Joe Redner, the 80-year-old owner of legendary Tampa strip club Mons Venus, already knows this will be unlike any other Super Bowl Week that he’s lived through as an all-nude club owner. He told the Associated Press that while in 2009 people were handing his staff $50 bills to get inside the club, this week dancers will be wearing masks as they twirl around poles.
“It’s slow. People aren’t going out. We are still doing business and we’re still surviving,” Redner told the AP. The strip club titan further told Axios that he has no intention of being at the club on Super Bowl Sunday.
“I don’t get excited about games. I’m sorry. I get excited about the money. I hope the Bucs win, but it’s all relative,” Redner said.
Tampa strip clubs have a few things working against them this week. While it’s nice to have the home team playing in the Super Bowl at Raymond James Stadium, just a 1.2-mile walk from Mons Venus, it means fewer out-of-town fans looking for entertainment. Throw in the fact that there will be just 22,000 fans in the stands and somewhere around 7,000 of them will be healthcare workers, and you have a real problem for strip club owners who get excited about money.
Further issues this week for Tampa strip club owners:
• Fewer celebrities in town throwing around money
• Barely any NFL media nerds in town throwing around money
• Fewer event production guys looking to blow off some work stress
• Very few NFL stars in town to catch the game and push products on Radio Row before hitting up a strip club
• Requiring customers to wear masks
Still, Redner and the dancers will make some money. They’ll survive. It just won’t be the haul they were looking forward to a year ago when attention turned from Super Bowl LIV in Miami to Super Bowl LV.
Mons Venus announced this week that the club will have expanded hours starting Wednesday. In order to catch some of the after-the-bars-close crowd, Redner will be open until 6 a.m. through the Super Bowl. That’s right, 2 p.m. to 6 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Redner has money to make. You might even be able to get a plate of eggs and a dance before you head off to work for the day.
As for the dancing itself, COVID sure has changed the game.
“It’s been an adjustment. Now I face away from the customer a majority of the time,” Scores Tampa dancer Elizabeth Reed told the Associated Press.