end your night a lot sooner than you'd like. The steakhouse aspect of the club is meant to provide patrons with a quality meal while they're enjoying the shows. The kitchen opens at 10 p.m. most nights and closes around 4 a.m., offering steak sandwiches, hand-rolled pizzas, wings, burgers and other options.
5 The upstairs balcony of the club overlooks the two main stages and has its own bar, booths and a dancer pole for private parties. To book a party or ask about special packages, call (609) 344-0119.
Heard on a Saturday night: An eclectic mix of music that ranged from Godsmack to LMFAO, including "Army of Me" by Bjork and the Skrillex remix of "Cinema" by Benny Benassi.
Scene at 1 a.m.: A dancer in minimalist lingerie climbs the highest brass-colored pole, grasps it with her legs, turns upside down and slides back down to the stage. Nearby, groups of men eating steaks and drinking beer and whiskey watch from their tables. Others stand, talking to another barely-dressed dancer by the mirrored wall. Behind the bar, two female bartenders wearing black corsets and fishnet stockings serve cocktails to men ranging in age from 25 to 55, two couples and a group of women in their early 30s. Other guys watch college football highlights at another bar and order a round of mixed drinks.
Club Owner: Angie Sherwood-Gurley
The look: Guests enter the club from the downstairs lobby and climb carpeted steps into the long, high-ceilinged room. A life-size metallic horse hangs from the ceiling and is lit from the interior by flashing white lights. One bar - lit in blue - is to the left, backed by a mirrored wall and flat-screen TVs. Two stages with poles extending to the roof are in the center of the room, which is aglow in tangerine and bright pink lights and spotted with tables. More tables and a rail bar fill the middle floor, which leads to upstairs steakhouse, where there are yet more tables, booths and another dancer pole for private parties.
Friday, 12/2: Mary Carey
Saturdays, 12/3 Mary Carey; 12/10: UFC 140, featuring Tito Ortiz vs. Rogerio Nogueria; 12/17: Christmas party; 12/31: New Year's Eve Party, with open bar and champagne toast