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Justice does not come to strip clubs by taxi

Richard Abowitz writes on vegasblog.latimes.com: Last night a tourist asked me to take him to a topless bar. That and work are the only two reasons I go to topless bars. This tourist was particularly interesting because he is a medical doctor with a Ph.D. Like most tourists who want to experience the naughty side of Vegas he did not want an article about what he did on his vacation appearing on the Buffet for all to read.

So, his name does not appear here. Still, I found him the sort of interesting person that I am privileged enough to meet sometimes thanks to my job, and of all the tourists I have ever taken to a topless bar, he is the first one to call his wife to ask for permission. Justice and I thought that was sweet.

Justice was the reason we were going to a topless bar in the first place. I met him by chance with a colleague of mine from Las Vegas Weekly (where I am on staff), Justice, who writes the blog on being a stripper. We were interested in having Justice explain the rituals of the topless bar culture with her insider knowledge.

The recession has been hurting the clubs a lot. That was clear from every dancer I spoke to at the club. The cabs, however, seem to be doing fine. Justice requested that I leave the name of the club out of this item to help protect her anonymity since she was with us. But we were at one of the big and well-known tourist clubs behind the Strip that are all in the same general area. And it seems one thing that hasn’t changed is the double dipping taxi drivers do taking from the wallets of tourists. The topless bars help, of course.

Here is what happened: Justice and I came in my car, and our friend arrived from his hotel by taxi. We met in front of the club. This may seem a small point.

So small in fact, when we went to the cash register and I was asked if we took a taxi, I said, “No.” I did not think about our friend standing behind Justice and I. None of us were charged a cover. We sat down and ordered drinks.

Justice sees a club much differently than outsiders. The club we were at, she said, was well known for only letting a certain Barbie-doll-looking woman work the night shift. We were there before the shift change at 9. And in fact one of the dancers we spoke with wanted to stay until 11 but told us she was strictly ordered out by 9.

The drinks arrived. Then a manager appeared saying a taxi driver was claiming he had driven all three of us there. That was a flat-out lie. At once, our friend said that he had arrived alone by taxi. He was immediately charged $30 for having come by taxi. Justice and I were still in for free. I take this to mean that the despicable practice of paying taxi drivers a bounty for delivering customers by charging the customers who arrive by taxi the identical amount as a cover continues in Vegas. Of course, our friend also paid for his taxi. Maybe one day these little ways people scam tourists might, perhaps with this economic downturn, be reconsidered. Until then, ask to be dropped off next to a topless bar or demand the driver wave the meter charge if you go to a topless bar. If there are three of you in a cab going to a topless bar, that would be $90 for the driver. Does the driver also need your fare?

Actually, of the three of us only Justice bought a dance. And then we dropped our friend off at the Rio to see Penn & Teller for the next interesting thing to do on his vacation.

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