1. FeigningSarcasm

    FeigningSarcasm Active Member

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    Feasibility of turning a church into a strip club

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by FeigningSarcasm, Sep 25, 2017.

    Not a question as to whether or not it's an intelligent use of the space, just whether or not it's even feasible. It's purpose is to be a giant middle finger to religious sects in the city and its owner is willing to waste enormous amounts of money on reconstruction so long as it maintains a church-esque look.

    If you think it is feasible, what would have to be done to pull it off? I understand the pews will have to be removed, that the building will need various lights and speakers installed, and that stages will have to be put up. However, I'm still struggling to create a mental image of the space because it feels like I'm missing some key details.

    I think just spitballing some ideas of what else would have to be remodeled or changed would help me develop the space.
     
  2. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    I did some Googling on this and while it seems like turning a strip club into a church isn't that uncommon, the reverse must be pretty rare. Zoning laws probably prohibit this from being a thing in in the U.S. at least.

    I'm thinking you'd have to have the stages up where the pulpit normally goes. Three or four poles for a decent sized church, I'd think. There would likely be a bar at the back, and you could make the confessionals into private rooms. The extra rooms under the church where they usually have daycare or Sunday school would make for good dressing rooms.
     
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  3. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Get off my Balzac... Staff Contributor

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    Short answer: a church is only a church so long as the building is owned by a religious institution. If they sell it (or if it's abandoned to the state for some reason) it is no longer a church. It is a building shaped like a church and whoever owns it can use it as they please. This is a restaurant named Grace in Portland, Maine:


    upload_2017-9-24_22-13-37.jpeg upload_2017-9-24_22-13-47.jpeg upload_2017-9-24_22-14-0.jpeg upload_2017-9-24_22-15-15.jpeg

    As you can see the building used to a church. And then it wasn't. Hands down the coolest restaurant I've ever seen. The food is another matter, but as far as atmosphere goes, this joint will knock your socks off. The stove system alone must have cost an easy quarter million.

    Strip clubs have their own zoning restrictions, so it's probably unlikely that an erstwhile church would exist in a stripper eligible neighborhood in the first place, but people do some sick things with old churches.
     
  4. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    I gotta give a shout out to The Preacher's Son in Bentonville, AR. Amazing food in a former church, created by an an actual minister's son.

    http://www.thepreachersson.com/
     
  5. Sclavus

    Sclavus Active Member

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    Most churches I've been in are essentially an auditorium, with a stage and seating. There's usually a sound booth of some kind as well, and a baptistry (a big freaking tub).

    In the church I grew up in, the baptistry was behind the choir loft, which was an elevated platform on the main stage. You could turn the baptistry into a DJ booth, the choir loft into the bar, and have your more popular dancers on the stage. You might need to add a barrier around the edge of the stage so customers could get their drinks from the bar without getting to close to the dancers.

    You could also gut most of the seating from the auditorium, and put in tables and chairs. The church I grew up in had the sanctuary on the upper level with Sunday School classrooms beneath it, so there's potential to make it a multi-level club, to use the extra rooms as private booths, etc. I've only been in night clubs, never a strip club, so my ideas might not be worth much, but I could see my old church as a club. It was basically an auditorium with stained glass windows and a cross above the baptistry.
     
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  6. FeigningSarcasm

    FeigningSarcasm Active Member

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    As I was researching the topic of remodeling a church I found a lot of really cool stuff. Some people use the restaurants, like you mentioned. Others turn it into a house, a library, or even a pool.

    I was raised Lutheran and went to a small, old church that only had an altar, pews, and stained glass windows. The baptistry and elevated/ choir platform could definitely add an interesting touch. Thank you much for the ideas :)
     
  7. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    In the 4th Crow movie they did it in a kinda old timey church.

    You can but it would take some construction, and you can keep
    some pews for stage seating if you want. You can even use windows
    that are set with deep ledges to them for poles or dance cages if you
    want. Just make sure to get a good size building 4000-8000 sqft min,
    so you have plenty of space for all your stuff. :p
     
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  8. FeigningSarcasm

    FeigningSarcasm Active Member

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    Thankfully it looks like the zoning rules surrounding "sexually oriented businesses" are rather city specific. I'm hoping to get away with lax research/ mapping on this part simply by creating a fictional city.
     
