City Paper is not for tourists
You could call the Edge/Wet good, clean adult entertainment. After all, back when the club was open on L Street SE, the strippers were known for shedding their clothes and showering on stage.
But no matter how soapy the Edge/Wet once was, the club isn’t nearly clean enough for the Ward 5 neighbors who recently voted against its application to move to 2026 West Virginia Ave. NE.
Nothing personal, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner William Shelton says; it’s just that the community doesn’t need any more clubs, strip or otherwise. In October, the commission voted to block Club 55, another strip club, and Big Chill, a nightclub, from moving to New York Avenue. The Edge/Wet got the cold shoulder on Nov. 2.
“They’re coming to us, and we’re sending them back,” Shelton says.
Problem is, strip clubs may have nowhere else to go.
Downtown is already crowded, and strip clubs aren’t allowed to locate within 600 feet of a residential building. As industrial areas go condo, more and more strip clubs are bumping up against restricted zones. Then, of course, there’s the new baseball stadium, which has sent several Southeast strip clubs packing.
“Unless this changes, this kind of lifestyle will never happen again,” says the oft-quoted Bob Siegel, who once owned 11 properties, including Secrets, Heat, Ziegfields, the Follies, and Glorious Health & Amusement on what is now the stadium site.
For decades, Siegel’s properties anchored a stripper-studded playground for gay men and daring women. Accustomed to being the life of the party, Siegel now says he feels like an unwelcome guest. He had hoped to relocate some of his businesses to Mount Olivet Road NE. “I was invited by Councilmember [Vincent] Orange to go to an emergency public meeting on dance clubs moving to Ward 5 at the Bethesda Baptist Church.” At that meeting, he says he “was called up before an angry crowd” and rebuffed. He even remembers someone saying, “‘We don’t want those people in our neighborhood.’”
Not surprisingly, members of the gay community have raised a red flag. “Perhaps under this veneer of civic-mindedness is a little bit of homophobia,” says gay activist Chris Dyer.
According to Shelton, however, “it’s not the nature of the club that we’re opposed to. It’s just that over the years, we’ve been inundated.” Megaclub Love is located on Okie Street, just off of New York Avenue, and Skylark Lounge, a strip club, sits at 1943 New York Ave. NE.
Shelton says he and his commission plan to oppose liquor licenses for all New York Avenue–bound nightclubs, regardless of their clientele.
And while the new stadium might have signaled the demise of the city’s unofficial gay red-light district, it’s had an effect on clubs catering to straight patrons as well, says Jeff Coudriet, director of operations for the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration. For example, Nexus Gold Club, which calls itself the “Ultimate Gentleman’s Club,” has already reduced its operating hours, and, like the Edge/Wet, it’s contemplating a move—from 900 1st St. SE to Queens Chapel Road NE.
But, according to Shelton, if Nexus comes knocking, it’ll get the same response from Ivy City. “We’re standing up and saying no.”
What neighbors say about nearby strip clubs
3530 Georgia Ave. NW
Vibe: down-home service with a smile Family-owned and operated, the House is bathed in red, like a slightly worn, old-fashioned boudoir. In between rump-shaking sessions on stages and elevated platforms, dancers circulate, shaking hands and smiling.
NIMBY Factor: moderate—not on neighbors’ hit list
2412 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Vibe: basement chic A dark, unassuming dive, JP’s features females without the frills. No food to distract you here, just one stage and a rotating bevy of ladies.
NIMBY Factor: high—it’s located in activist-heavy Glover Park
2311 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Vibe: businessman meets sports fan GoodGuys is a favorite destination for suits and students. In fact, the students are both patrons and dancers at the Wisconsin Avenue club. “We’re putting a lot of people through school,” the owner says.
NIMBY Factor: high—it’s down the street from Whole Foods!
5335 Georgia Ave. NW
Vibe: A little too friendly? Despite plenty of signs warning against touching the dancers, a toothless senior may plant a wet smooch on the small of a dancer’s back. In fact, the city once busted the joint after observing dancers being overly intimate with customers.
NIMBY Factor: high—neighbors call it notorious
1805 Connecticut Ave. NW
Vibe: Vegas The Palace is pitch-black with neon trim, candles and low lamplight. Dancers take center stage while a mix of locals sit tightly packed with tourists.
NIMBY Factor: moderate—Dupont Circlites say they keep a watchful eye on the place
1823 M St. NW
Vibe: chi-chiThis linen-tablecloth establishment was nominated “best nude club in the Northeast” by Maxim.
NIMBY Factor: low—see Archibald’s
1520 K St. NW
Vibe: swankArchibald’s advertises itself as Washington, D.C.’s finest gentleman’s club.
NIMBY Factor: low—neighbors consist mainly of office buildings
476 K St. NW, 2nd Floor
Vibe: divey Just steps away from the convention center, Louis’ Rogue is perfect for conventioneers who want a little T&A after their Q&A.
NIMBY Factor: low—but a new condominium building is planned for across the street
Nexus Gold Club
900 1st St. SE
Vibe: glitzy Given its proximity to the new baseball stadium, Nexus Gold Club is contemplating a move to Northeast.
NIMBY Factor: low— though if Nexus moves forward with plans to move to Northeast, the factor is expected to skyrocket
1943 New York Ave. NE
Vibe: “It’s a Small World After All” Skylark has two stages, with two women dancing at the same time. Patrons span the stripper-savvy spectrum, including men and women from all walks of life, a manager says.
NIMBY Factor: moderate—neighbors say it’s not a nuisance, but one is enough
2840 Alabama Ave. SE
Vibe: on the chopping blockOwner Eric Whitehead calls it Cheers for the adult-entertainment crowd. This summer, Club Rendezvous replaced Clancy’s, another strip club, but according to Whitehead, the club’s future is ominous—the property has been sold to the National Capital Revitalization Corporation and the club will likely close within a year.
NIMBY Factor: low
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