Make us your home page

New name in Tampa's strip club trade: Scores

A famous New York City club, Scores, has opened on Dale Mabry Highway, just down the street from the Mons Venus.


A famous New York City club, Scores, has opened on Dale Mabry Highway, just down the street from the Mons Venus.

TAMPA — These are no days of excess. The unemployment rate here hovers around 12 percent. The Buccaneers' perennially full stadium languishes half-empty despite the team's winning record.

People don't have a lot of loose dollar bills.

Yet, 1 mile south of Raymond James Stadium, a new business has bet on its big name to sell $42 bone-in veal chops, $500 bottles of Cristal, $275 bottles of Grey Goose and titillation.

The name is Scores. And what's really for sale is skin.

"I hope that name does something for them," said Brie Marchant, 23, a dancer at the Mons Venus strip club down the street. "There's nobody making money right now."

More than a decade ago, disc jockey Howard Stern popularized Scores with sexy tales that made fanboys drool. Madonna and Russell Crowe were spotted there. So were members of the mob, the New York Yankees and New York Knicks.

Starting with a single location on the east side of Manhattan, Scores grew into a national chain that helped push curtained strip bars out of back alleys and into the mainstream.

But its newest location in a strip mall on Dale Mabry Highway will face intense competition.

Club managers estimate there are at least 40 strip clubs in Tampa, a major reason the city is sometimes referred to as the strip club capital of the United States. Several are within a short drive of Scores.

"Can they all stay in business? I don't know," Mons Venus owner Joe Redner said of the new addition. "They may bring more adult customers into the area. If they do, I'm going to get my share of them."

Inside the 6,500-square-foot Scores, high-backed velvet chairs sit behind glass walls for patrons who scan a menu of lobster and grain-fed, center-cut, prime beef. Customers can choose between seven champagne rooms and 12 private areas, with granite countertops to hold the drinks.

"The successful people are still spending money. People are still going out,'' said Duke Mendel, the owner of Scores.

He concedes they aren't spending as much. That's why the club has instituted nightly drink specials and $10 cover charges.

He feels confident Scores will succeed because it's located at a site near the stadium and Interstate 275 that he had been eyeing for 13 years.

"Location, name and management team," he said ticking off his assets.

Mendel used to co-own the Penthouse Club, which, along with another West Shore club, Thee Dollhouse Lounge, are considered Scores' main "high end" rivals.

Penthouse Club owner Gene Osteen says his business is down about 30 percent since the recession.

"Really, I hope they do well," Osteen said of Scores. "But I think they'll need all the help they can get."

The strippers are feeling it, too. Michelle Smith, 35, has to twirl, contort and lap dance for 10 hours at the Mons Venus to make what she said she used to earn in five.

"Even with our reputation, we've certainly slowed down," longtime Mons manager Lorry Kasner, 45, said. "I don't know how they'll come in and make a spin of it. I guess they think they'll make it on their name."

Justin George can be reached at (813) 226-3368 or

New name in Tampa's strip club trade: Scores 11/20/10 [Last modified: Friday, November 26, 2010 12:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park


    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  2. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  3. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood


    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  4. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa


    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  5. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county


    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.