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Call them adult entertainment. Call them nude dancing clubs. Just, whatever you do, don’t call them strip clubs.
“I am not a strip club,” declared Nexus Gold Club owner Ron Hunt in an impassioned speech before Ward 5 residents at Bethesda Baptist Church last night. Hunt prefers the term “gentlemen’s club” to describe Nexus, a glitzy nightclub that offered nude dancing until it was closed by the city last fall. Nexus was one of a series of clubs shuttered to make way for new stadium development.
In a lengthy oration that elicited intermittent boos from the audience, Hunt made grand claims, saying his club “was known as the largest on the East Coast,” and that 80 percent of its patrons arrived via limousine. “This was for the upper-echelon people,” he said, adding, “This club looked like a living room. We cater[ed] to husbands and wives.”
But the neighbors who packed the pews at Bethesda last night wouldn’t hear it. “If these clubs are so wonderful, why don’t they put some kind of subsidy to put them by the [new] stadium,” one resident said.
Others suggested the clubs should be evenly distributed throughout the wards, or perhaps clustered in Ward 1. Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham has introduced legislation designed to permit one-time relocation of the clubs to similarly zoned locations—-all of which are in Ward 5. “The issue before us is a simple issue. It’s a zoning issue,” said Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr., who convened the meeting. “No ward wants to be inundated with one type of business.”