Lusty Lady, world's only unionized gentleman's club, closing San Francisco doors in 2 weeks 

click to enlarge The Lusty Lady's dancers voted to unionize in 1997 after complaints about the club's business practices. - JUSTIN SULLIVAN/2003 GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO
  • Justin Sullivan/2003 Getty Images file photo
  • The Lusty Lady's dancers voted to unionize in 1997 after complaints about the club's business practices.

The venerable San Francisco gentleman's club the Lusty Lady Theatre announced Tuesday that it is closing its doors in two weeks.

The North Beach venue, which calls itself the only unionized, worker-owned strip club in the world, is closing after nearly four decades of serving The City 24 hours a day with a diverse lineup of adult entertainment.

"Dear Ladies and Friends in the Community," began an announcement posted on the Lusty Lady's website and Facebook page Tuesday. "It is with shaking hands & tear stained cheeks that I write to say, we just heard from our land lord, they will NOT agree to a new lease, they are closing our doors. They have given us just TWO WEEKS. WE CLOSE OUR DOORS AND SAY GOODBYE on 9/2/13. Please help us spread the word, and make it a glorious & glamorous two weeks!

"Thank you so much for all the love and support over the years!"

The worker-owned club opened up in 1976 with private booths for patrons. In 1983, the owners decided to incorporate live entertainment, where people could watch and interact with nude women.

Things got contentious at the club a few years later when "unsavory" business practices began taking place. According to the Lusty Lady's website, several one-way windows where performers could not see the customer they were dancing for were installed, which led to concealed cameras and video activity taking place without dancers' consent.

That's when a group of employees approached the Service Employees International Union Local 790 and, after some negotiations among union officials and the near-unanimous signing of union cards, an election was planned.

All this was followed by lawyers, nasty exchanges, picket lines and, yes, a lockout.

However, in April 1997, the Lusty Lady's employees voted to unionize, forming the world's only Exotic Dancers Union.

But as more and more people started to get their kicks on the Internet, adult entertainment clubs like the Lusty Lady faced dwindling crowds and declining revenues. By 2003, the owners said they could "feel the end was near."

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Erin Sherbert

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