This review will deal with Queen’s Chamber, a foreigner-friendly KTV on Quezon Avenue, and shed some light on a niche that hadn’t been explored until now on the ever-expanding Rockit Reports.
Quezon Avenue is a large thoroughfare in Metro Manila, lined with palm trees on its center island and scattered with girly bars, such as the previously reviewed Pegasus and Classmates, on both sides. Nearly all of these venues include karaoke as part of the package or make it the only activity allowed on premises. KTVs have long been a staple of adult entertainment in Asia, though cultural and language barriers make them less than popular among Western visitors.
Formerly known as Queen’s Castle, Queen’s Chamber is easy to locate thanks to its large neon sign. It sits right beside Imperial Health Palace and Heartbeat. All visitors must pass through security first, but Westerners are usually given only a light pat down.
The venue is spread over two floors, with the upper one hosting a number of karaoke rooms and the ground floor offering stage shows. Young pinays perform all night long on a large stage placed against the wall on one side of the lounge.
The performances last a few minutes each and they are all rehearsed, hence they are nothing like the bored two-step seen in many go go bars. The girls at Queen’s Chamber can actually dance. Many of them seem to thoroughly enjoy it, judging from the energy they bring on stage and the smiles they dispense around.
While nudity is nowhere to be found, some of the choreographed dances are performed by Filipinas in very revealing clothes such as see-through lingerie. The same girls performing on stage can be taken upstairs for some intimate time, so it makes perfect sense to hang around in the lounge and take a good look at them.
Being one of the most budget-friendly haunts in the area, Queen’s Chamber attracts a relatively young working class clientele. The place gets crowded on the weekend and it’s often lively even on weekdays. Thankfully, finding a seat is never much of problem as the lounge is packed with couches and tables. There is also a long bar with plenty of stools along with some fans to offer respite from the heat.
Guys who prefer to cool themselves down with a drink can pick their favorite refreshment from the menu, which lists all kinds of beverages and a broad selection of food. Prices start at 90 pesos (less than $2 USD) for a bottle of locally brewed San Miguel, and go up from there.
Those who linger at the bar will notice a coming and going of gals. That’s because every now and then a customer will ask for a lineup, and the available girls will strut out of a small room that happens to be mere steps away from the bar, down the same corridor that leads to the restroom.
As for the latter, it comes with a resident male “attendant” who specializes in startling customers by performing an unsolicited massage while they use the urinals. This is actually a common occurrence in Southeast Asia. The polite way to go about it would be to either hand the poor devil a tip or keep him at arm’s length with some well-placed gestures.
The girls are managed by two mamasans who can be seen roaming the floors and attending to the customers. Their attention is up for grab by anyone who should need it, but intercepting them can get tricky on a busy night. Guys who don’t speak Tagalog would do best to talk with Grace, the only one of the two who can speak conversational English. She is easily recognizable by a large beauty mark. Once in her presence they can inquire about the availability of rooms upstairs and ask to be introduced to some girls.
Even though Queen’s Chamber employs dozens of women, only a handful of them are available at any given time. Some regulars fancy booking their favorite girl for up to five hours in a row, thus limiting the selection for those who show up late. A first-time visitor can only sit back while the available girls come shake his hand and introduce themselves, usually with a big smile.
It’s hard to say anything meaningful about their looks since one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, but the girls generally know how to dress and some of their outfits can be quite sexy. One thing they all have in common is that they tend to be young. Most girls are in their early twenties and it’s not rare to come across 18-year-olds.
There is no harm in asking to see a few more girls before making a choice, since the mamasans never call for a full lineup, but rather small groups of three to five girls. Once the customer finds a gal he likes the pair will be escorted to a private room upstairs.
On paper, the only activities allowed inside a KTV room are singing and drinking. The reality is quite different. As time passes and the girl gets more comfortable with his customer, things can move in any direction. The best KTV sessions can outclass a kiss bang in Seoul or an oppai pub in Tokyo in terms of action.
Speaking from my own experience at Queen’s Chamber, guys who hit it off with a gal can look forward to an embarrassing amount of kissing, caressing and groping. On a lucky night a blowjob might be on the cards. My best personal memory is that of a girl squeezing her nipples to spray thin spouts of milk on my face.
The management is aware of such happenings and they don’t seem to have a problem with it. Some guys go as far as asking the mamasan to recommend them a girl who has a reputation for being wild. Short of intercourse, which is forbidden as well as unlikely to happen, anything goes. These rules hold true for every other similar venue in Manila.
