All photos Laura Hayes
All photos Laura Hayes

“I better keep it in the box so people know it’s a starter pegging kit,” says Players Club general manager Brendan Murphy. He’s stocking one of two machines inside the Logan Circle basement bar from Eric and Ian Hilton, where patrons can slide in dollar bills and hopefully walk away with a new sex toy or some tingling lube.

One machine costs $5 per try and requires a high degree of skill to win involved prizes like ball gags and dildos. There’s a second machine with smaller ticket items like vibrators and big plastic boobs that you can score using a claw-grab technique. That’s where I tried my luck with a budget of $20.

I’m here to tell you that the level of difficulty is high. You have to be a 17-year-old arcade-obsessed Japanese otaku to deftly operate the claw. I practically handed over a twenty to the Hilton brothers, only coming away with a set of rubber handcuffs and something called “clitoral jolt gel” after 20 tries. 

Players Club doubles as a bar and a 6,500-square-foot period piece. Soak in the 1970s ambiance as you challenge friends to a game on vintage foosball and billiards tables, oggle board games only adults from a certain era remember, flip through the jukebox selections, and spread out on custom-made stools and couches in a lounge setting that says “Let’s shag baby.” 

If you’re too much of a prude to try to win a whip, there are two Skee-Ball machines in the back. Score 450 points or more and the machine will spit out a ticket good for one free drink at the bar. 

Murphy created the cocktails for Players Club. They include the “Stone Groove” with Ramazzotti amaro, sweet vermouth, and rye whiskey ($12), “Something’s Gotta Rhyme With Silver” with almond, rose water, coconut water, chocolate bitters, and Bolivian brandy ($12), and “Serious Moonlight” with blackberry, peach, vanilla, lemon, vodka, and bubbly ($12). 

Also try a selection of ciders ($7 each), wines ($7 to $9 by the glass), and beers on draft and in bottles and cans. Genesee Cream Ale, Right Proper White Bicycles, and Port City Robust Porter are top draft picks. 

If you work up an appetite shooting hoops or playing Pac-Man, remember you can order Shake Shack without leaving the bar. Step up to the coat check to place your order and Players Club will take charge of getting you a burger or fried chicken sandwich from the cult establishment located on the floor above.

Players Club is currently open Mondays through Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 1:45 a.m.; Fridays from 4 p.m. to 2:45 a.m.; Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 2:45 a.m.; and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 1:45 a.m. The bar will open at noon this Friday for March Madness viewing. 

Players Club, 1400 14th St. NW; (202) 986-4730;