UK law changes brings stripclub openings boom

At the time of the change of the licensing laws last year putting more power into the hands of local councils it was not clear if this would benefit the lap dance/strip industry or not. Now after the law has been in place for over 6 month’s it’s pretty clear that it has in fact made things much easier in most parts of the country. Clubs have opened up all over the UK and where appeals have been required the court has found in the clubs favour in almost every case.


Most councils now have realised that to refuse a license will result in an appeal that they will lose and therefore waste money on. The rationalisation of laws also resulted in many more late night pub openings making many old fashioned nightclubs redundant thereby creating a ready pool of vacant premises.

The combination of more rational councils and plenty of empty sites has resulted in a 2nd boom in club openings which are happening now at a quicker pace than even in 2001/2. There are currently around 250 clubs operating in the UK and at least 10 new clubs a month seem to be opening.
The result is that places like York and Crewe which had no clubs at all until 2006 now both have 2 with others in the pipeline. Solidly anti strip Manchester { at the same time the massage parlour capital of the UK} which previously only had 2 topless clubs which shut at 11pm now has 4 full nude club with late licenses and there are several others in the pipeline.

Central Birmingham now has 12 clubs, Leeds 8 with another on the way, Brighton 3 with 5 more apparently coming. Most of the UK’s rather run down seaside resorts like Morecombe, Skegness, Weston super Mare, Southport now have at least 1 club and new clubs have opened during 2006 in towns as small as Cannock, Tamworth, and Banbury.


There are several places in the UK {eg Newcastle, Blackpool} that are still topless only but the granting of full nude licenses in previous hold out places like Brighton and Manchester make the end of this restriction across the UK inevitable as soon as the first club decides to take it to appeal.


The above applies to England and Wales only as Scotland’s “Mickey Mcmouse” Parliament appointed a “task force” {consisting of hand picked Fem Nazis} on lap dancing clubs which came to a pre ordained conclusion that a “crackdown” was required. The draconian proposals {3ft rule, no cubicles, CCTV everywhere} have been watered down somewhat as the legislation has progressed but the uncertainty has resulted in a hiatus of club openings north of the border.
This latest boom has also resulted in a restart in the rapid growth of chains of clubs with a number now actively looking to buy existing clubs or start up new ones. The largest national chains remain Spearmint Rhino and FYEO, both have actually shed clubs since 2002 but 2006 saw a return to expansion. Spearmint has 5 clubs {London, Colnbrook, 2 in Birmingham, Sheffield} and during 2006 bought and converted the old Truffle club in Glasgow and opened a brand new club in Norwich.

It has a license to open in an old cinema in Brighton during 2007 and is actively looking for further clubs. FYEO also has 5 clubs { Bournemouth, Southampton, Croydon, 2 in Newcastle} and did not add to the chain in 2006 but already has 3 new clubs { London City Rd, Cardiff, and a 3rd in Newcastle} set to open in 2007 with others almost certain.

Rivals as the largest chain have emerged from 2 northern based chains Blue Box and Wildcats. Blue Box has 5 clubs currently {4 in Leeds, Liverpool} 2 of which opened in 2006 and they have stated that they expect to open 5 new clubs in 2007. Wildcats has 4 clubs {Wakefield, Blackpool, Harrogate, Barnsley} with 3 more {Leeds, Huddersfield, Birmingham} due to open within the next few months. In London Peter Stringfellow opened a 2nd club in 2006 and Secrets which already has 5 clubs in the capital has announced that a 6th club will open in 2007.

The thing that is vital for all this expansion is the availability of nubile young girls prepared to strip off in public and the lack of enough good looking girls is normally the reason given when any club closes. The recent boom in UK club openings has though coincided with the expansion of the EU first into places like Poland and the Czech Republic and more recently to Romania and Bulgaria bringing in many girls who can work here quite legally. Some clubs have targeted these girls as future staff and Blue Box has even set up an office in Prague to recruit girls for England.

My personal opinion is that the current boom will not last and that like Irish themed bars and Berni Inns the total market for clubs as they are at present is not large enough to sustain the current level of clubs. The better ones will survive but I expect closures to start exceeding openings by 2008.


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Author: Saxon is covering the European Striptease industry with monthly updates on or famous London Gossip, Interviews with industry people, articles and news from the world of striptease. We also offer a Striptalk forum, Industry Directory with Stripclubs and Agents and a Job board for the Striptease industry in Europe.