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December 6, 2010

Club Pussycat, Larry Flynt's Hustler Club closed tonight, to re-open Tuesday following fire on The Block

A massive fire on the city's hub of strip clubs has shut down business for the night on The Block.

At least two of the major clubs, Larry Flynt's Hustler Club and Club Pussycat, will be closed for the night.

The rest of the 18 or so strip joints in the neighborhood will likely remain closed as the Fire Department continued to fight a blaze that engulfed at least four buildings on the 400 block of East Baltimore Street. Several streets have also been closed

The Hustler Club, which is nearly in front of 404 E. Baltimore - where the fire is believed to have originated - even had smoke inside, said general manager Joe Stinelli.

He said the club will re-open tomorrow again. 

At Pussycat, there won't be cheap lap dances tonight or g-strings on display. But the eight dancers who were inside when the fire broke out were still waiting for their marching orders when I called this afternoon. 

"I'm still waiting for the Fire Department to call me back to find out what I'm doing with all these girls," said a man who works at the club but declined to give his name.

It will re-open tomorrow, he said.

Steve Yeager, a filmmaker who made "On the Block," a 1990 film set in the area*, said any damage is regrettable.

"I hate to see fire destroy even one of the buildings because there's only one block as it is," he said.  "If a building is destroyed, who knows if they'll be replaced."

Area clubs Norma Jean's, Two O'Clock Club, Club Chez Joey's, Flamingo Lounge, and Oasis Nightclub couldn't be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, strip clubs outside The Block watched the fire from their windows and TV sets with little interest, certain it wouldn't affect their business.

The Gentleman's Gold Club treats a "classy clientele," said Cara, the general manager who declined to give her last name, so The Block's customers aren't likely to flock there.

(Incidentally, they had their own small fire this afternoon. As downtown burned, the dumpster behind the club caught fire.  "It was just smoldering but it was still ablaze," Cara said this afternoon. "The firefighters' truck is still here.")

At Scores, business went on as usual, said general manager Sean Lewis. "I could see the fire from the lap dance area," he said. But he didn't expect a bump in foot traffic. 

"I think The Block has a different clientele than what we have," he said.

There will be a fire special tonight though: the hot wings they offer every Monday night.

(*"On the Block" is a feature film, not a documentary. This post has been corrected.)

Photo: Barbara Haddock Taylor, Baltimore Sun

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Posted by Erik Maza at 7:10 PM | | Comments (30)
Categories: News


Those clibs are full of crap , they get the exact same clientele as The Block and want people to think that they get only suit and tie clienetle, there is no suit and tie clientele in Balto.

Hustler is the only stand up place. The rest are not about entertainment, just ripping you off or worse. Let em burn.

"Larry Flyn's Hustler Club" in the title, and "there won't be cheap lap dances tonight or g-strings on display tonight" . . . I sort of feel like this article was written by a middle schooler?

If the four buildings are total losses and either need to be gutted or torn down, they cannot be replaced with adult entertainment on those lots.

That's the agreement with the city, so the Block will be getting even smaller now, which is good for downtown.

Hustler is hardly 'a stand-up place'. It is a corporate-minded strip club. Dance clubs shouldn't be run like fast-food restaurants.

Treats a classy clientele Pretentious aint it what a tool

The Block just shrunk by at least 1/3. Those clubs will never be renovated. BTW Gold Club is the pits -- they deserve their own fire.

GGC hardly serves a classy clientele. The place is tired and everyone knows it. The idea that Hustler doesn't get the SAME customers as Scores is utterly ridiculous.

It's clear that Hustler is the only relatively clean club on the block. Sure, you have dirty business going on wherever you go, but the sale of sexual favors is MUCH less common in such a corporate environment.

I'm sad to see any historical building burn, and I'm sympathetic toward the girls who made their livings in those clubs (however they chose to do so).

Oh this is great. Erik is targeting a completely new clientele to his weblog. How fun! Strippers and Pimps and Hos, Oh My!

I hope Sinnamon is okay!

Good riddance, the scum that hangs out on The Block should stick to route 40 anyway. The violence it brings downtown is ridiculous. Also: if you have to pay to see a woman naked-you're doing it wrong.

Anyone patronizing a strip club forfeits the descriptor "classy".

I wish all of these scummy places had burned to the ground, especially Hustler.

I worked at one of the clubs and people need to stop being so against this. This was a very sad time in the history of the block and baltimore. We will get stronger you have your job and work hard, this is our job and we work just as hard.

