It’s dark , skanky and tight, but revelers flock there like it’s their calling.
Unlike most of Bourbon Street, they don’t play juke, jazz or anything soft. It’s only head banging heavy metal. Judas Priest and Black Sabbath are worshipped here.
I enter through a long, narrow alley, so close to each side, I could sense the breath of the cold brick walls and the musty smell of mildew.
When I reach the end , I know that I’m there. The tunnel suddenly open to a green-incandescent courtyard, reminiscent to 19th century French quarter architecture. And then my surroundings turn pitch-black I immediately feel claustrophobic, been led in submission to my dark fate in the gallows.
There is no hostess and I’m not handed a menu. Instead I’m greeted by creepy skeletons wrapped in chains. The atmosphere reeks of torture and filth. But besides the creep and grunge, this really is a chill place where the bartender serves up a cold, strong Sazerac with a warm smile.
There used to be sex here – not the erotic kind that we know and love, but the one that required bondage, role playing and dominance. Perhaps there still is, from time to time. I didn’t stumble on any, and that’s why the place doesn’t allow photography of any kind. Even I felt a tad guilty when I sneaked in my Ricoh and iPhone to shoot a Google 360.
I was supposed to check in my phone at the door. So there’s no selfies or social media. Instead, enjoy the atmosphere, socialize and consume beaucoup amounts of alcohol to work away your jitters.
The bar was already full with locals while the tourists were busy strolling around, amazed by the decor and perhaps freaked out by the whole ordeal.
If you’re lucky, you can secure a spot inside the coveted cage – the one that involved hot BDSM scenes – lots of it.
The sex cage was located conveniently at the end of the bar, so the bartender can keep her eye on me and my glass full.
In keeping with the the hazy green lighting I ordered a high-proof absinthe filled with herbs and botanicals.
A man sitting at the bar glanced over and smiled then muttered out loud.
“Watch where you’re sitting. There’s usually a lot of hot sex there with ladies dressed in nothing but leather straps, swinging whips and flogging until your eyes turned red.”
I smiled back and raised my glass in approval.
“This is the most interesting place I’ve been all night I must admit. I’d hate to see what the bathroom looks like.”
“Oh if you need to go, the restroom, is located behind a secret door hidden by that bookcase,” he pointed to a direction in the far corner.
I turned my attention to the small library and then at the menancing coffin , big enough for two.
“So what’s the story here?” I asked, regretting that I ever sat down.
“Well, it’s more than just a sex dungeon. It’s name is inspired by a Victorian mansion down the road that is reportedly haunted.”
“Yeah, like many places in the French Quarter,” I replied naively, even though I could not name a single place that was.
“During the Civil War, the Dungeon was rented out to a wealthy Turk named Suleyman who would throw huge parties, invite all his rich friends and live it up, Orleans-style.”
I listened intently, appreciating the rich history of this mysterious city. Every nook and cranny, every wall has some sort of story.
“One day, a neighbor reported that the house had strangely grown quiet. The police investigated and found that everyone in the house was brutally murdered by Sulleyman’s brother who was actually a prince in Turkey”
“So this secretive, off-the-strip dive bar is named in tribute to Prince Suleyman?” I asked.
Absolutely, that’s why the sign outside warns customers that they are entering “The Dungeon of the Prince.”
I downed my drink, then wobbled as I got up, as if my brain was smashed with a ball and chain.
Then strolled out and looked back at the door at the eerie letters. I had my share as I welcome the cool, brisk air. The night was still young and there was lots more of crazy, historic Orleans to explore.Read more: The Dungeon on Bourbon St :