Total Pageviews

Thursday, August 16, 2012

At Conventions, Strip Clubs Are Eager for Business


The convention organizers say no, no, no. But the gentlemen's clubs of Tampa, Fla., and Charlotte, N.C., are saying yes, yes, yes.

With thousands of Republican and Democratic delegates and lobbyists set to descend on the host cities of this year's national conventions, strip clubs in each city are doing their best to extend a friendly welcome - even as party officials warn against partaking.

In Tampa, known - apparently apocryphally - as the strip club capital of the nation and where the Republican convention begins Aug. 27, competition for conventioneers is fierce. One club, Skin Tampa, is advertising its proximity to the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where the convention will be held.

“Closest club to the R.N.C.!” exclaims a banner on the club's Web site, which also promises “Free transportation and complimentary V.I.P. for R.N.C. Attendees and Press.”

“We've had a couple of people ask and stop b y and take a look at the club,” said the manager, Kristen Hubbell. “We had one guy who said he was bringing a group of about a hundred.”

The Penthouse Club, somewhat farther away, devotes a section of its Web site to the convention, offering “R.N.C. cabanas” for V.I.P. guests and claiming the only multimillion-dollar gentlemen's club and five-star steakhouse in the area. (“Presale disclaimer - All pre-order cabana or V.I.P. areas will receive a $1,000 bottle service credit,” the club warns. “Deposits are no-refundable, all sales are final.”)

Charlotte, where the Democratic convention begins Sept. 4, is less well known for its exotic dancers, but clubs there appear no less prepared. The Uptown Cabaret promises a 10-minute walk from the Time Warner Cable Arena, where the convention is taking place, and offers a handy map on its Web site.

“The Uptown Cabaret is the premiere venue for entertainment during the convention,” the owners promis e. “We are set for a week full of fun featuring the hottest women at any Charlotte nightclub.”

Both political parties have long been aware of the perils of misbehaving in public. And Congressional Republicans have reportedly held sessions warning that even innocent behavior in Tampa could be distorted with just a single cellphone shot.