Each year, without fail, the mainstream media dips its toes in the “adult” waters as it offers coverage of the strip clubs in the Super Bowl host city. Despite the fact that COVID is still a very real issue for those who live in Tampa, as well as those visiting the city from out of state, the city’s strip clubs may, in fact, thrive during Super Bowl week.

Unlike just about every other city in the nation, Tampa’s adult nightclubs can legally operate at 100% capacity — if they want to, that is. Some will, some won’t, but all of those owners/operators interviewed recently for a piece in the Tampa Bay Times are hopeful that the “big game” — which features Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs versus Tom Brady and the home-town Tampa Bay Buccaneers (the first time the home team’s stadium plays host to the Super Bowl) — and will bring big profits at a time where clubs, entertainers and staff sorely need it.

“Every day is the Super Bowl for us,” said Thee Dollhouse Tampa’s working partner Warren Colazzo in that Times piece. “We want to be the best.”

Thee Dollhouse Tampa's Warren Colazzo
Thee Dollhouse Tampa’s Warren Colazzo

Colazzo states that he started warming up for the Super Bowl six months ago, starting with a state-of-the-art sound & lighting upgrade including a new 250-inch video wall. Colazzo told the Times that he plans to beef up security both inside and outside his club to help contend with COVID-related issues.

“The extra security is just to make a lot of these people from out of town understand how important it is that they wear a mask. You know, follow the guidelines,” Colazzo said. “If they’re not following the rules outside, they’re not coming inside.”

As the Times piece states, the clubs don’t know “exactly what to expect for America’s first pandemic Super Bowl.

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

In the past, adult nightclubs in the Super Bowl city would have entertainers from across the country flocking in to work those high-dollar nights in packed clubs, as celebrities, pro athletes and out-of-town guests would help drive profits into the hundreds of thousands. But in this COVID year, no one seems to know what to expect.

For example, Kleinhans opened Riveters Tampa, a bar and restaurant right next to 2001 Odyssey. Regular staff 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?

2001's Don Kleinhans
2001’s Don Kleinhans

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

And, not surprisingly, Kleinhans has mixed feelings about seeing the home-town Bucs in the Super Bowl.

“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.”

It was a pleasant change of pace to see that the Times article suggests that the area’s clubs are trained in, and concerned about, spotting human trafficking.

“We’re going to have to raise the price because we just can’t pack people in there. I really don’t want to anyway because I don’t want to put my employees that have to make a living in danger.” – Mons Venus’ Joe Redner on not allowing guests to pack the club at 100% capacity during Super Bowl week

“With Super Bowl in Miami last year, I think the state really started getting it together to help educate all of these different industries,” stated Dotti Groover-Skipper, who served as the Attorney General’s appointee to the statewide Council on Human Trafficking and founded a strip club aid ministry called HeartDance Foundation.

For his part, Colazzo tells the Times that Thee Dollhouse interviews dancers carefully, looking for signs of fearfulness. They copy all dancers’ IDs and take fingerprints. “It’s like going through work with a security company,” he said.

Mons Venus' Joe Redner
Mons Venus’ Joe Redner

The legendary Mons Venus plans to stay open 24 hours a day through this Super Bowl week, noting that 50 to 60 dancers will work the night of the Super Bowl, compared to the usual 20 to 25. When clubs were shut down in the spring, Mons owner and ED Hall of Famer Joe Redner said he made several club upgrades including hand-cleaning stations and UV lights in their air conditioning systems. All staff and visitors must wear masks.

“We have [COVID-related] rules and they’re strictly followed or we call the police for you,” Redner, a cancer survivor, told the Times. “We just don’t put up with that crap.”

Though Redner can legally raise the capacity of Mons to 100 percent, he has decided not to. “We’re going to have to raise the price because we just can’t pack people in there,” he told the Times. “I really don’t want to anyway because I don’t want to put my employees that have to make a living in danger.”

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For over 25 years, ED Publisher Dave Manack has been the Editor-In-Chief for ED Publications, the national business magazine (ED Magazine), convention (Gentlemen's Club EXPO) and websites for the multi-billion-dollar gentlemen's club (strip club) industry. Dave coordinates and produces several events at the Annual EXPO including the seminars and the ED's Awards Show, and is also the founder and producer of the EDI (Exotic Dancer Invitational) national contest for the industry's top "showgirl" entertainers.