Friday Question of the Day

Ok, a number of people have recently emailed me about the strip club The House on Georgia Ave. near Otis and Newton.  There is a lot of concern about the new charter school opening up right near by the strip club.   In addition people who are thinking of moving nearby are very concerned about living near a strip club.  So the first question is:  Is there any chance that the strip club will be closed due to the charter school opening?  Secondly, how much of a factor is it in moving to one of the nearby streets?  I had a buddy of mine who lived on Newton about a half a block away and neither he nor his wife encountered any drunk/rowdy patrons.  So, basically, is The House pretty self contained or is it a menace to the neighborhood?

39 Comment

  • I live on Newton, as well. I can honestly say after months of living here, I have never had an encounter with any of the patrons or employees, for that matter. I thought there might be increased activity on Fri and Sat nights, but I haven’t found that to be the case…even through the summer. It appears they are pretty self-contained.

  • One time my wife walked by and some one offered to “butter her toast” So they seem like nice folks

  • I’ve been IN the House (Mr. Princess took me because I had never been to a strip club and wanted to see what all the hype was about). Aside from the verrrry nekkid women (Stupid me, I thought they had to keep some part of their body covered!), it’s not that rowdy a crowd and they seem to have a zero tolerance policy for misbehavior.

  • I got solicited once, but it was fairly funny. No real problems, and the school and the strip club honestly have pretty different hours.

    I doubt the strip club will be there in the next few years as the neighborhood gentrifies.

  • Honestly, worse to that would be the AMOUNT of liquor stores in that stretch. It not so much the stores themselves, but we tend to have a lot of alley drunks due to these. That said, even they are not that bad.

  • My problem is with the Porn Fairy of Georgia Avenue, who puts porn ads on windows of parked cars every night near the House. Clearly it’s some sort of cross marketing thing with other strip clubs in the burbs that I presume share ownership.

    It’s a nuisance, results in litter, and it’s so, so ghetto to have to explain to friends who I bring up to visit Temperance or Petworth in general at night. Is it legal?

  • I used to live in Glover Park. The strip clubs over there didn’t bother anyone except for one or two big fights, which could have happened anywhere.

  • “Is there any chance that the strip club will be closed due to the charter school opening?”

    While strip clubs are not my thing, seriously? The real question should be, why on earth would someone decide to open a charter school down the street from a strip club and a bunch of bars and liquor stores? This type of establishment is legal. Nobody wants one in their back yard, but they were here first. This is gentrification at it’s worst: you move to a place that’s got some businesses that are unsavory (in your opinion), and immediately start bitching about them. Well, why the hell did you move there? It’s Mt. Pleasant whining all over again.

  • In the past, there have been instances of clientele getting shot or stabbed in the vicinity of the club. This led to a concerted effort to try to get the place shut down. Those efforts failed, but since then, they’ve had to abide by some fairly rigorous public safety standards. From what I can tell, they’ve been good citizens as of late, mainly because they know that Jim Graham is looking for any excuse to shut them down.

  • We have lived around the corner from the House (formerly known as the Penthouse) since April and walk our dog past there all the time without incident. The only concern is less parking on our block on Friday and Saturday nights but we can still find a spot. The porn fairy ads have really tapered off recently and incidentally, they are NOT for the House but a strip club somewhere in MD. We haven’t seen him recently but one of the bouncers Ray is a really nice guy. Once upon a time they used to have a kind of open house on Easter and families would bring in their kids. I heard that doesn’t happen anymore. If they suddenly went out of business I wouldn’t cry but overall it’s not too bad. Oh and I’m pretty sure they aren’t open during school hours.

  • lol @ “Porn Fairy”. That’s also my only complaint about the house, though it’s kind of amusing in a bizarre way too.

  • In response to Jaime, I’m guessing the school moved here for the same reason that most newcomers come to this neighborhood: affordability. But I think that your implication that it’s only the newcomers that “whine” about places like the House is mistaken. Many of the strongest advocates for change along GA Ave. have been the old timers that have lived here for decades. You don’t have to be young an upwardly mobile to want to improve the community you live in.

  • Don’t forget that the Mission is still opening up on this stretch as well, which will be releasing a couple hundred crack heads out on Ga Avenue probably right around the time classes start! Yay!

  • @dcdude: I don’t know a lot about the politics on Ga. Ave specifically, but I lived in Mt. Pleasant from 1996 to 2005 and felt this sort of thing a lot, and almost entirely from people moving there within the last 5 years I lived there. Complaints about every aspect of living in an urban environment – crime, parking, noise, certain businesses, etc.

