Gotika sits inside of a picturesque European-style courtyard, just off Nevsky Prospekt. Open 24 hours, the private establishment is housed within a basement illuminated outside by a dark red lamp. Pressing the doorbell outside of the club will result in an exchange of hellos before being allowed entry. Just inside the door, a thuggish comrade behind a desk is at the ready to collect the 200 rubles ($7.50 U.S.) entry fee.
Gotika is a narrow but cosy space with seating available in cushy, red leather booths or four barstools at the very back. After being seated, the women don't take long to make themselves your company. Few of them speak very good (if any) English, so count on there being a language barrier. The ladies waste no time in asking you to buy them all drinks or requesting that you whisk one of them away to a private room. It was like being in a group of the most high-pressure, used-car salesmen where no one has visited the lot in years.
I definitely felt forced to choose someone quickly, since buying a table full of watered-down drinks was the more expensive and less pleasing option. Once a selection has been made, you are shown a "crazy menu" of activities sorted by cost. To my recollection, it started with a table-side dance for 500 rubles ($20 U.S.) and ended with something called the "Stone Face" that cost 30,000 rubles ($1,100 U.S.). I did not get or want the stone face treatment!
After being seductively separated from a large portion of cash, I decided to call it a night. The entire time I was there, I felt very pressured, when I was hoping for a more relaxed evening. If I ever decided to partake in these types of services again, I would spend my time elsewhere.
July 5, 2005
From journal Late May in St. Petersburg