First, let's get one thing straight: Entertaining at strip clubs is now strictly prohibited on Wall Street. If you try and expense a lap dance at Roberts Steakhouse, you will be fired! However, even FINRA can't tell you not to spend time at a gentleman's club on your own dime.
The 2008 recession hit strip clubs hard initially, but the industry made adjustments to survive and to capitalize when the economy picked up. For example, Sapphire Gentlemen's Club runs a party called SINS every Sunday night.
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According to SINS promoter Ruben Aranata, "Initially we started SINS as a collaborative experiment of NY nightlife/club meet gentleman's club. It was meant to cater to the nightlife industry as Sunday is their night to party. However, we have expanded our clientele to models, fashionistas, and celebs. At first our Wall Street clientele was very little. As we have become mainstream, we have noticed more consistent business and reservations from the finance set."
According to Michael Wright COO of Sapphire, "Prior to 2008, Dodd Frank and increased SEC scrutiny, Wall Streeters spent more freely and had bigger expense budgets. We have changed our model and we focused on the guest experience and different business segments. In 2014, our table service business is up 44 percent year over year. The SINS party has increased our Sunday business by 153 percent. New York City caught on and Wall Streeters have joined the fun. Our steakhouse, Prime 333, is up 38 percent year over year. We can't compete with the standard steakhouses but our steak can be top of the line and add a sexy Sapphire flare. Our expectations are 2015 will continue the positive trend."
If Sapphire is an indicator, spending in 2015 is looking firm to quite firm.