    But I do agree wholeheartedly with your last comment. The issue for me is not at all that of wanting to improve a community. Rather it is the expectation that it will magically do so on it’s own, as if in reaction to your lofty arrival in the hood.

    In the end strip clubs, liquor stores, and bars are legal businesses and I frequent 2 of the 3 types of these, and want them in my neighborhood. If you move to a place with a legal business, and that business is acting as a decent neighborhood citizen, then the expectation that the neighborhood needs improving by shutting it down seems wrongheaded to me. Now if they are not a good citizen, that’s quite another thing, but it sounds like they do an OK job.

    As for choosing to move a school here, I am sure there are other affordable locations that are NOT located right by one of DC’s approximately 8 strip clubs. There is also a law prohibiting liquor sales within a certain distance of a school. If we as a city think it’s important to protect children from this, why doesn’t the administrator of the school feel the same way? Do they expect all these businesses to pack their bags and ship out on cue? This just seems like a bad idea.

  • When the Washington Post published it’s front page story about a year ago on the “Georgia Avenue Awakening” they interviewed the owner of the House. He wanted to pass the business on to his son, but said his son did not want to own a strip club….so whatever that means, but it’s probable the House won’t be open forever. But I guess the same is true for any business in DC…small businesses that stay open for more than 10 years are probably the exception rather than the rule. I can’t remember how long the House has been open, but I think for a long time, 20 years or so.

  • I think they are fairly harmless. I have been once when my friends and i decided to check it out on a whim. The ladies can perform some interesting “tricks”- but I will let you find those out for yourself.
    It is a family owned business; they had a great write up in the Post about a year ago about it being passed down through the fam- and there is a big portrait of the grandma hanging inside. Granted, having a strip club next to a school doesnt’ seem to be a very smart planning development, but hey- the House was there first!

  • I walk past it en route to evening classes at Yoga House. The liquor stores are definitely the ongoing problem cause – so many, each with their group of loiterers, although anywhere along that stretch wherever there is a dark vacant lot, people gather to exchange or request various goods. Last year the owner of The House was interviewed in the Washington Post. He sent his children through college on the money he made there, but said the children had no interest in taking over and running the business.

  • I’m not sure of the wisdom of a school next to a strip club, but I’ll add myself to the list of people who have lived nearby without incident. I lived on Quebec for 2 years, and while always amused by its presence (I remember a particular year where they had big signs advertising an Easter brunch special!), the place seemed benign.

  • Not just next to a strip club but also a liquor store and soon a homeless shelter. Not very smart planning. I would not even entertain sending kids there.

  • like many of you have stated, i love the idea of a school directly between a strip club and a liquor store!
    oh wait, worst idea ever. the school should never have been put there. i do figure that the hours are slightly different but will overlap. really not the best place at all. but i guess we’ll see how it affects the kids. hopefully not at all.
    as for the house, i figure there have incidents there as it is a strip club and bad things tend to happen at them. wasn’t there a stabbing there years ago? and just the other night 4 cop cars tearing up georgia stopped right in front of the house so something of some sort probably went down there.
    i went there once with a group of 3 other guys and 2 girls. the dancers were lovin our white asses. i would go back when the time comes again. no incidents and everything was relatively peace. a bit more lively than your typical “good guys” or whatever, but noithing out of the ordinary. good times.

  • what do you mean, “had a buddy”? i feel bad for that now former buddy. though I’m sure he was a great guy.

  • As someone who works with youth in the city, I would actually say that there is a distinct advantage to being in some vicinity of a homeless shelter; they can volunteer. While I wouldn’t advocate putting a school smack dab in between a liquor store and a strip club, something tells me that most (if not all) of the kids in our city (and elsewhere) have a pretty good idea what’s going on inside all of these places, and perhaps the nearness gives parents and other adults in their lives a chance to talk about it. We live in a city… It’s just like that sometimes…

  • The point of locating the charter school (E.L. Haynes) there was so they didn’t have to move far from its current location, which is on top of the Columbia Heights metro, on top of the CVS. As the school is now going to a K-12 enrollment, from an elementary only (they started small and grew), they needed more space. The space on Georgia Ave is only 3/4 of a mile from the old location, which means that it continues to be convinent for parents that formally brought their kids to the old location.

  • Also, there are many charter schools with worse locations in the city. Seriously, have you all noticed? The new EL Haynes is off like five bus lines (70s, etc) and two metro lines (Green/Yellow). This is fine.

    Also, as a taller building (4-5 stories), they needed to be somewhere where the street width would allow for that tall of a building.

  • I moved in near Macombo Lounge further up Georgia from 2 blocks from Royal Palace in Dupont – coincidence – REALLY. I have never seen bad behavior near either one. The ladies from macombo love my dog and are very friendly.

