Leeds lap dancing club Whiskey Down 'inspired' by Playboy Mansion wants to attract more female customers

A Playboy Mansion-inspired lap dancing club which wants to attract more female customers has had its licence to operate renewed.

By David Spereall, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 11:45 am

Whiskey Down in Leeds city centre says it is trying to create an upmarket 'new kind of image' for strip clubs, where customers would happily ‘check in’ on Facebook or Instagram.

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The premises in Crown Street, which sells premium spirits worth up to £400 a shot, first opened in December 2017.

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Whiskey Down in Leeds city centre says it is trying to create an upmarket 'new kind of image' for strip clubs.

As a sexual entertainment venue (SEV), it has to apply for its licence to be renewed every 12 months.

Leeds City Council granted the club its fifth renewal at a hearing this week, with no-one having objected to Whiskey Down continuing to run.

Aaron Mellor, managing director of Tokyo Industries, which runs the venue, told the hearing: “What we’re trying to do with Whiskey Down is to create a new kind of image for where SEV entertainment goes.

“It’s a lot more gender inclusive, so we work very hard to get more female attendance in there. We’re very LGBT-friendly.

“The audience is still predominantly male but we are attempting to shift that more and more. We concentrate quite heavily on the burlesque element of things and also on high-quality drinks.”

Mr Mellor said he had been inspired by a visit to Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion several years ago and suggested he wanted to recreate the 'pipe-smoking' atmosphere of high-class 1970s parties with his chain of clubs.

He added: “What I’m trying to paint is that it’s a high-end establishment.

“It’s not this kind of gentlemen’s club or strip club of old where it’s clandestine and hidden away.

“We’re trying to create something where you’d be prone to check into on Facebook or Instagram.”

The panel of two councillors unanimously agreed to the licence being renewed after deliberating for around five minutes.

Coun Sharon Hamilton said: “You must be running a very good establishment for there to be no objections from the police and others.”