Don’t Tell Supper Club sent me a press release announcing its opening. Shortly after that, a friend told me about this downtown supper club place with contortionists and magicians and burlesque called Don’t Tell. My inclination was to call the owners and tell them, “Dudes. Literally nobody is following the one rule you set out to uphold.” But then I figured maybe they were doing that thing where you tell a kid not to clean his room because only cool kids clean their rooms, and then he cleans the room and you high-five yourself for your parenting prowess. (That works one time, by the way. Second time, kid tells you to screw off.) So I made a reservation. And I brought along a Normal Friend because I wanted to see her freak out at all the crazy body parts and fire and booze that are advertised on Don’t Tell’s website.
The hostess was a charmer. Upon arrival, she told us, “We encourage you to eat. Stay. And play.”
Now, in my experience, when the word “play” is used by one adult talking to another adult without a child or bounce house in sight, and outside of Family Feud, it should be read as “get weird.” Especially when the person inviting you to “play” is wearing a body-conscious sleeveless dress and is standing next to a headless statue that has lightbulb knockers.
The hostess went on to explain that there would be entertainment onstage all night long. “Everything from burlesque dancers to singers to magicians,” she said. I didn’t get how I was supposed to be blown away by the idea of semi-naked people plus food. Strip clubs be like, “Y’all. We’ve been serving steak and legs for decades. Just because you took our menu, added some microgreens and dry ice to it, and hooked a bedsheet into the ceiling doesn’t make this a whole new concept.”
While a lovely lady spun high above the stage on aerial silks, our server pointed us to the drinks menu. I chose The Indecent Proposal, described as “Belvedere, Pamplemousse, Fresh Grapefruit, Bubbles, and an awkward moment.” The “awkward moment” was an unwrapped Ring Pop on the bottom of a Champagne glass stem. Was it awkward because I didn’t know who had unwrapped the Ring Pop at the bar? Or was it awkward because the only real reason I came here was in hopes that Tre Wilcox, who consulted on the menu, might be featured shirtless up on that silk swing?
All I know is, I spent $150 on dinner and didn’t even get a lap dance or a dessert that was made in-house. I did see one of the kids from One Direction spinning fire on the ends of bungee cords. Or maybe it was Mark Cuban’s nephew. I dunno. You put a trucker hat on any white dude after 7 pm and he’s gonna evolve into some kind of raver by 11. This one was a Fire Type. He is rare. He is very effective against Acid-Tripping Types but not very effective against Sober Lady Types.
The main crazy-spectacular attraction during my dinner experience was—wait for it—a two-hour set of covers sung by a guy with an acoustic guitar. His rendition of TLC’s “No Scrubs” was brave. And he did a fabulous job singing “Happy Birthday” to some dude who was having a birthday. It gave the room a super chill Bennigan’s After Dark vibe.
I kept waiting for this place to give me something I shouldn’t tell about. My Normal Friend wasn’t fazed a bit. She even offered to bring her breast pump onstage to liven things up.
Don’t Tell ended up being more like what an 8-year-old boy imagines sex to look like, based on how his friends, who clearly speak a different language, have described it to him. It’s like strip club training wheels. And it appears to fill a niche. I had to go on a Thursday night because Don’t Tell was fully booked on Friday and Saturday. So a bunch of y’all clearly like paying 150 bucks to eat a crab-filled egg while watching a grown-ass man who isn’t Pearl Jam sing Pearl Jam onstage. I mean, it was fine. I just expected a lot less plate-spinning clown.
I know, I know. Just because that’s not my weird almost sex thing doesn’t mean it’s not Dallas’ weird almost sex thing. You keep on being you, Don’t Tell. And, hey, great job getting my money once. But next time I’m probably going to tell you to screw off. Unless Tre Wilcox is swinging from the ceiling. Then I’ll totally be back. Because Tre Wilcox.