While the live music industry is adjusting to a coronavirus world with drive-in concerts, one strip club is adapting with a drive-thru offering two songs at a time and bottle service.
Billing itself as “the FIRST Drive-Thru with #LIVE entertainment,” Vivid Gentlemen’s Club in Houston, Texas, has erected a tent that customers can drive through to order food and liquor, while enjoying music and dancers.
The 21-years-old-and-over strip club at 2618 Winrock Blvd. debuted the concept late last month on Facebook in a video with electronic dance music. It posted the menu featuring “two-song drive-thru with no food or drinks” for $20.
Customers seeking more than the entertainment can order mixed drinks, beer and bottles. There are three tiers—$30 Fireball, $40 Grey Goose, and $50 Don Julio Silver, as an example. Food options range from chicken wings to pizza “homemade in Italy” to a party platter, all priced at $12.95.
“Come order some food and drinks to go,” Vivid Gentlemen’s Club wrote in a Facebook post. “While you wait drive thru and see the show.”
Inside the tent with purplish lighting, some dancers wear face masks and are separated from vehicles by black metal barricades. Yes, they do welcome dollar bills.
Vivid Gentlemen’s Club opened the drive-thru experience mostly to support its staff.
“We racked the numbers and thought ‘should we do it?’ and realized that if we do it, we’re doing it for the entertainers, the staff and employees,” the club’s general manager Gino DiLollo told the Houston Chronicle on Tuesday. “Because to keep us open, we just can’t do the numbers. We’re not making any money. This is purely for the staff.”
In Texas, strip clubs are in a gray area between bars which are restricted to to-go sales, and restaurants which can serve at 50 percent capacity. The way DiLollo sees it, his strip club is essential to its employees, who lost their jobs and income during the widespread coronavirus outbreak in March.
A Vivid Gentlemen’s Club entertainer, Jada, told the Chronicle that she “definitely” thinks the strip club is essential.
“Everybody needs entertainment, everybody needs their hair done, everyone needs something. And I feel like this is where that comes into play,” she said. “And we’re doing a good job of keeping it within the limits of what we can do.”
With the drive-thru operation, Jada said she’s “still able to come into work and get money and take care of my bills.”
The drive-thru hours are from roughly 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Like many nightlife operations as far away as Berlin, Vivid Gentlemen’s Club is exploring a restaurant to survive. DiLollo is pursuing a license that would allow the strip club to function more like a restaurant than a bar.
“We’re trying to adapt to the times,” he said, “And whatever cards we’re being dealt.”