September 17, 2000 09:44am
Strip Club Adds Drive-Through
by: Kristin Hays
(DELMONT, PA) -- You want pasties with that?
In a country that offers everything from drive-through burgers to drive-through church services, a strip club near Pittsburgh has something new for those who can't stop in for lap dances - drive-through nudity.
``When they leave, customers are falling out laughing,'' said Nick Fratangelo, owner of the Climax Gentleman's Club in Salem Township on an isolated stretch of U.S. Route 22, about 35 miles east of Pittsburgh.
Motorists pull around to a window at the back of the club, show proof they are 18 or older and pay $5 per minute. Then they pull up a few feet to a second window and watch a nude dancer for the amount of time they paid for.
A 26-year-old Climax stripper who would identify herself only by her stage name, Barbie, said most customers pay for two to three minutes, but one man paid $100 for 20 minutes.
``That can be tough,'' she said. ``After a while, you run out of things to do.''
Climax opened the drive-through in April after employees bounced around ideas to attract customers, Fratangelo said.
Bill Lyon, spokesman for the Free Speech Coalition, the Canoga Park, Calif.-based trade association for the adult entertainment industry, said Climax is likely the only strip club in the country to open a drive-through window.
``One of the many problems faced by adult clubs are problems of generally people attempting to say they have 'secondary effects,''' Lyon said, such as strippers inflaming customers enough to provoke sexual attacks.
``This is one way of really overcoming that,'' Lyon said. ``With this, there's no way you're going to touch that girl. It's pretty innovative.''
Township supervisor Ed Gieselman helped write a 1998 ordinance to regulate strip clubs. He called the drive-through an advertising gimmick designed to generate publicity.
``We objected to the sign (for the drive-through) being so close to the road, and they moved it back,'' he said. ``We have grammar school children going by there in school buses. Adult businesses should be a little obscure, I think, out of respect for the community.''
The club is next to a steep hill covered with thorny bushes that would slice the skin of anyone trying to get a free peek, and the window's design prevents such sneaky behavior.
A canopy with a wall against the hill blocks a straight-on view of the window, and partitions on each side of the window force motorists to drive directly in front of it to see the stripper.
Fratangelo said he has turned away ``maybe a couple'' of minors who tried to sneak through, and a few customers who tried to violate the no-camera rule faced bouncers who confiscated the film.
``They never got the flash off,'' Fratangelo said.
Barbie said the drive-through has proven popular with couples - particularly on Friday or Saturday nights - and for carloads of women.
``We also get a lot of college kids who can't really afford the door, but they can afford the window,'' she said. ``It's a novelty to women and they don't have to spend the $15 to $20 for admission to the club.''
Fratangelo said he can't yet say whether the window has been a financial boon for the club.
``We're only in its second quarter. After five quarters, we'll know. It certainly hasn't hurt any, I'll say that.''