New strip club proposed downtown on I Street NW

The strip club Effigy was proposed for 1720 I St. NW. (Brian Kapur/The Current/July 2017)

D.C. law prohibits any new strip club licenses from being issued — but that won’t stop a new club from opening downtown at 1720 I St. NW, two blocks from the White House.

The owners of Effigy — which they described as a “cabaret” and “gentleman’s club” at last Wednesday’s meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2B (Dupont Circle) — have purchased an existing license that has been held in safekeeping since the 2012 closure of Club Rendezvous at 2840 Alabama Ave. SE.

The new location complies with city requirements that allow strip clubs only in the city’s central business district, more than 600 feet away from residences and comparable establishments.

Operators envision an “ultra-lounge concept” that’s “sophisticated and multifaceted” with a full kitchen as well as nude performances, Emanuel Mpras told residents last week. The 12,300-square-foot space will have two levels and occasionally host special events. Menu offerings will center around “dry-aged meats,” Mpras said.

Some residents at the meeting said they think clubs like Effigy can be less burdensome on neighbors than some other establishments that sell alcohol, such as bars or nightclubs with loud music or unruly behavior in public space. Others said they’re concerned about crime that could result.

“We’d like for everyone to keep an open mind,” Mpras said. “When you hear the word strip club, it’s not going to describe the [venue] that’s being created right now.”

ANC 2B voted to protest the liquor license and plans to negotiate with the applicant on a settlement agreement that focuses on security protocols. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has scheduled a roll-call hearing for the license on Aug. 7, with a protest hearing set for Oct. 4.