This content is a crosspost from MyTriangleLife
I wasn’t thrilled when I saw that that The Cloakroom was opening across the street from my condo. While the former tenant Louis Rogue had been around so long it earned itself an icon on Google maps, I hoped that when it closed a retailer or restaurant that would bring life to the hulking building on the corner of 5th and K.
I also have pretty strong views about women having to earn a living by taking off their clothes. So I decided to set aside those opinions and check the place out from the perspective of a neighbor, and a marketing professional with a stake in a strong local economy.
The upper level seating area offers a view of the main stage, from above.
I visited the Cloakroom twice over the past three weeks. On the first Saturday night visit, I introduced myself as a curious neighbor. The staff welcomed us in (without a cover charge), escorted us to a table and offered us a drink. The vibe was low-key with one dancer performing a pole dance while customers watched from the sidelines. The crowd was a professional mix of men, and a handful of women.
We went a second time the Saturday before the Oct. 5, 2013 grand opening, and the place was packed. We sat in an upper level room reserved for customers to mingle with the dancers. The staff brought out a great bottle of wine for our group and save for the dancers it felt like any upscale club.
The customers that evening ranged from 20-somethings in teeny tiny dresses to 50-plus men with those long, flowing gray locks of and giant gold cufflinks. I met one man, a native Italy, with a 12-inch stack of one dollar bills that he planned to toss over the railing of the VIP section down upon the main stage.
Dancers mingled with—and sometimes sat down for exclusive chats—with customers. In the VIP room, the dancers were dressed so it felt more like being at a cocktail party in Vegas than at a gentleman’s club.
I interviewed one of the dancers (she asked not to be named) who said that the working conditions overall were good for the women. The club is clean, well managed and the dancers feel safe from customers who might try to get a little too close. Security is tight, which is good for the staff–and for neighbors.
Louis Rogue has been in the neighborhood longer than most of us, and looks like its here to stay under The Cloakroom, which has a steady flow of traffic 7 nights a week and soon will open for lunch.
I am glad I experienced it for myself as opposed to making assumptions. I hope that they do well, make lots of money and bring a lot of patrons to support Mount Vernon Triangle’s growth, and give back to the nonprofits in the neighborhood.
(Update: I see that they are donating food to a social event at K at City Vista next week—Thanks Cloakroom; you are already appearing to be a good for the neighborhood.)
The Cloakroom is open 7 days a week with the doors open at 7 p.m. They will begin serving lunch Oct. 21. Learn more about The Cloakroom.