The city's last two strip clubs, next door to each other on Lagrange Street in Chinatown, have agreed to make changes in the way they disperse customers at closing time following a 911 call from a nearby resident about the "circus atmosphere" on the small street early one June morning.
Licensing-unit detectives who heard the 911 call relayed on the radio responded around 2 a.m. on June 25 and found a crowd of customers from both Centerfolds and the Glass Slipper, spilling out and then milling about outside, occasionally getting boisterous, one of the detectives told the Boston Licensing Board at a hearing today.
"They were loud, sometimes yelling - boisterous," Sgt. Det. Robert Mulvey said.
Mulvey said the citations he issued the clubs that led to today's hearing were not punitive but an attempt to steer the clubs towards better dealing with today's realities. Those include the fact that the cabs and ride-share cars customers expect can no longer easily get to or out of Lagrange due to the way police shut the intersection of Boylston and Tremont at closing to deal with the crowds from Theater District nightclubs and the fact that the strips clubs are now surrounded not by other "adult entertainment" businesses but by pricey apartments with occupants who don't appreciate overnight boisterousness.
"I think the neighborhood is changing, so we have to be a little more understanding," he said, asking managers from both places to start announcing to customers around 15 minutes before closing to tell ride-share cars or cabs to pick them up on Washington Street, which remains open, rather than hoping their rides can get down Lagrange.
A manager at Centerfolds said he has already started telling customers who want a ride-share car to program in an address of 665 Washington St. - in front of the luxury Kensington building - rather than his address of 12 Lagrange for just that reason - because even drivers who can get through often get held up in traffic caused by the police blockade at Boylston and Tremont, especially when one of the Theater District clubs, such as Royale, is having a big event.
The manager added, though, that customers sometimes get upset when told they have to walk 100 feet down to Washington Street for either a ride share or to get a cab at the stand in front of Penang. "It becomes a confrontation, which I don't want," he said, adding he tries to tell such customers that if they walk down there, the mapping icon that IDs them to drivers will move with them.
Mulvey said that when he and his partner arrived early on June 25, he could tell the men were from the clubs because they were older than the club kids who sometimes use Lagrange as a cut through. He said that, at first, doormen and bouncers from the two establishments were doing nothing to move the men along, but agreed with managers that the crowd had completely dispersed by the time he was done writing a citation about 20 minutes later, in part with the help of workers who realized the detectives were there.