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  9. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Contributor

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    This. There's actually an event space in L.A. called Vibiana that was formerly the St. Vibiana's cathedral. Before its current event space life, it was briefly a nightclub. I went to a show there once.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathedral_of_Saint_Vibiana
    http://vibiana.com/about/venue/

    Also, in the early 2000's there was also a church in NYC that became an event space and possibly a nightclub. I can't remember the name of that one, but I remember someone who had a "Tarts & Vicars" themed birthday party there.
     
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  10. Sclavus

    Sclavus Active Member

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    Have you decided on what denomination the church was before it was converted?

    Pun!
     
  11. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Aunt? Supporter Contributor

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    There was a nightclub in the Chicago suburbs called "The Mission" that was housed in a building that had actually been some sort of Christian mission/church thingy. They kept a lot of the decorations too, and I'd suggest keeping (or restoring) your Strip Church as much as is feasible. Sure, it'll generate a lot of protests, but-


    -there's bound to be a certain market for that sort of thing.
     
  12. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    Depending on the community you're planning on doing this in, there may be by-laws saying what areas of the community you could have one, how far it would have to be from any schools, what type of advertising and signage it could have, etc. If the community was originally rather religious then these bylaws would probably be rather strict and would probably remain untouched until someone challenged them. I'm my local town, the local by law states that such an establishment can't be within 500 meters of a major intersection, but no where else in the charter or bylaws does it define what a major intersection is, pretty much assuring that such a thing can be denied a license under any circumstance.
     
  13. FeigningSarcasm

    FeigningSarcasm Active Member

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    No, but I was leaning towards Catholic just because they seem to have the bigger buildings.


    I'm planning to use either a fictional or an unnamed community.
     
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  14. Adam Rimmer

    Adam Rimmer Member

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    Agree with the above. It's only a building after those who occupy it are not religous. In christianity especially, the people are the church. Not the building.
     
  15. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    When I was at uni there was a church that had been turned into a nightclub, called 'angels' - the DJ span tunes in the pulpit and the dance floor was where the pews would have been. The bars were along the back wal and the toilets had been boxed into one of the wings

    Given that precedent a strip club is certainly practical ... I'd put the pole dance stage on the atar and turn the vestry into the private dance room ..... you could also have a larger than average font for a stripper to play in.

    I'd keep the concept of the pews but have them reupholstered and set into booths where gentleman can drink with the 'artists' if they wish with table service given by waitresses dressed as nuns (wearing very little under a short habit)

    Depending on how tasteless you want to be you could also turn the crypt into an S&M dungeon , or perhaps into private rooms for more personal services

    (be aware that if you get his by a thunderbolt I take no responsibility for you attracting the wrath of god)

    You could also run gay nights with male strippers and wait staff dressed as choir boys
     
  16. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    Talk about picking up bad habits.
     
  17. animagus_kitty

    animagus_kitty Senior Member

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    Nunsense, it's habit-forming...
     
  18. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Aunt? Supporter Contributor

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    Don't know if it will figure, but a church should (according to those who believe in such things) be deconsecrated prior to being turned over to secular uses.
     
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  19. FeigningSarcasm

    FeigningSarcasm Active Member

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    If god strikes me with a lightning bolt it’ll be for reasons other than writing about a non-church being turned into a strip club. But should a girl from Wisconsin suddenly get fried by a lightning bolt, rest assured this had little to do with it

    Thank you for the ideas- I hadn’t considered keeping the pews originally but holding on to some for seating would keep the “theme” of the place.
     
  20. FeigningSarcasm

    FeigningSarcasm Active Member

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    I’m still hoping it’s relatively believable that people who practice such things would be a little miffed that it’s being used for a strip club- consecrated or not.
     
  21. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    That is the most despicable thing I've read all day.
     
  22. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Get off my Balzac... Staff Contributor

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    Which is a fairly good indicator that @FeigningSarcasm is on the right track.
     
  23. FeigningSarcasm

    FeigningSarcasm Active Member

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    So this is the floor plan that I've been working with (yes, I did steal it and make some edits on photoshop). I was originally going to have the main stage be around the altar, but decided to extend the altar into a bar counter and place the bar at the head of the building. I moved the dressing rooms for the employees off to each side and currently have two "main stages" coming from the dressing rooms with four, smaller tables scattered throughout the former sanctuary.

    Is there anything I'm missing that would usually be found in this type of business?

    I've spent way too much time doing this. I really just need to write the freaking story.
     

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  24. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    VIP room for uh, private lap dances.
     
  25. FeigningSarcasm

    FeigningSarcasm Active Member

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    I turned the old classrooms into private rooms but I suppose I could make one into more of a VIP area for... "lap dances"...
     

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