Vegas strip clubs: the bare facts

by Terry Riley on July 27, 2005

Remember when Las Vegas tried to change its image from “Sin City” to a family-friendly destination? Neither do I. In fact, not many people do. That’s why the city has returned to touting is former bawdy image with its new slogan, “What happens in Las Vegas … ” — well, you know.

With the city’s return to adult entertainment comes a near glut of what are euphemistically called “gentlemen’s clubs.” For sure, topless joints ain’t what they used to be. What you’ll find — so I’m told, of course — is that these days the drinks are more likely to be served in glasses than in cans, the patrons are more likely to be wearing sport coats than hard hats, and the female anatomies on display are more likely to be “enhanced” than genuine.

Of course, you are unlikely to patronize one of these establishments. I know that. But, hey, you might have friends who may be so inclined. So for them, I offer up these rules of the runways.

Dress right

Shorts are unacceptable almost everywhere, and some clubs try to class up their places a little by excluding patrons with T-shirts. You won’t need a coat or a tie, but a neat appearance is apt to get you more attention from the girls and less attention from the bouncers.

Bring money

And lots of it. First there is the cover charge, which can range anywhere from none to several hundred bucks for perks like front-of-the-line admission, reserved seating, beverages, food, and even transportation. Then you will be offered drinks and more drinks. They are expensive — often very expensive. Be aware of this before you step inside one of these places so that you won’t make a scene when you get the bill.

Next there are the employees, in particular the employees that you will see the most of — really the most of. They work for tips, and the rule is that the closer they get to you, the more they get tipped. If you sit stage-side, for instance, expect to spend more on tips than the guys who are sitting behind you (so I am told.)

Finally, there are the extras: lap dances,* private “dance lessons,” and “special attention.” These extracurricular activities can set you back anywhere from $20 to $150 per.

All in all, plan to spend no less than $40 to $50 an hour (bring lots of singles) and you’ll probably be OK. Oh, and if you should run low on cash, don’t despair: Many clubs have ATMs on their premises. How convenient.

Don’t touch

Keep your hands to yourself and you’ll have a much better chance of leaving with all your fingers attached. The girl on stage or in your lap is there to entertain. Her job is to get your hand to reach for your wad of cash. Your job is to make sure it doesn’t reach for anything else.

Don’t ask for a “date”

Though it is not the case for all counties in Nevada, in Clark County, where Las Vegas is located, prostitution is absolutely illegal. Don’t ask for a date, don’t propose getting together after closing, don’t suggest dinner or a drink. Persistence will not pay off; in fact, it could put you in a cast or get you some cooling-off time in the slammer … or worse. Strip-club employees are entertainers, not hookers. There is a difference — a big difference.

Get the lowdown

When you — I mean, when your buddies — have mastered these basics and are ready for a field trip, send them over to the strip-club listings at Vegas.com. It’s a good place to get information on dozens of Las Vegas gentlemen’s clubs.

* Advisory: Don’t be surprised, as I was when I saw — I mean when I heard — that a lap dance is not a cultural event performed by minstrels from Lapland. Believe me, it’s not even close.

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