In September, an outpost of Scores, a strip club chain, opened in the Taj Mahal. In May, they took over part of the Taj Mahal’s deck and opened an outdoor sports bar. So of course I had to check it out, which I did on Wednesday night. The strip club (they would prefer I call it a gentleman’s club, but I’m going to go ahead with “strip”) is on the second floor of the Taj Mahal, facing the ocean, though obviously you couldn’t peek inside. The deck is right outside the club, on the south end of the building — right over the Hard Rock Cafe.
It looks like any other outdoor venue: long bar with TVs showing ESPN, and craft beers on tap (I had a Yards Love Stout and a Curious Traveler, $6 each, which isn’t bad considering I paid $3 for a hot tea and $3.25 for orange juice at Revel). The bulk of the space was made up of clusters of couches. Of course there was thumping club mix, and fancy lights. The only difference, when I was there, was a few platforms on which I assumed there’d be dancing. It was more outdoor than the new Margaritaville bar up the boardwalk at Resorts.
The crowd was relatively light when I stopped by the first time around 7:30 p.m. That's not surprising given that I was there on a Wednesday in June on a day when the temperature nearly hit 100. A few older guys still in their beach gear were at the bar eating burgers. A couple kept walking out of the strip club and onto the deck to smoke. When the older guys left, two 21-year-olds from Syracuse took their place. They smoked cloves, drank whiskey, and hit on the bartender, a redhead wearing a skin-tight white tank, black briefs and fishnets — really, what you'd find in about any casino bar. When I came back to the deck after dinner, things looked about the same except a few dancers were sitting on the couches, talking.
The bartender said that weeknights were so-so this time of year, but Friday and Saturday nights are packed — all shore-typical. I stayed at Revel during my trip, and it was busy, but not crazy. That'll change around the Fourth of July weekend.
When Scores opened in September, it created a minor stir. Of course there are strip clubs in Atlantic City. The place makes its money on vice. But the difference here was that an actual strip club is inside an actual casino versus somewhere off the boardwalk.
I'm not going to defend the strip club industry, but I didn't see the big deal about putting one in a casino. Most already have some sort of troupe of scantily clad dancing girls, and Revel and the Borgata have their own burlesque shows. This kind of thing is already all over town. The deck add-on is not a bad idea, especially for the Taj, since that space is finally being used (there's an identical north side space on the other side of the grand Taj outdoor staircase. It's used primarily, or at least it was on Wednesday night, for people smoking while crying and/or yelling into their cell phones).
I didn't get the hard sell to go into the club, but the men did, and that's part of the business model. I had my beers, a bacon popcorn (so-so) and then popped back in a few hours later to see if things had changed. It's another cog in the as-the-world-turns drama of Atlantic City. Just an outdoor, stripper-y one.
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Below, renderings of Scores Atlantic City, complete with rendered strippers: