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Vic Mackey

Houston is the Home of Texas' First Drive-Thru Strip Club

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Posted (edited)

Would you like a side of glitter with that burger?

Thanks to COVID-19, Houston is home to Texas’ first drive-thru strip club.


If you're a fan of exotic dancers and eating in your car then Vivid Gentleman's Club is probably your kind of pandemic paradise. The struggling Houston-based strip club now has a drive-thru.

Yup, it’s Burger King, only there’s dancing involved.

Black metal barricades separate the dancers from the cars, and dollar bills litter the asphalt between the white siding of the tent walls. The purplish-blue lighting casts a familiar (to club-goers) ambience over the scene, but obvious reminders of the pandemic remain; some of the performers are in face masks.

This might seem like a gimmick but it’s serious business. Ever since Gov. Abbot issued an executive order directing all bars and restaurants to shut down way back in March, hundreds of thousands of bartenders, servers and entertainers have been out of work, including the staff at Vivid Gentlemen’s Club.

While restaurants are now allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity and bars are still currently shut down with the option of to-go sales, strip clubs fall in a gray area between bars and restaurants, depending on the business. In an effort dedicated to supporting their staff, Vivid Gentlemen’s Club decided to take their shot at the drive-thru experience by becoming Texas’ first drive-thru strip club.

I’m assuming every red-blooded American is familiar with the drive-thru experience: you order your food, you wait in a line, you receive said food and you move on with your life. Vivid has managed to replicate this experience… with a few notable differences.

The menu is definitely recognizable to anyone that has visited a strip club — nachos, burgers, chicken sandwiches, jalapeno poppers, all the usual suspects. There is an “authentic Italian” pizza that is “handmade in Italy,” according to the menu. Alcohol also makes an appearance, and customers can pick from six-packs of beer all the way up to entire bottles of Fireball.

Of course, the only way through this drive-thru is via the giant popup white tent, which resembles the tents where COVID-19 tests are conducted.

Once inside the tent, every car has a two-song limit so “you’re able to get some live entertainment” while your food is being prepared, according to general manager Gino DiLollo.

The “live entertainment” are masked and unmasked performers dancing from behind steel barricades.

The concept is not entirely original. The  Lucky Devil Lounge in Portland was the first to implement the drive-thru. But it is still a risky way to throw a lifeline to employees in an industry some may not consider at the moment, or look down on.

“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”, explains DiLollo, “Because to keep us open, we just can’t do the numbers. We’re not making any money. This is purely for the staff.”

Right now, Vivid is the only strip club in Texas offering a drive-thru. All other strip clubs either have staff furloughed or are simply not able to offer contracts to the entertainers.

“It has definitely put a different perspective on my work field,” Jada, an entertainer at the club, says. “Luckily with the club being open I’m still able to come into work and get money and take care of my bills.”

From the beginning, DiLollo and the company have maintained that this is what makes Vivid an essential business.

“Here’s the thing, I think we’re essential to the people we employ here to support their kids and whatnot. They rely on us, this is how they make a living. I do think we’re essential,” DiLollo explains.

Jada adds, “I definitely think it’s essential. Everybody needs entertainment, everybody needs their hair done, everyone needs something. And I feel like this is where that comes into play. And we’re doing a good job of keeping it within the limits of what we can do.”

But just how long will a drive-thru strip club even be necessary? Without a timeline on how long the pandemic will continue, a drive-thru just might be an inevitable addition for all strip clubs.

In other words, in order for strip clubs like Vivid to stay in operation, it seems they will either need to adjust to and expand the drive-thru concept or potentially change the way they operate business entirely.

One option is for clubs to begin functioning more like a restaurant, something Vivid is already exploring in keeping up with their roll-with-the-punches attitude.

“We’re trying to get a restaurant license so we can open up as a restaurant and then we’re able to have people in here," DiLollo said. "Instead of operating more like a bar, we would operate more like a restaurant. We’re trying to adapt to the times and whatever cards we’re being dealt.”


Edited by Vic Mackey

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They are a couple months behind Oregon.



“What the hell am I going to do?” That’s the question dancers at Portland’s Lucky Devil Lounge asked when the strip club was forced to shut down on March 16 due to Oregon’s stay-at-home order. Perhaps no other type of small business has been hit harder by social-distancing guidelines than one that typically involves close contact between employees and patrons. The clubs are ineligible for assistance from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program, which asks applicants to confirm they do not “present live performances of a prurient sexual nature.” And though Lucky Devil is beloved by many of its dancers, who say it is an environment where they are treated like family, it’s still a strip club: Dancers don’t make an hourly wage but rely on tips. They don’t have benefits or paid time off. They are gig workers....


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At certain point you start thinking about a new line of work, right? 

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I can't wait to go for lunch when it's 98 degrees out and the ladies are really glistening!

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A lap dance is so much better when the stripper is coughin.

Well, I find it's quite a thrill
When she’s contagious to me and ill.
Yes, a lap dance is so much better when the stripper is coughin

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