We need a federal grant to rebuild the Block.

You really need to proof-read, either that or your copywriters need to go back to school. The clubs can't be re-opening wednesday and also "re-open tomorrow again" if the article was written and posted on a Monday.

Maybe they can apply for some "stimulus" funds to rebuild the Block!

But seriously, seedy places like the Block can never be stamped or regulated out of existence. They've been around since the dawn of city life and they will (and should) just pop up elsewhere.

I'm really disappointed at some of the comments on this blog post. I'm a bartender at the Hustler club and I resent a lot of the insinuations that the people who work on The Block or are entertained there aren't classy or are seedy individuals. I'm a college-educated young woman who loves her job and has met wonderful people while working there. Yes, there are many sketchy things that happen on The Block, but don't stigmatize people just because they work in the adult entertainment industry.

And as for the idea that Scores or The Gold Club has a different clientele....HA!! I've met enough people who have worked there and hung out there to know that there club is just as skeezy as any strip joint could be.

@Erika- a person can pay for whatever he wants at The Flamingo, Scores, Gold Club or the Hustler Club. Every, and I mean every bar on the block solicits prostiution, period. You may not partake in these activities but it goes on everywhere on the block. I am sure that you love your job but I guarantee that you work with people that make a lot of money on the side. It is what it is.

@anon;) I don't deny that there are illicit ventures that take place inside any of these clubs. I've seen it myself. I simply take offense to the implication summed up by someone else's previous comment:

"Anyone patronizing a strip club forfeits the descriptor "classy"."

That is untrue of the customers, the dancers, and the staff. Yes, some individuals are downright trashy but I object to the idea that someone MUST be a bad person simply because they are in the adult entertainment industry.

Almost a decade ago (yikes), I did a story for The Diamondback (my college newspaper) about the seediest strip club on The Block. I can't quite remember which one. I talked to a dancer named Chance, who told me some of the girls in the club let guys "buy them out" for the night for $500. I'm not experienced in the world of prostitution, but lemme just say, you'd have to be desperate and/or blind to do that. I can't imagine what they'd cost now, with inflation and all.

Sam, funny you don't look two days over 27, Grandpa.

Jay, back in my day, we had to go to music stores and buy CDs -- for $20 each! You kids don't know how easy you got it these days.

@Sam I know someone who has 2 spots on da block. The charge is per song. So $100 bucks can probably get you laid if it's an extended remix

@ Sam, have you ever heard of a cassette player, son? Why, back in my day, a kid had to listen to "I Missed The Bus" before getting to "Warm It Up, Chris." Oh, the horror.

I'm a dancer downtown, worked in different clubs on & off of the block. U meet good & bad people anywhere u go. I'm shocked that people r on here commenting that the block is a pestilence because every guy knocking it has probably been a patron but will b the last to admit it! The bloggers, the editors, writers, fire-fighters, cops & lawyers. Strip off the white wig & stop judging people! Some people work in the adult industry to get through school & could not otherwise get another job because of background checks. A blemish on they're criminal record. Regardless of how petty the record, jobs are so scarce right now & hard to come by that even if I'm more able & qualified for a job they will still hire the guy w/o the record over me. Yes the block is drug ridden, yes its seedy but so are many other areas! But that doesn't make me a bad person nor everyone else down there. Some are just trying to make a legal, honest living & we just lost our jobs & a piece of history w/those buildings.

God bless, you "keep it real."

Way to go man! You are doing the right thing. We bartender people always find problems but there is no one to help us. Your website is so informative, and I think people will do really good if they go through your drink recipes guide audio. bartending school

This may be a Monday morning overreaction, but for the love of God, can you please block the "bartending school" IP address from commenting? Spam is annoying.

sign the petition for national stripper appreciaiton day here at this link on the care 2 petition site

After I got out of the Army, I worked with a private security firm on the Block. I met a tremendous amount of characters there, both good and bad. One night I saw (and helped) a stripper who walked naked out into the February night high on what I think was angel dust as people in suits, sweaters and backward baseball caps jeered and laughed at her. So I attend to agree with anon above. I quit after about 8 months of working down there after seeing WAY too much for one sane person to handle. Including watching a business man with a wedding band and ashes on his forehead for Ash Wednesday going from bar to bar. It looked like he had just left church...
I have said for years that the city should step in regulate this area like they do in Amsterdam and Atlanta's Underground. The city missed an opportunity to create a clean, adult tourism destination. Perhaps another raid is in order?

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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