What defines "WOW-factor" in stripclub stage design? In this article we'll discuss how a well-designed stage can give your stripclub the competitive edge.
Some stripclubs may not be long on design, but many understand the importance of a stage with "WOW-factor". What defines this elusive quality? There may be more reasons than you realize. The stage is the key attraction of every stripclub, and many factors affect a successful stage design, including materials, size, shape, dance floor, etc.
What FACTORS Define the BEST DESIGN FOR A STRIPClub Stage?
Ceiling height sets the backdrop for the primary quality of the ideal stage. Ceiling heights greater than 11’ (3.4m) provide you with at least 8’ (2.4m) of entertainment space above the top of the stage. What could be easier than designing a stage when the showroom has generous ceiling height? Unfortunately, gentlemen’s club owners aren’t always able to dictate their location, so they have to deal with what they have, and sometimes this can even be 8’ ceilings. This is not a deal-breaker – there are ways around this, which I will cover in another installment of Design Buzz.
The second quality of an ideal stage is comfort, and this includes a drink rail – that is, if your patrons are going to sit next to the stage. Ordinarily, I include a 9-12” (229-305mm) drink rail with every standard stage design. The height at which a drink rail should be set is the same as that of standard table height – 30” (762mm). Every drink rail needs a backsplash or the drinks will end up on the dance floor. To facilitate this, I normally use the side of the stage as a built-in backsplash, and set the height of the drink rail 4-6” (102-152mm) lower than that of the stage. This effectively places the top of the dance floor at 34-36” (864-914mm).
Space Planning and Stairways: Every Stage Needs an 'Exit' Strategy
Now you have your stage all figured-out, right? But wait, you aren’t out of the woods yet; you still have to factor the stairs. Another quality for the ideal stage includes cleaver stair design. For the average stage, a set of stairs requires 5 linear feet (1.5m) of floor space. If you desire your stage to have two dance poles, you will most likely want two sets of stairs, but this can get very tricky, not only because stairs are huge space-eaters but also because of their logistical configuration. Whereas in most commercial entities stair design is clearly defined, stair design for stages is seemingly overlooked by building codes. The standard building code for the U.S. the International Building Code (IBC), does not address stair design for nightclub stages, and in the many cities where I’ve designed stages, I’m not aware of any requirements of municipal building codes that address this issue, either. What I’m referring to are the riser height, tread depth, tread width and handrail design parameters. In spite of a lack of IBC requirements for stage stair design, I am a proponent of staying as close to IBC design criteria as possible.
I feel that stairway width (defined by the IBC as 44” (1.1m)) probably offers the greatest flexibility, primarily because in most stage applications only one person is using the stairs (at a time). As for all other factors, I feel that stage stairs should be designed within the above standards because people are accustomed to using stairways, in daily living, that are in compliance with these criteria. The “muscle memory” we develop through daily stairway use conditions us to the point where we sense slight differences. The last thing a club owner needs is another “slip-and-fall” lawsuit. Uniformity is the key, to be sure, which is what the IBC specifies. If you are unsure of your specific application, I strongly recommend that you contact a local architect, because local building codes can, and often do, exceed the national standard, which is considered to be minimum design standards.
THE BEST ADVICE ABOUT Decorative Railings in STRIPclub Stage Design
Every time I see a stage with a horizontal decorative railing that sits just inches above the dance floor and wraps around the perimeter, I ask myself, ‘Why?’ Why would anybody want to have what effectively is a barrier between the dancer and the patron? This type of standoff décor might look good at McDonald's, Wendy's or Arby's, and truthfully, but it has no business being on top of a gentlemen's club stage. While it may appear logical and appealing, it's counterproductive for the ideal stage. This or any other hardware that prevents the dancer from direct access to the patron isn’t advisable, because it works against the very atmosphere of interaction you are attempting to foster. The decorative railings that will give your stage great finish are those used in your staircase, such as in the photo below.
Why A Well-Selected Dance Floor is the Key to Successful Stage Design
The ideal stage has a dance floor that provides “WOW-factor”. This quality is nearly as important as ceiling height. I’ve seen people use a number of different products for dance floor surfaces, including hardwood and granite. Neither of these are appealing solutions to me, and if they appeal to you, they won’t for long. Hardwood requires too much maintenance and granite is too hard on the legs. Besides, neither of these products deliver “WOW-factor”. Backlit acrylic dance floors are another example of what I consider to be a horrible choice, as acrylic scratches and cracks too easily; it is also a nightmare to keep clean. To me there are only two choices for the ideal dance floor:
- Markolon with a holographic laminate, produced by Holo-Walls (@holowalls), as shown in the photo at right, for Night Trips, Tulsa, OK (@NightTripsTulsa).
- LED stage, a proprietary backlit, laminated glass design by us, as depicted in the photo at top for Tiffany's Cabaret, Buffalo, NY (@tiffanyscabaret).
Makrolon is a polycarbonate-based product; the primary difference between this and acrylic is makrolon is much tougher. The other significant difference between the two is that makrolon can easily be field-cut. Makrolon is used in bullet-proof glass. Scratching is unavoidable with any dance floor surface. Holo-Walls offers a number of patterns (especially their “Confetti”, “Eclipse Lens” and “Diamond Dust” patterns) that effectively make the scratching undetectable.
Our LED stage, fashioned after our popular LED bar, utilizes architectural laminated glass and individual RGB LED light for each tile. When coupled with DMX controls, the end-result is a dance floor that absolutely screams.
WHAT IS THE BEST STAGE Seating FOR STRIPCLUBS?
Lastly, the ideal stage includes comfortable seating. When it comes to seating for stages, there are only two that I recommend, and both are manufactured by KG Furniture (@KGFurniture1), the leader (and my favorite) in furniture for the adult nightclub industry. KG’s standard model #25 barrel chair is probably in more nightclubs than any other chair on the market. The latest and greatest vinyl product KG offers is that of Canadian vinyl-producer Morbern (@Mobern_Inc). According to owner Ken Bowman, "Morbern of Canada is the World's leader in quality, leather-like vinyls". If you are challenged for space, KG’s model #81 armless chair (shown in the photo at right) will increase your seating capacity about 20%. I recently specified KG’s armless chairs for a client in Caprone genuine leather and they just love them! In the very least, you might want to consider using genuine leather for the cushion.
We Work International Customers
If your bar or nightclub application is outside the U.S., we'd be delighted to work with you! We're familiar with the metric system and can furnish you with the appropriate plans and specifications for construction. With our web-conferencing and Basecamp 24 x 7 project management system, we're fully capable of servicing your needs. Please click here to learn more about our methods.
Call Us for Your Next Design Project
Our standard bar design service includes all construction plans and equipment layouts. We would be happy to assist any gentlemen’s club, night club, or bar owner who would like to incorporate time-proven design ideas into your venue. Please feel free to contact us.
Seven Questions Commonly Asked About Stripclub Design 101:
To learn more about Stripclub Design 101 click here
Most Popular Articles