Strip clubs in the United States
While the United States may rank third in the world in total area at 3.8 million square miles and third in population at over 320 million people, it clearly ranks first in the strip club category, generating over $3 billion per year from an estimated 2,500 to 3,000 strip clubs spread across the country. Growing from the striptease and burlesque in the early 1900’s, the world’s first “topless and bottomless” strip club, the Condor Club, opened its doors in San Francisco in 1964. From that club sprang others, and now strip clubs can be found in virtually every state across the country.
While adult entertainment is often frowned upon by religious folks and politicians alike, the strip club industry has survived and thrived in a constantly hostile environment. RCI Hospitality Holdings, Inc., which owns and operates over forty strip clubs in the united states, including the Rick’s Cabaret, Vivid Cabaret, Club Onyx and Jaguar Club brands, was founded in the early 1980’s and is one of a very few publicly traded gentlemen’s club companies (NASDAQ: RICK). In addition, the industry has banded together not only for survival, but also to collaborate and grow the industry, with the formation of such groups as the Association of Club Executives as well as the Gentlemen’s Club Expo, where club owners, managers, vendors, talent and others gather annually to honor the industry and network.
Locations of strip clubs in the United States
Although strip clubs can be found across the United States, there is no real pattern to where they are commonly located, as each individual states has different laws related to adult entertainment. Within each state, strip clubs in the united states are often further regulated at the municipal level, impacted by issues such as zoning, alcohol consumption and amount of clothing (nude, topless, bikini) each dancer is required to wear. Despite this, you’ll generally find that major cities, such as New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Philadelphia, offer more high-end clubs such as Rick’s Cabaret, Spearmint Rhino, Scores and Penthouse Clubchain locations. These clubs tend to offer many amazing amenities such as adult film star feature dancers, VIP rooms, complimentary transportation and even themed events such as golf outings and UFC fight broadcasts. These amenities don’t come without a cost, as prices tend to be higher at these clubs and bottle service, for instance, often runs into thousands of dollars.
One notable exception to this “major city” rule is Portland, Oregon, whose history of liberal laws and over fifty clubs has dubbed it “America’s Strip Club Capital,” ranking second in total club count but ranking first in per-capita strip clubs as Houston, with only ten more clubs than Portland, has over four times the population. The United States is also home to the largest strip clubs in the world. The largest, Sapphire in Las Vegas, is a massive 71,000 square foot facility that features its own day club. Tootsie’s Cabaret in Miami is arguably the second largest at over 74,000 square feet (a portion of the club is a non-strip club sports bar and grill). While these behemoths are few and far between, you’ll find the strip clubs in the United States to be larger than in other countries around the world, capable of hosting between 100 and 1,000 customers at once.
Atmosphere, laws and prices in strip clubs in the United States
The atmosphere among strip clubs in the united states varies greatly, as the industry in the United States goes from small, “dive bar” locals clubs that can only hold a couple of dozen patrons to the massive clubs that can hold several thousand at a time. In terms of nudity, most clubs offer four levels of nudity: bikini, pastie, topless and fully nude. Each state and municipalities laws are different but, in many areas, less clothing means less alcohol being served. Furthermore, food offerings vary greatly… while some clubs offer no food or a simple menu of burgers and fried offerings, some of the higher end clubs such as the Penthouse Club feature their own high-end restaurants.
As for pricing, the industry is surprisingly stable when it comes to two expenses: couch dances are usually $20 per song and nighttime cover charges are usually around $10 per person. These costs are deceptive, as you’ll not only find that many clubs offer lower and higher fees and other costs, such as liquor and private “champagne” rooms, can vary greatly and run into the thousands of dollars.
Websites and social media are great resources for club information and are almost a necessity, whether attending by yourself, with friends or planning a bachelor (also known as a “stag”) party. From free admission coupons to food menus to happy hour specials, these internet resources provide plenty of information to make your strip club visit a success.
Attitudes to strip clubs in the United States
Unlike many other legally-operating businesses in the United States, the strip club industry faces constant efforts to shut down clubs and have – unfairly – been targeted as havens for criminal activities. This isn’t surprising, as society’s aversion to adult entertainment has resulted in strip clubs often being zoned in lower-income, higher-crime areas. The exception to this is often the high-end clubs found in the financial district areas of major cities. As for the general perception of strip clubs, the eastern and western regions of the contiguous United States tend to be more liberal-leaning, while the central and southern regions tend to be more conservative.
Prostitution itself is only legal in select counties in the state of Nevada, with many of the run by Dennis Hof, owner of the World Famous Moonlite Bunny Ranch as well as six other brothels and a strip club. While selling sex is legal in these brothels, they are tightly regulated by the state, and each prostitute is regularly checked for sexually transmitted diseases and has to follow certain rules. While you may encounter dancers that are willing to “break the rules,” as in any industry or profession, be aware that prostitution is illegal and both club owners and entertainers risk arrest and other penalties. Prostitution and other types of stings are a rarity but do occur.
Don’t let these facts dissuade you from attending your favorite club; just be certain to do your homework about a club before you go to ensure a safe, fun experience for both you and your friends.