  • IntangibleHouse is nearby. We walk by the place all the time, en route to Ex-Temperance, Murray’s, etc., never had a problem.

    I always thought they needed another “GIRLS” on the sign, though… isn’t the cliche strip-joint sign usually “GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS”? They come in packages of three, I thought.

  • I’m not 100% about DC laws, but generally charter and private schools don’t operate under the same kind of law structure true public schools do. So while a strip club, or bar for that matter, couldn’t open up next door to a city school, a private/charter school can open up next to a strip club. It’s also why you don’t see school zone speed limits in front of private schools.

  • Whatever happened to Petworth’s finest, the Foxy Playground? Though needless to say, I’ve never been inside it, I think it was a strip club. It also had other activities in the upstairs rooms.

  • i dunno. there are strip joints in what is now called “upper georgetown” (read glover park), and m street near connecticut. they’ve never had many problems, and i know. i frequent them with friends AND girlfriends.

    it’s about enforcing the law.

    in glover park, i remember (1997) hanging with a buddy at around 1 a.m. and deciding to hit Good Guys in glover park. we had been drinking, and i lived next door, so we brought our beers out on the way to the strip club.

    within 10 seconds of leaving our building, we were busted by MPD for open containers.
    they let us off with a warning, but they were there in force.

    enforcement is the thing. in a democracy, folks can aspire to their dreams, be it a night club, a dunkin doughnuts, the presidency, whatever.

    if the legislation for the area is enforced, it should ‘technically’ be ok.

    that’s how it works in the U.S. of A.

  • oh, and i grew up in brasil, if that adds any context to my previous post.

  • Just to throw in a little more info on The House. A few years ago, they signed a voluntary agreement with Jim Graham & others. They agreed to provide better lighting, security, trash removal, etc. They seem to be OK and don’t have the number of shootings & stabbings in previous years.

  • First, the House isn’t what I have a problem with, its the prostitution. The owner of the house runs taxi cabs from the House to 615 Princeton Place NW all night long Friday and Sat nights where new hookers are rotated in and out every week. the police raided 615 last year and it stopped for a while, but now its started back up. Every Sunday morning the owner of the House (short bald guy) brings a crew of drunks to 615 at around 7:00am and wakes up everyone who lives around this house.

    I wonder if Good Guys in Georgetown has the same problem?

  • OH YEAY, I forgot to mention he used to do the same in the building that is now red Rocks

  • those are some pretty strong allegations but I can confirm that red rocks used to be a brothel.

  • I’ve got a story about “The House” A few months ago I met a girl and we went out for drinks at Temperance. As the bar got busier we started talking to this guy next to us. When he found out it was our first date he said he met his wife at “The House” on their first date and that we had to go. She had never been to strip club before but wanted to try it out and it ended up being a memorable Wednesday night… Things didn’t end up working out with the girl but it makes a great story

  • 615 is not a brothel! Its 617, but its not something we should be advertising

  • the first time i went to a strip club in DC was with a friend of mine. she actually wanted to go with me to see ‘what guys like’. it was kind of cool. i had to tell her about how most guys like thongs, shaved, etc. very quiet night. i went with her to the place on M street. the funny thing was that the ambassador of argentina was sitting at the table next to us! (i know, i’m a fed). anyway, i’m not going to adress the issue of SE DC strip clubs being relocated around the city (read the blogs that address the issue).

  • I agree with Anonymous that charters and private schools probably aren’t subject to the same regs as public schools. A public school wouldn’t have even been permitted to build in a neighborhood already occupied by a strip club and lots of liquor stores. I think the laws determine that a strip club/liquor store/bar, etc. can’t open near an existing school.

    Re: The Poxy–er–Foxy Playground. My brother and I went there about 20 years ago and, I gotta tell ya, they had the most unattractive naked woman I had ever seen and I’ve seen lots of naked people of all shapes and sizes (I ran a life-drawing class for awhile). There were about 3 guys in the place, one guy was asleep and the other 2 were playing checkers. The woman yelled at them about them not giving her any tips and, I swear, one her teeth fell out of her mouth! My brother and I were outta there in a flash.

  • The Foxy Playground was a favorite spot to drive by, but honestly people, I saw a stripper with a small line of blood coming out her nose and another one who had some kind of weird operation tape behind her ear. I’ve never been to a strip bar where the dancers didn’t look:
    1. addicted
    2. sick
    3. anorexic
    4. bruised legs
    5. pitiable trailer trash

    But my buddies were all hooting and hollering because they had no taste and refused to acknowledge the obvious.

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