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One year later, we're still here. Contributions from our readers are a crucial lifeline for The Stranger as we write our new future. We're calling up legislators, breaking down what's going on at Seattle City Hall, and covering the region's enduring arts scenes thanks to assistance from readers like you.

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If The Stranger is an essential part of your life, please make a one-time or recurring contribution today to ensure we're here to serve you tomorrow. O ccasionally—say, on summer nights when the rooftop bars and sidewalk patios are hot enough to cook on—all you want to do is sit in the air-conditioning, drink an icy cold vodka tonic, and look at some titties and ass. Well, if you live in Seattle, good luck with that, because you cannot legally purchase alcohol at strip clubs in Washington State.

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You can look, but you can't drink, and this law, according to a of exotic dancers I spoke to, makes their jobs harder, less lucrative, and more dangerous. It doesn't protect us. This was echoed by Aubrey, another longtime dancer in Seattle. Both Angelique and Aubrey have worked in clubs across the United States, and they say that Seattle is one of the most difficult and least lucrative cities to be a stripper, in no small part thanks to the statewide ban on alcohol sales.

In other cities and states, strip clubs make the bulk of their money from the sale of booze.

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In Seattle, clubs make their money off the dancers themselves, who have to pay for the privilege of working. The lack of alcohol also changes the vibe. Unlike in, say, Portland—where strip clubs are allowed to serve booze and food, and where female customers and co-ed groups aren't an uncommon sight—Seattle strip clubs tend to attract mostly men on their own. You effectively cancel out the casual night-out-with-the-boys customers. Shiara, a former dancer who has worked at 30 different clubs in seven states, said the same.

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The pressure to do things you're not comfortable with is way higher. When you tell customers you don't serve booze, they say, 'Well, what do you serve?

Seattle is one of the most difficult and least lucrative cities to be a stripper

Some dancers are trying to change this. Angelique, Aubrey, and Shiara are part of a coalition of dancers who worked with lawmakers and the labor rights group Working Washington this spring to pass a law to enhance protections for dancers. In addition to mandating panic buttons in private rooms, the law will also require trainings for dancers on their rights and allow clubs to keep blacklists of bad customers.

The bill, which Governor Jay Inslee ed into law in May, will also establish an adult entertainer advisory committee within the Office of Labor Standards, half of which will be made up of dancers. It may well have been the first law in the state made for exotic dancers by exotic dancers themselves. But while this bill easily passed through the legislature, when it comes to allowing alcohol in strip clubs, lawmakers have been notably unwilling to pick up this fight.

Most of them don't even know the law exists. She said she also spoke with several members of the Seattle City Council and they were also unaware.

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Still, the prohibition on alcohol isn't bad for everyone in the business. They do not want oversight. Allowing alcohol sales would also lead to more competition. This allows established companies like Deja Vu to maintain control in the area. Deja Vu did not respond to multiple requests for comment, but clubs do have a history of being politically active when it benefits them.

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Infor instance, Seattle passed a law requiring dancers to stay a minimum of four feet away from customers. This was, clearly, bad for business no one wants to use binoculars at a strip cluband so club owners mobilized to get a referendum overturning the law on the ballot.

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It worked. The next year, Seattle voters opted to overturn the rule, and the referendum campaign was funded by the strip clubs themselves.

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Not long ago, even in alcohol-free Seattle, dancers could make a decent living. Shiara, who retired from dancing inmade so much money that she invested in real estate and now owns rental properties around the city. But those earning days are over. The industry is gradually dying, in part because men have plenty of other options to interact with naked women. There are porn delivery devices in their pockets. There are cam girls they can speak to from the comfort of their home.

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There are hookup apps and online dating. And with all these other avenues—and without alcohol to entice more customers—the audience is just drying up. The ratio of customers to dancers is now unsustainable, dancers say, and it is increasingly competitive over the few customers left. Without alcohol sales as a revenue for the clubs, they're making their money on the backs of the women who work for them. It's not the s anymore. It's not that entertaining to come sit in a dark room and drink overpriced soda and get a girl in your lap. Customers tell me all the time: 'The clubs here are boring. And yet, the industry could change.

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It has done it before. And with the success of the stripper protection bill, dancers have demonstrated their ability to make policy changes themselves.

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They fought for their rights, and they won. But for this to happen again—for antiquated, counterproductive laws like the alcohol ban to be overturned—they're going to need lawmakers, both locally and statewide, who are willing to stand up for the right to both look at titties and drink. Katie Herzog is a staff writer at The Strangerwhere she covers and comments on media, politics, pop culture, social movements, weed, climate change, free speech, French bulldogs, gender, sex, emotional support animals, airlines, Amazon, Donald Trump, Twitter mobs, internet hoaxes, wildfires, orcas, bike shares, Alex Jones, lesbians, the cost of living, conspiracy theories, moral panics, natural disasters, cults, the left, the right, the middle, podcasts, Jordan Peterson, Fox News, and, occasionally, Seattle.

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We're so grateful for your support. Features Jun 5, Pete Gamlen. Support The Stranger More than ever, we depend on your support to help fund our coverage. Support local, independent media with a one-time or recurring contribution.

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Thank you! The Stranger depends on your continuing support to provide articles like this one. In return, we pledge our ongoing commitment to truthful, progressive journalism and serving our community. Thank you—you are appreciated! Follow More articles. Katie Herzog Katie Herzog is a staff writer at The Strangerwhere she covers and comments on media, politics, pop culture, social movements, weed, climate change, free speech, French bulldogs, gender, sex, emotional support animals, airlines, Amazon, Donald Trump, Twitter mobs, internet hoaxes, wildfires, orcas, bike shares, Alex Jones, lesbians, the cost of living, conspiracy theories, moral panics, natural disasters, cults, the left, the right, the middle, podcasts, Jordan Peterson, Fox News, and, occasionally, Seattle.

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