Hidden behind a long line of industrial buildings and a throng of warehouses is an oasis home to a pair of nefarious grails our parents warned us about: sex and rock 'n' roll. Club Vixens, the latest brainchild from the folks behind Scarlett's Cabaret, aims to be more than just a strip club; it wants to be the next great music venue in South Florida.
Inconspicuously situated out in West Broward near a landfill (which could work as a sort metaphorical critique, depending on your opinion of this type of establishment), Club Vixens evokes the era of '80s hair bands — like stepping into the music video for "Girls, Girls, Girls." It even has a motorcycle mounted on the wall behind the main bar, just like the ones Vince Neil and company ride. While it's still technically a part of Davie, Vixens is far enough on the fringes that it's afforded a few luxuries. Open seven days a week, from noon until 6 a.m. on weekdays and from 5 p.m. to 6 a.m. on weekends, it boasts a full liquor bar, its dancers bare all, and it offers food throughout the night via the Florida 595 Truck Stop, a 24-hour diner. In short, it's a one-stop shop for all of your libidinous, late-night partying needs.
Considering Vixens is like the erotic, strip-joint version of a Hard Rock venue, it's not surprising that its owners also partnered with those moguls to help set their own stage. The club features a few borrowed items, including gear and memorabilia, all of which adorns the walls. In fact, for rock fans, the 6-month-old club is a mini-museum of rock paraphernalia. If guests can wrestle their eyes away from the limber ladies onstage long enough, the walls of Club Vixens actually convey a rather thorough musical history. Posters, gold records, and stacks of Marshall amps framing the front entrance all work in unison to create a rock paradise.
"The original concept was to open up something that's not competitive with everyone else and gives people something different," explains Vixens manager Bryon "Shaggy" Chagnon during our tour of the venue. "Obviously, rock in the market, no one is doing it all... I said, 'We're a rock 'n' roll strip club.' We might as well embrace the fact that we're a rock 'n' roll venue. We want to make this place, ultimately, an iconic location. We want it to be like Rainbow in L.A. or CBGB's or Toad's Place in New Haven, which is right outside of Yale University. All of these little places are synonymous with rock 'n' roll."
For their first foray into live music, Club Vixens welcomed veteran hard-rockers Tantric for what Chagnon describes as a good "first barometer" of what to expect on a concert night: "The band's reaction to the place, to the girls; the girls' reaction to the band. The girls were dancing while the band was playing. It was real good cohesion. Everyone was shocked. It's not something you see every day."
Still, there are a few obstacles inherent in joining the two endeavors in a single business. "First and foremost, the club is a strip club," says Chagnon, which means the "strip" part of strip club doesn't shut down when the bands play. Chagnon points out that while bands unleash the rock, friction dances and Champagne rooms remain business as usual. Vixens even offers VIP packages where guests can sit right onstage with the band — in the company of several dancers. The toughest balancing act, Chagnon says, comes in booking the bands.
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"The bands that we get have to make sense for the club," he explains. "The demographic that we're trying to pull, with the bands that we're getting, is the main goal. I mean, Chris Cornell would be amazing in here, and expensive as hell, but the demographic that it would pull would be late 30s, early 40s — people that have money, people that are established. In that aspect, once the show is over, boom, the club kicks back into being a strip club."
And while the focus is on national touring acts, Chagnon says, "My ultimate goal is for whatever big band, whatever national band we have coming in, I want to get a local band. Someone who would be a good marriage to the national act, so that they gain exposure, they have the rights to opening for a big band, and so that it's good for the community, for the local scene."
For now, Vixens will book one concert a month, though it may expand its programming in the future. Memphis nü-metal band Saliva headlined its latest show, and Chagnon and company are busy putting together future bookings that may also include country, considering the mechanical bull that dancers frequently use. As its numbers swell and the club makes a name for itself, he envisions branching out to include classic car shows, bike shows, and perhaps even an indoor/outdoor music festival.
In the meantime, Club Vixens operates on a rather straightforward and effective formula: "If you're looking to get that rock 'n' roll feel, like a Dr. Feelgoods kind of place, this is it," says Chagnon. "We have a good selection of whiskey, so it's a rock 'n' roll whiskey bar — with naked women. You can't go wrong with that."