What to make of it when a “gentlemen’s club” wins the Xtra Best 2008 award for best strip club for women? General manager Erik Zvanitajs says it’s the environment at The Brass Rail that appeals to female patrons.
“It’s not seedy,” he says. “You don’t walk out the door and feel like you have to have a shower when you leave here. It’s good clean fun.”
According to Zvanitajs female patrons often remark on how beautiful the dancers are and that they like the continuous stage show. Milo, one of the regular dancers at The Brass Rail, agrees that it’s the gorgeous dancers that attract women to the club. She’s right — they’re pretty hot — but I can’t help but think there’s more to it than that.
Another factor may be the fact that the club’s second-floor space, the Upper Brass, has played host to strip nights organized by the Toronto Women’s Bathhouse Committee, which has introduced queer women to the space who might not have ventured in otherwise.
Zvanitajs says The Brass Rail has a strong focus on customer service and that when women show up to watch the show. “We’ll get them a good table in proximity to the stage,” says Zvanitajs, adding, “Sometimes they request to be away from it because they’re shy. It might be their first time. So we put them in the back.”
Although some of the dancers at The Brass Rail don’t dance for girls, there’s no shortage of dancers who will. “Being subcontractors, if [a dancer] doesn’t like to dance for girls, it’s her right to say, ‘No, thank you,'” says Zvanitajs, adding that dancers who want to dance for women are quick to introduce themselves to female patrons.
Tianna, another regular dancer, says the confidence of the women working in the club plays a big part in the club’s popularity with female patrons. “A lot of girls are intimidated by other women in a group,” she says. “I think a lot of girls here are comfortable enough to talk to them.”
Zvanitajs says he’s noticed an increase in the number of women visiting the club. “During Pride Week this year, on the Saturday when they do the lesbian parade, our bar was full all day. You wouldn’t expect to go into The Brass Rail and see girls here to see girls but it’s not uncommon. It’s becoming more and more the norm. The city’s changing.”
I say embrace the change and, if she’s willing, embrace a hot stripper too.