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Not to Worry: Tampa Bay's Famed Strip Clubs are Up for the Challenge of Super Bowl Weekend

Source - Across Tampa Bay, owners of about 40 strip clubs are making preparations for what was supposed to be the biggest party of the year. They know how to handle Gasparilla crowds and fans during hockey, baseball and football seasons. They’re skilled at luring big-name acts, like the time [club owner Warren] Colazzo booked Stormy Daniels to “Make Thee Dollhouse Great Again” in 2018. Some have been known to whip up grand diversions whenever the nation’s eyes settle on Tampa, like when Tampa Gold Room and 2001 Odyssey installed private entrances to sneak politicians inside during the 2012 Republican National Convention. 

But no one knows exactly what to expect for America’s first pandemic Super Bowl.

“We are scratching our heads,” said Don Kleinhans, president of 2001 Inc and owner of 2001 Odyssey. “You have an impossible task of guessing what size the crowd will be.” ...

“Three months before, you’d have the bands booked, the DJs booked, your catering arranged,” Kleinhans said.

Daily meetings have revolved around the same questions: How much inventory, stock and staffing do we need? What if no one comes? What if they do and we don’t have enough? 

“The last thing you want to do is order a bunch of stuff and have it not happen,” he said. “You’re driving blind.” ...

“It’s fantastic to see that that’s a historic event with a hometown Super Bowl team,” he said. “But I think it’s going to greatly decrease the economic impact overall to Tampa Bay.” ...

Further down Dale Mabry, the famed Mons Venus plans to stay open 24 hours a day. Club owner Joe Redner said 50 to 60 dancers will work the night of the Super Bowl, compared to the usual 20 to 25.

Some competitors around town have installed machines to check temperatures or detect if someone is wearing a mask. ... Mons Venus now has hand-cleaning stations and UV lights in their air conditioning systems. All staff and visitors must mask up.

And you think you've got it tough. 

Tampa Bay is one of the great tittay bar capitals of our nation. The Super Bowl weekend is ... well ... like the Super Bowl of the exotic dance industry. Hitting the nudie bars is as much a Super Bowl tradition in the host cities as price gouging, pickpocketing and Warren Sapp assaulting prostitutes. 

But I think we're all guilty of overlooking the logistics of running a strip joint. And the effects all this uncertainty is having on Tampa's clubs. There's just so much to consider and no right answers. It's like planning a battle and not knowing what size army you'll be facing. How many men do you send? How many weapons, rounds of ammo, medical supplies, meals, shovels and radios will they need? The quantitative analysis needed to operate a pole palace at peak efficiency is mind boggling in the best of times. When you can take a reasonable guess as to how many asses you'll have in the seats. Now? It's damned near impossible. It's trying to solve for X with an equation that is all variables. 

Which is why I'm glad the game is in Tampa. Because few other cities (Las Vegas comes to mind) are so well equipped to handle such a task. Strip clubs are a part of what makes Tampa Bay Tampa Bay. It's ingrained in the city's culture. If anyone can deal with these issues, it's the Bay. I happen to believe in The Great Man Theory of history. Among other things, it states that the natural forces of history tend to put the right people in the right place at the right time to affect events in a positive way. And that these men have marked the upward trajectory of civilization over the millennia. And I truly believe that Warren Callazzo, Don Kleinhans, Joe Redner and other club owners are just the men we need at this critical moment. 

So to all of you heading down there for the weekend, fear not. Kick back in your private jet, sip your gin & tonic, get ready to whip out that expense account credit card and relax. The smell of spilled beer, dried jizz, discount store perfume and despair will soon be filling the air once again. Because you and the time honored tradition of slipping dollar bills into a sex worker's garter on the first weekend in February are in the best possible hands. Salute to you, Tampa Bay.