Donald Trump is the best thing to happen to Cleveland’s strip clubs in a generation. Possibly multiple generations.
The top strip clubs in Cleveland, Ohio, are all preparing for the inevitable influx of horny, cash-flinging Republican out-of-towners who will drop by during next week’s GOP convention. The city’s gentlemen’s clubs are also gearing up for potentially violent protests, as the four-day convention is expected to attract droves of anti-Donald Trump demonstrators and even some neo-Nazi street fighters.
It’s no wonder why the strip-club proprietors are excited. A huge gathering of drunk, lustful Republicans—much like drunk, lustful Democrats, or drunk, lustful registered independents, or drunk, lustful Green Party members—is sure to be great for business.
“It’s all hands on deck—we’ve cancelled all vacations [for convention week], ordered in extra stock of alcohol, food, everything,” Jeff Kallam, general manager at the Crazy Horse Cleveland strip club (which insists that “bad decisions make great stories!”), told The Daily Beast. “Republicans love strippers, so we’re just hoping to make some money.” (Republicans do love such vices as exotic dancers and pornography, at least when they aren’t busy trying to create statewide stripper registries.)
Some of the city’s gentlemen’s clubs, including Crazy Horse, have also noticed in the past few weeks a considerable uptick in phone calls inquiring about special accommodations, discount packages, and private rooms that would be available during convention week.
The city of Cleveland is doing its part to keep the party going (with the convention lasting from July 18-21) and has allowed bars and restaurants to apply under a new state law for a waiver to serve alcohol and remain open until 4 a.m. during the relevant days. In May, the city released a list of establishments that had applied for the convention stretch, and the roster was of course dotted with the names of strip clubs.
“We've got extended hours, and we've got some connections with the [local] hotels and limo services, so we're hoping that helps us out,” Kallam said.
Another Cleveland club getting ready for the coming rush of lecherous Trump voters is the Diamond Men’s Club on Fall St.—a 15-minute walk from the Quicken Loans Arena, the GOP convention site. The nightclub brags, as one might expect, that it employs the “hottest girls in town.”
“I’ll be living here that week,” said one of the managers at Diamond Men’s Club, who would only identify himself as “Frank.” “The state of Ohio is trying to make this as memorable an event as possible for the Republican Party … And [special] decorations isn’t a bad idea—maybe a little red, white, and blue.” (However, when asked if his club would be doing anything Trump-themed, Frank simply chuckled and said, “Doubt it.”)
“Cleveland’s never experienced anything of this magnitude,” he continued. “I remember that they had a Republican convention in Tampa, and the Tampa clubs all telling me that they did very well.”
Christie's Cabaret on Main Ave., which features a karaoke machine in each private room and is apparently “all about privacy and quality,” still has its garishly patriotic Fourth of July decorations adorning the club from earlier this year. And those decorations are now likely to be recycled for a politically conservative audience.
“There will be red, white, and blue everywhere throughout the club to support the concept that the Republican National Convention is in Cleveland and that we are a part of it,” said Bob Fisher, manager at Christie’s. “We’re all pumped up! Many staff members and entertainers are excited about it. And we’re making sure we have the appropriate amount of staff and security ready, providing the best entertainment possible for all those coming down to participate in the RNC.”
Fisher said that the extra security precautions and “concerns” are due to the fact that his club is “right down the hill from the demarcation lines for protesters.”
“I understand all the difficulties that go along with maintaining security in the Cleveland area … and how lines can be grayed when you’re participating in these kinds of protests” he said, remarking that if demonstrations get out of hand, chaotic, or violent (a regrettable hallmark of too many Trump campaign events), he is aware that he could potentially endure some property damage.
“We have a bunch of men doing [security] jobs, and we’re having them educated and [trained] so that they understand what could happen,” he added.
But most important, Fisher emphasized, he and his staff want to ensure that their patrons, whatever the customers’ political stripes, have the “appropriate amount of fun”—debauched, non-ideological fun.
“We want everybody to keep in mind that when they come here ... they leave their politics at the door,” he said. “They need to be pro-America and be having fun in our club.”
Fisher, who says he supports the “middle-of-the-road” in American politics, said he is “very much leaning towards the Republican” side in this election. Though when asked to clarify if he is a Trump supporter, he would not even use the candidate’s name.
It’s hardly shocking that Cleveland’s exotic dancers are itching to make a profit off of the convention crowds. When the GOP held its presidential nominating convention in Tampa, Florida, in 2012, TMZ reported that the local stripper business was “BOOMING.” According to one strip-club trade group, Republicans tend to spend three times more than their Democratic counterparts at such establishments. However, when the Democrats threw their 2008 convention in Denver, Colorado, The Rocky Mountain News reported that both local prostitutes and strippers were prepping for the surge in clientele.
And due to the difficulty that the Trump campaign and Republican Party have been experiencing lately in booking star power and major musical acts for their four-day event, it is entirely possible that the most satisfying entertainment in Cleveland for the GOP convention will be found not on the main stage, but at a friendly neighborhood strip joint.
“We are prepared, we are excited, we are looking forward to it, and we are looking forward to everybody being impressed by our level of service and fun,” Fisher said of the coming week.