The sun would rise soon, but still there were nine people seated around the stage of the Mons Venus watching a dancer work her magic to Lil Wayne's She Will.
An online viewer, a person paying to watch the club's livestream from the stage remotely, mused: "Wow. That girl is really flexible."
The Mons is one of several of Tampa's strip clubs that keeps its doors open until the wee hours, closing as late as 5 a.m. on some weeknights.
It was a Wednesday morning in high summer. Five dancers were scattered around the bar, some entertaining customers on the private dance couches others rustling up business from the stragglers who just weren't ready to go home yet.
"There were a lot of people here tonight," said one lithe blonde as she bent over to receive a tip in her G-string. "I was really surprised."
The crowd wasn't what you'd expect. A few men came alone to sit in the corners and wait, but the majority were a large party of four guys and three girls out for a night on the town.
Occasionally, one from the group would saunter over to the jukebox and play something completely expected like T-Pain's I'm 'n Luv (Wit a Stripper). Hip hop and R&B records gave new energy to the waning dancer, a tattooed and long-braided temptress, with a few pole tricks up her sleeve. She danced mostly for herself, taking long, lingering looks in the mirror as she slid down into a split. Her colleagues weren't eager to relieve her.
Of the strippers present, only one jumped onto the stage to greet customers in the hour before sunrise. The peppy, black-pantied woman leaned in, smiling, and enjoying a conversation about sexual positions for tired couples. High on the moment, she slammed her breastplate into the faces of friendly conversing customers, grabbing singles wherever she could pick them up.
A pink-bikinied petite lady sidled up behind middle-aged man and began massaging his neck and shoulders, making sure to rub her breasts on his back for good measure. She was done dancing for the night; instead she sat on laps and made small talk before finding a seat out of the way to watch the stage and sip some water.
The braided contortionist danced alone for 10 songs while the couples along the stage showered her in $1 bills for an especially interesting trick.
"I've been up here forever," she chirped as she stooped to pick up stray cash. "After this, I'm going home."
Trey Songz's Invented Sex faded to a close and her exit signaled the end of the morning festivities for the souls still in the house.
Cashiers packed in their registers and headed toward the back room. A waitress moseyed over to the jukebox and put on some classic rock, a slow winding melody that the girls were unsure how to move with.
"The Mons Venus will be closing in 10 minutes," she said into the microphone.
Two black lingerie-wearing women giving one lucky guy a private show in the corner despaired as he rose to leave.
"Don't go," one half laughed, half sobbed as she displayed her twerking bare bottom over the edge of the leather love seat. He looked back for a second, but pressed on.