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How to Tell if You’re Being Ripped Off at the Strip Club

Updated: Jan 12, 2023

Useful tips about the strip club industry and how to protect yourself

It is hard to resist the Strip Club. After a few drinks, there’s nothing quite like taking in a little exotic dancing. Of course, after a few drinks you’re also far more likely to open your wallet. If you're not careful, lap dances and bottle service will leave your bank account totally empty. Even if you hit the strip club stone sober, you’re going to spend money. If you’re drunk enough, horny enough, and dumb enough, you'll make a number of decisions that you’ll regret in the morning (and again when your credit card bill arrives.) If you're smart and observant, however, you can keep the damage to a minimum. Stock up on singles and keep your credit card at home, here's what you need to know before you get taken like a chump at the strip club.

1. You Didn’t Ask About The Drink Minimum

A beloved trick of club promoters and strip club owners is to wave a cover charge, but institute an inflated drink minimum. The most egregious example of this I've seen is at strip clubs in L.A. that don't even serve drinks, but offer mandatory $10 Coca-Colas. Just because you have a flier that waves the cover doesn't mean they won't get $20 out of you just for walking through the door.

2. You Threw Down Your Credit Card

The good thing about cash is it runs out. Even if you're sober, do your best to deal only in cash when you hit the club. Yes, if you use credit and not debit, you can dispute charges, but many of the charges at a strip club are, shall we say, subjective. If you get charged for lumber you didn't buy at the hardware store, that's an easy fix. Trying to parse out what dances you bought and for what duration isn't going to be easy. If the issue goes to court, be aware of the fact that judges aren't exactly known for their sympathy towards strip club customers. The best way not to wake up to a bank-breaking credit card bill is to leave your plastic at home.

3. You Use The Strip Club’s ATMs

Bring your cash with you. When the cash is gone, you're night is over. Not only will opening yourself up to the ATM mean you wake up having spent far more than you planned, but the surcharges alone can break the bank. It's not uncommon to see a $15 surcharge at a strip club ATM. If you're going to throw money away, throw it away on to the stage, not into a machine.

4.You Didn’t Watch Them Open the Bottle

Bottle service in general is designed for two types of people: fools and guys who get off on conspicuous consumption. If you fall into one of these categories, do yourself a favor and watch them open the bottle. This is true of any bar, titty or otherwise, but since distractions abound at the strip club, it is far easier to get slipped subpar alcohol when you're watching the pole.

5.You’re Drinking Mixed Drinks, Not Beer

By the same logic, you can expect mixed drinks to be watered down at strip clubs as well. If you order a bottled beer, you know exactly what you're getting. Not that strip clubs tend to have a great beer selection. They have Bud Light. At least you know that you'll be getting drunk instead of tossing back pricey, watered-down drinks without getting so much as a buzz.

6.You’re the Rabbit

The ladies dancing get more salacious as more cheddar is thrown their way. Their going to save their best moves for about three-quarters of the way through their routine. A lady is likely to deny the audience her expert moves if the singles aren't flowing generously. As a result, somebody at the bar usually tosses out singles to get the party started. Do what you can to avoid being the first guy to throw down because that guy always gets the least attention.

7.You Pay For Dances By the Song

Many strip clubs in higher dancer-per-capita cities are moving to a timer instead the per-song lap dance model. This is due to complaints from customers who expected "Free Bird" but ended up with a two-minute track. When possible, opt for the timer. Also, be aware of how close it is to closing time because, just like in middle school, when the light comes on, the dance is over.

8. You’re Not Paying for Lap Dances Up Front

Some less reputable establishments allow you to pay for a lap dance once it is over. Though this may seem like a good idea, this approach is never going to shake out in your favor. The dancer is going to do all she can to convince to you take on "extra charges," and once the dance begins, it is no longer a negotiation. When you're finished, the dancer will tell you what she believes to be the damage, and then the only negotiation left is whether you end up with an empty wallet or broken knee caps.

9. You Didn’t Double Check Your Cash

Before you dole out cash for lap dances or throw singles out on the pole, check your wallet. Know exactly how much cash you have. Better yet, physically separate different bills from one another. I have heard horror stories of drunken men paying twice their bill for dances and of men not receiving any change. If you were being paid to grind up on some dude, would you be in hurry to fix his accounting errors? If you're too impaired to count to $50 correctly, have a buddy double check your total before you drop cash on a dance.

10. You Didn’t Double Check Your Tab

You're probably used to gratuity being added at restaurants, especially with large parties, but you may not be used to bartenders adding a gratuity. If you read through strip club Yelp reviews, you don't have to look to hard to find a customer complaining about being fleeced out of an additional tip. You'll be tipping enough over the course of the night. There's no need to pay an additional surcharge.

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