Saturday, December 23, 2006

Strip clubs begin to see other benefits of women...

Here's some info on a trend that's been happening lately.

Women in strip clubs as patrons.

I got this tidbit from The Las Vegas Sun that was originally posted in 7/06.

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Strip clubs begin to see other benefits of women

By Abigail Goldman <abigail.goldman@lasvegassun.com>
Las Vegas Sun, July 03, 2006


Of their 3 a.m. strip-club sojourn, the sanguine tourists would later explain, the lap dances were not for the grind, but for the conversation and company. The visitors - two women from California - each picked a private dancer from the lingerie armada at Seamless Gentlemen's Club and, well, chatted with entertainers at the going rate: $20 a dance, tip not included.

"It's sort of a bonding thing," said Ana Monje, 28, of her Saturday morning lap dance with Raven, a black-maned Seamless stripper in a white bustier. "It was kind of like a break from the guys. We talked about moisturizer." Women, once only welcome through a stage door in heels, are being embraced as customers by a growing group of strip club owners who see in the softer sex big potential for hard cash. By recasting the strip club as an equal opportunity adult destination, some club executives say they have created a new level of legitimacy and reached a fresh crowd: wives and girlfriends, women everywhere, eager to size up the champagne room.

Not all local strip club owners think it is such a good idea.

In August, however, club owners from across the country will meet in Las Vegas to discuss the very subject at the 14th Annual Gentlemen's Club Owners Expo. Industry executives will hear a two-hour panel address, in part, the different "ways to attract and sustain female clientele."
For many clubs, the first step will require breaking an unwritten industry rule: no unescorted women allowed. "There used to be a sense of proprietorship - the idea that this is a man's world once you come through those doors," says Stephen McWilliams, director of operations for The Men's Club, a Texas-based topless-club chain, and an August panelist. "There were hundreds of stories about women causing problems." In the strip club mythos, only two types of women come in alone: irate wives hoping to snare their husbands, and prostitutes looking for johns. To avoid both, club owners have historically buttressed their businesses with velvet ropes and bouncers.

Banning such problematical women, however, also succeeded in scaring away those who might come with a man, or for their own legitimate reasons, says Angelina Spencer, executive director of the Association of Club Executives, a national trade association for adult nightclubs. As a result, club owners have been slow to discover what potential profits lurk in women's wallets. "There is a difference between ignorance and stupidity, and I think a lot of this just rests on ignorance," says Spencer. "They simply haven't thought of women as an added revenue stream." The fact remains that even where allowed, unescorted women do not really show up at strip clubs in any meaningful numbers. But the mere act of inviting them inside, she says, appeals to the real new cash cow: couples.

"Men and women are all going together, and they are seeing it as just another bar, rather than a gentleman's club," says Spencer, who opened the doors of her Cleveland strip club to unescorted women 10 years ago. "The thing I always hear from women? This isn't as bad as I thought." The recent evolution of gentlemen's clubs, from roadside skin shops to rococo megaplexes such as Sapphire, the 70,000-square-foot Vegas club that sold for $80 million in January, attracted a new breed of female clients willing to humor a strip club that does not seem seedy. At the August Expo, McWilliams will advise his colleagues to capitalize on the trend - if you build a lavish club, women will come. And if you market your lavish club, women will come back.

"You are removing the stigma of what's behind those doors," McWilliams says. "You remove the barrier, you encourage women to come in; you encourage the overall experience." Spencer lured women into her Ohio club with an ad campaign that promised "unescorted women and couples welcome" and a series of special events - "fantasy nights" where housewives could fulfill their striptease desires for an audience of significant others. By the time Spencer sold the club, about two years ago, half the Saturday night scene was women. "We tout it as one of the ways to spice up a date night," Spencer says. "Unconventional? Definitely. Fun? Hell yes."

Some Las Vegas club owners aren't so sure.

Treasures Gentlemen's Club, which calls itself the world's most luxurious, serves 28-ounce porterhouses at its steakhouse and $30 cigars to any clients so inclined. Couples are welcome - on a slow Thursday, manager Nick Foskaris reported at least four - but unescorted women are strictly prohibited. One concern is that groups of women might bother the strippers, Foskaris says. Unescorted women are not allowed at Cheetahs, Crazy Horse Too, The Library or the Spearmint Rhino, either, among others. At Sheri's Cabaret, it's by the manager's permission only. Alan Lichtenstein, attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, thinks anyone interested in challenging such rules would have a "pretty good case."

So far, no one has taken up the cause.

Women can walk in the front door at Olympic Garden, says club manager Delores Eliades, whose father, Pete Eliades, also allowed women into Sapphire before selling the club this year.
Still, they are secondarily important, Delores Eliades says because men tend to spend more money in the company of near-naked women: "Women will partake in the gentlemen's club - I think there's a natural inquisitiveness - but it's in bits and pieces. For some women, it's an experience, or they come because it's a special event. Some women are just pacifying whoever they're with." At Seamless, where parking is valet only and guests are greeted at the door by a bikinied woman writhing in a 10-foot martini glass, Monje and friend Ava Otway, a 28-year-old Los Angeles mom, had lured their male friends into the club.

"It was our idea to come here," Otway says. "I'm mainly an observer. I'm straight, but I think women are beautiful. I think most women would like to look at other women." Unescorted women are allowed into Seamless after midnight. Four hours later, at 4 a.m., the bar stools are carried out, the topless dancers' catwalk is folded into the ceiling and the strippers start putting their shirts back on. To attract a wider audience, the gentleman's club transforms itself into a dance club every night, seamlessly. On a recent weekend morning, the paying customers doubled to about 200 people as the club converted. "You look at your sources of revenue, you try to figure out where the people are," says club manager Marty Helfand.

After 4, lap dances are offered only in private VIP rooms, away from the clubbing crowd.
"The entertainers are still there, they're allowed to walk the floor, but we have them change into less seductive outfits," Hefland says. "At a regular night club, you have to attract the women, and if the female guests are uncomfortable, the guys are not going to come back." Monje and Otway, who visited Seamless with a group of guys, certainly seemed comfortable. Before leaving the club, Monje stopped by the bar to tell Raven goodbye. They exchanged a two-cheek kiss - friendly and meaningless.

Gentlemen's club insiders can debate the issue, but Raven, a stripper for six years, is certain where the profits pencil out.

"Women tip better, they're spending their boyfriend's money," she says, fishing cash from her purse for a drink at the bar. "You ignore the man and approach the woman - as a couple, she holds the power."

Abigail Goldman can be reached at 259-8806 or at goldman@lasvegassun.com.


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Wow...

U want my opinion on this subject?

Read #5 that's on this prior post.

2 comments:

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