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How Many Strip Clubs Does Dallas Have?

Yesterday I pointed you to a story our friend Sarah Hepola wrote for the Times Style section. Today I bring you an essay she wrote for Salon about an online dating experience that did not exactly work out for her. It’s a good read, recommended.

But after I read the story, Sarah and I had an email exchange that I asked her if I could share. It’s about topless bars.

TIM: When you write for New York, you aren’t afraid to play up the Dallas stereotypes, are you? Steakhouses and silicone … Ubiquitous strip clubs … Etc. You watch yourself, missy.

SARAH: Wait a minute. Strip clubs ARE ubiquitous. That’s not a stereotype — that’s reader information. The steakhouses and silicone line might be considered a stereotype, though I could point you to a handful of D Magazine pieces that characterize the city in the same way. I’m only allowed to poke fun at Dallas if I’m writing for a Dallas magazine?

TIM: There are no more strip clubs here (per capita) than there are in Vegas or Atlanta or Houston or Chicago. In fact, Wiki says Portland, OR, has more strip clubs per capita than any other US city. Now, Dallas’ clubs will be better. No question. But not more numerous. And certainly not UBIQUITOUS. [Ed: After I emailed with Sarah, I did a bit more digging (though not much). In this PolitiFact examination of which city is the stripper capital of the United States, Dallas didn't even come up. But Manhattan did.]

SARAH: OK, “ubiquitous” is too strong a word. They are “ubiquitous” on my drive out to the airport, but I realize that’s a sliver of the experience of living in the city. Still, why are you embarrassed by Dallas’ reputation for having a lot of strip clubs? Do you really think that’s an untrue stereotype? I think D should do a story on this. It’s fascinating to me. When I worked at the Observer, both [named redacted] and [name redacted] informed me that Dallas had more strip clubs than any city in the country, a fact I banked away because it came from two trustworthy journalists and also because whenever I write for NY publications, I like to sling around cheap and easy lies. But the myth is so powerful and enduring (it was quoted on the first ep of GCB, as I’m sure you remember), it’s worth exploring. I’d do that story if you wanted it.

At which point, I informed her that Joe Bob Briggs had already done that story. Again, though, Joe Bob’s story revealed that we can, with some authority, claim to have invented the “gentleman’s club.” He didn’t say that we’ve got more of them than any other city. That’s not true.

11 comments on “How Many Strip Clubs Does Dallas Have?

  1. Let’s all agree that we have too many. But then again, where are all the graduates of Lewisville’s Breastaurant Row supposed to go?

  2. Well I just happen to be looking at TABC sales numbers and one these establishments in Dallas ranks in the top sales consistently, some times north of $500k in a month. So people are spending there money there and that is just for booze.

  3. What’s interesting to me, Tim, is that you seemed offended by the implication that it’s a strip club town. I thought that was one of the city’s charms! We can quibble about numbers — but the terrific Joe Bob Briggs piece that you link is a big wet kiss for the glory days of “bouncing betties” and the pageant of nakedness that took place in a smoky neon-lit bar. It also says this: “Dallas is still the capital of exotic dancing.” And that was as recent as 2004.

    My personal experience has been that I see more strip clubs in Dallas, interact with more strippers in Dallas, talk to more guys who go to strip clubs and openly discuss how often they do so like [name redacted] who I worked with at the Dallas Observer — and that’s not a Dallas stereotype, it’s a Dallas characteristic.

  4. You don’t even try to answer the question in your headline (or whoever wrote it didn’t read what you wrote)! It’s really damn easy to find this stuff out with a quick visit to TUSCL.com or stripclublist.com. Anyhow, the answer is: slightly fewer than Tampa, FL, and quite a bit fewer than Houston.

    But include the Metroplex and there’s more strip clubs for a metro area by sheer number than anywhere else in the United States. Sarah is correct that they are ubiquitous. I mean, there’s more strip clubs in Dallas than there are Sonics and Dairy Queens put together. However, as to whether they are better? No. Atlanta’s are more fun, Portland’s have better steaks (I know!), and Florida’s have more variety.

  5. @Sarah Hepola: I’m not offended by the implication that Dallas is a strip club town. I just want to set the record straight. We are known as a strip club town because we’ve got a fair number — though certainly not a number that rises to ubiquity — of high-end strip joints.

  6. Sarah, I invite you to stay with me the next time you’re in Dallas. I’m sure that my colleagues, friends and I can show you a great time in Dallas without strip clubs, steakhouses, rodeos, charity balls or any other Dallas cliches. But you can’t fault the strip club billboards on the way in from the airport — that’s just good marketing.