A strip club is an adult entertainment venue in which stripteases or other erotic or exotic dances are regularly performed. Strip clubs typically adopt a nightclub or bar style, but can also adopt a theatre or cabaret-style.
American-style strip clubs began to appear outside of North America after World War II, arriving in Asia in the late 1940s and Europe in 1950, where they competed against the local English and French styles of striptease and erotic performances. As of 2005, the size of the global strip club industry was estimated to be US$75 billion. In 2002, the size of the U.S. strip club industry was estimated to be US$3.1 billion, generating 19% of the total gross revenue in legal adult entertainment.SEC filings and state liquor control records available at that time indicated that there were at least 2,500 strip clubs in the United States, and since that time, the number of clubs in the U.S. has grown. Profitability of strip clubs, as with other service-oriented businesses, is largely driven by location and customer spending habits. The better appointed a club is, in terms of its quality of facilities, equipment, furniture, and other elements, the more likely customers are to encounter cover charges and fees for premium features such as VIP rooms. The popularity of a given club is an indicator of its quality, as is the word-of-mouth among customers who have visited a cross section of clubs in different regions.
The strip club as an outlet for salacious entertainment is a recurrent theme in popular culture. In some media, these clubs are portrayed primarily as gathering places of vice and ill repute. Clubs themselves and various aspects of the business are highlighted in these references. "Top Strip Club" lists in some media have demonstrated that U.S.-style striptease is a global phenomenon and a culturally accepted form of entertainment, despite its scrutiny in legal circles and popular media. Popular internet sites for strip club enthusiasts also have lists calculated from the inputs of site visitors. The legal status of strip clubs has evolved over the course of time, with national and local laws becoming progressively more liberal on the issue around the world, although some countries (such as Iceland) have implemented strict limits and bans. Strip clubs are frequent targets of litigation around the world, and the sex industry, which includes strip clubs, is a hot button issue in popular culture and politics. Some clubs have been linked to organized crime, which has been known to use legitimate business as fronts for its illegal operations.