The only caveat in the KTV formula is that everything must happen at the discretion of the girl. The customers can’t demand that the girls do anything other then sit with them and keep them company. Being gentlemanly, laying back and going with the flow usually leads to a positive outcome.
The experience is somewhat akin to dating in that it’s fairly unpredictable and comes with as many thrills as disappointments. Punters looking for sex in Manila visit places like massage parlors and go go bars, since KTVs have the opposite function of building up sexual tension. Experienced guys know that there’s a place and a time for everything and they don’t confuse a certain type of venue with another.
KTV rooms are typically rented by the hour and Queen’s Chamber is no exception. A standard room costs 520 pesos per hour ($10.80 USD) and comes with air conditioning, a coffee table, one to three couches and a full karaoke setup. Most rooms have windows that look out onto the lounge area and the stage show.
A few “VIP” rooms are also available for several thousand pesos and in multiple visits I was never able to get one, since apparently they get snatched quickly. I have no idea how they compare and if they are worth the premium price tag. All I can say is that the standard rooms are nice enough and I never found myself wishing for an upgrade.
A fun little detail at Queen’s Chamber is that all the rooms are named after famous royals, so every door comes with a plaque reading “Queen Elizabeth” or “King Henry” and so on, with a Pope or two thrown in for good measure.
The price quoted above is all-inclusive and no additional tip is required for the girl. Any food or drinks ordered while in the room will obviously add to the tab.
The girls are paid a percentage off the final bill and must meet a certain quota of drinks ordered per month, so they are expert at getting customers to order as many items as possible, though unwanted expenses are easy to avoid for guys who can assert themselves and are not in the habit of drinking themselves into a stupor. Another minor annoyance is that some girls are required to perform on stage at certain intervals and they will leave the room for a good 15 minutes before coming back.
Every hour or so, a waiter will knock on the door and poke his head in to ask the customer if he would like to extend his session for another hour. In my experience, a typical session with a pleasant enough girl ends up lasting two or three hours and involves the purchase of several drinks and possibly some food, which totals to 2000-3000 pesos ($40-60 USD) when it’s all said and done. Of course it’s possible to spend a bit less or a lot more.
Whether the expense is worth it depends on one’s habits and expectations. Admittedly, the same amount of money would go much further at a place like Air Force One, or the many other haunts in Manila that provide sexual services. Then again, sometimes a man wishes for a different kind of entertainment. I for one don’t mind shelling a few bucks to have a hot babe sit on my lap for hours, sing for me on demand, and put food in my mouth while I fondle her breasts.
The KTV proposition is made all the more enticing in a country like the Philippines where English is ubiquitous, which makes it possible to have actual conversations with the girls. This brings the flirting component to a level difficult to achieve in other countries.
When the customer feels like he has had enough fun, he can decline the offer to extend the session further and ask for the check instead. Payment is rendered directly to the waiter inside the room.
It’s good practice to tip the waitstaff and the mamasan before leaving. A major perk at Queen’s Chamber compared to other KTVs in the area is that little to no pressure is put on the customer when it comes to tipping, whereas in some places nearby the staff will seemingly go out of their way to be unpleasant about it. This detail alone already makes Queen’s Chamber stand out from the crowd.
As mentioned before, the girls don’t expect to receive tips, though some of them may occasionally try and ask for one. Most of the time they will simply take the guy by hand and lead him back downstairs, where the two will share a hug before parting ways.
Exchanging phone numbers or other contact information is common when a session goes particularly well, though that’s best done while still in the room. Nine times out of ten the number won’t lead to anything solid, but there have been instances of guys successfully meeting a KTV girl outside of her workplace, where of course none of the same rules and restrictions apply.
Queen’s Chamber has been in operation for several years now and has developed something of a cult following. Whether it’s because of the warmth of the girls, the politeness of the staff or the affordable prices, locals keep returning night after night. That the venue is welcoming of foreigners and respectful toward them is just the icing on the cake. It’s an ideal starting point for guys who are new to the KTV scene and have an interest in exploring it.
As a place where men are only supposed to enjoy the company and liveliness of attractive young women, Queen’s Chamber over-delivers on its promises. I give it an above average score of three-and-a-half stars.
Note: Queen’s Chamber has closed. The place is now called QC Club.
|Address:||1181 Quezon Ave, Quezon City, Manila, Philippines|
This is a guest review by regular commentor European Guy – Rockit