Strip clubs top to bottom

We admit it: Tampa's got a lotta strip joints. Here are some of the best.

click to enlarge POLITICAL POLE-STER: A dancer bends her way through the Miss Pole Champ USA competition at The Pink Pony in Tampa. - Shawn Alff
Shawn Alff
POLITICAL POLE-STER: A dancer bends her way through the Miss Pole Champ USA competition at The Pink Pony in Tampa.

Tampa may be known for its strip clubs, but if you don’t know where to go, you could end up being accosted by a one-armed stripper in her third trimester. Don’t be a victim of halfway houses doubling as nude clubs. Be the guy who knows where locals go to hang out with the hottest, and least clothed, dancers in Tampa.

2001 Odyssey

You may recognize the spaceship perched atop the club from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, or you may just recognize the spaceship as an icon of Tampa’s adult nightlife. The interior is small for being the most popular nude club in town, but the tight quarters offer more friction between you and the performers. For the RNC, 2001 will be open 24/7 the weekend before, and the days of the convention. Along with secluded “skybox” rooms, the management will also offer a side entrance with a covered tent for patrons wishing to protect their identity. Discounted covers and free dances in the spaceship for delegates with proper credentials. 2001 is also the flagship club for StripClubsOnline.com, which offers live streaming video of the dressing room and mainstage so you can see who is working before you arrive. 4.8 miles from the RNC. Full nude/No liquor. 18+. Plenty of parking in back. 2309 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa. 813-877-6406, 2001nude.com.

The Penthouse Club

The only topless bar in Tampa my wife actually enjoys. Living up to its billing as a gentlemen’s club, Penthouse offers a lounge atmosphere where you can relax with friends over drinks, eat a steakhouse meal, and of course enjoy some female company. For the RNC, Penthouse will offer shuttles and executive car services, seven private VIP areas for groups, and between 90-100 dancers each day. 5.7 miles from the RNC. Topless/Liquor. Limited parking. 1801 West Shore Blvd., Tampa. 813-288-9200, thepenthouseclubtampa.com.

Tampa Gold Club

Although the exterior looks like an immense warehouse, the interior is what most people hope for when they envision going to a strip club: several stages, a few bars, and a multitude of dancers. For the RNC, a handful of adult stars like Britney Amber, Tia Cyrus, and Lelu Love will be feature dancing at The Gold Club and Emperors Club just down the road. 5.1 miles from the RNC. Topless/Liquor. 21+. Plenty of parking. 6222 E. Adamo Drive, Tampa. 813-622-7899, tampagoldclub.com.

Mons Venus

The most celebrated club in Tampa because of its charismatic and outspoken owner, Joe Redner. Mons has the reputation for hosting the hottest dancers in town, and, as the legend goes, it is the birthplace of “the full-contact lap-dance.” With all of its acclaim, most visitors are shocked by how small it is and how lap dances are not performed in private rooms. 4.9 miles from the RNC. Full nude/No liquor. 18+. Limited parking. 2040 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa. 813-875-2762, MonsVenus.com.

Thee Dollhouse

Down the street from Penthouse, this gentlemen’s club is scheduled to host the most talked-about adult event connected to the RNC: Sarah Palin’s porn star doppelganger, Lisa Ann, will be dancing live the Friday and Saturday before the convention. While the club does not have a kitchen, it does offer a selection of another Tampa staple: cigars. 5.5 miles from the RNC. Topless/Liquor. 21+. 1010 Westshore Blvd., Tampa. 813-281-9389, TheeDollhouse.com.

Other notable clubs: Bliss Cabaret (3860 Ulmerton Road, Clearwater), Deja Vu Showgirls of Tampa (6805 E. Adamo Drive, Tampa), Emperors Gentlemen’s Club Tampa (5718 E. Adamo Drive, Tampa), Oz Gentlemen’s Club (13577 U.S. 19 N, Clearwater), The Pink Pony (4009 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Tampa); Scores Gentlemen’s Club (2310 N. Dale Mabry, Tampa); Check out a longer list of Tampa strip clubs at cltampa.com/sexandlove.

Tampa strip club tips

• Adult clubs are clustered in four main zones: gentlemen’s clubs near the upscale shopping mall International Plaza; popular nude clubs down the street from Raymond James Stadium (where the Bucs play) on Dale Mabry; large “warehouse” clubs on Adamo Drive; and hole-in-the-wall clubs in Ybor City.

• Most clubs have between a $10 to $20 cover, though inflation may set in during the RNC.

• Strategies for getting a discounted cover: Flash your RNC credentials, have a military ID, say you’re part of the Bubba Army, go during lunch or before peak hours, call ahead for shuttle services and VIP deals.

• In topless clubs, dancers are technically required to wear pasties, but you will not notice these thin strips of gauze unless you’re looking for them.

• Nude clubs do not serve alcohol, are 18+, and stay open as long as they are making money. Topless clubs serve alcohol, are 21+, close at 3 a.m., and have a stricter dress code.

• Nude clubs generally have a higher cover and often require you to buy a nonalcoholic beverage for the price of a cocktail. However, many nude clubs allow reentry for patrons who need to escape these “alcohol free zones” to recharge in their waiting limo or parked car.

• If you happen to run into Tampa Mayor Buckhorn at one of these establishments, tell him you’ve been assiduously observing the “six-foot rule.” He will laugh heartily.

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