During childhood, salacious pleasures were best enjoyed in a secret nook, where you could unabashedly drain a honey bear dry, or gawk at a particularly naughty Redbook. For an adulted-up nook, hit Shanghai Mermaid.
Convening once monthly, SM's a semi-legal cabaret evocative of a Gilded Age speakeasy and held in a rotating selection of undisclosed locations in Brooklyn (itself an undisclosed location to many). Table seating begins around 9pm, refreshments = classic cocktails (Josephine Baker, absinthe over flaming ice cubes), and eclectic on-stage entertainment varies: everything from NoLa-style ragtimers The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn, to trapezist Marisa Maffia, to punk rock seamstress/burlesque performer Veronica Varlow, who once hula-hooped for 4 hours straight in heels and a garter (you know/her hips don't lie...don't pretend like you don't like Shakira). As for dress code, the organizers exhort partygoers to rock period costumes, e.g., '30s Shanghai, '20s Paris, and Weimar Berlin -- a time and place of creative fecundity Germany wouldn't see again until "Scorpions Hanover".