The club Sophisticats was launched in a blaze of publicity by a gentleman who likes to be known as Catman in 1999.

The club Sophisticats was launched in a blaze of publicity { including a 6 part TV docusoap called ” Naked in Westminster” } by a gentleman who likes to be known as Catman in 1999. The concept was that the place would offer more of a dance show and less pure raunch than the other places then open and thus attract a classier less sleazy clientele. It seemed to flounder somewhat as competition from Spearmint, Secrets, and FYEO grew and closed for a while marking both a change of management and an extensive refurbishment. Catman now works for Playboy TV but the new owners seem to be following his same basic philosophy but with more emphasis on service.


The centre of pub stripping in London has been firmly in the East End of London for the past 25 years or more but the area is changing in character and as a result rising land values are resulting in considerable redevelopment. A number of former strip pubs { eg Lord Nelson, Crosby } have been turned into flats or trendy wine bars as the formerly derelict area of Hoxton has become the preferred hangout of the trendy set. The Nelson’s conversion into 7 tiny flats which start at over £200,000 ends an association with the strip industry which had lasted over 30 years. The other main pubs have so far remained unaffected though but one of the stalwarts { and my personal favourite } the White Horse in Shoreditch High St is going to be in the middle of a major new office development due to start next year. The pub itself will be unaffected though whether it’s character as a genuine high quality East End pub will change in it’s new surroundings remains to be seen.

The last time I was in the White Horse big John the landlord told me that Spearmint have been trying to buy some of the existing strip pubs with the idea of taking their ” sex encounter ” license and then transferring it to some much larger more Spearmint-esque premises in the area. It seems that Spearmint still want a City of London presence and are continuing to look for ways around council opposition to achieve this.

Spearmint’s John Gray has been subject to a TV Channel News 4 investigation concentrating on his dubious business activities in the USA. The gist of the report was that as an ex felon with a history of dodgy business dealings he should not be allowed entertainment licenses in the UK. On the report it said that attempts to gain licenses in Glasgow and Blackpool had been rejected , that he brags about non existent jets, and cast doubts on some of the claims made by Gray in a promotional video intended to help float the company on the London stock market. Forgotten politician Frank Dobson {loser in the elections for a London Mayor} was wheeled out to demand more control on entertainment licenses. There was nothing in the report I had not heard before although the reporter had visited the US presumably to produce new revelations and therefore had to behave as though all of this was new.

Out in West London 2 long standing strip pubs the Victoria in Hayes and the Halfway House in High Wycombe have both reportedly stopped having strippers with a view to increasing their food trade. Whether this will actually work remains to be seen and I would not rule out at least the Victoria eventually returning to the fold at some time in the future.

On a more positive note the Tease agency has opened a new venue in the Neasden { a borough much loved by magazine Private Eye !} shopping centre called The Zone. As far as I am aware this is the first strip place in Neasden, let’s hope it does well.

The new club in Docklands which opened in June is actually called Majingo’s not Mandingoes as I reported last month. Alan Whitehead remains as the Manager but a little bird tells me that this appointment may follow his usual pattern and not be a long term role.


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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.