frequently asked questions

What Is a ‘Vegan Strip Club,’ Anyway?

Following the revelation that Newark mayor Cory Booker flirted with Portland stripper Lynsie Lee on Twitter, the mayor’s spokesman dismissed any tawdry implications by saying, “The most shocking part of this story was learning there is a vegan strip club in Portland.” And he had a point: Flirtatious politicians are a dime a dozen, but there is only one vegan strip club.

Lee works at Casa Diablo, an Oregon venue that bills itself as the only vegan strip club in the universe. Herewith, the Cut to answer your frequently asked questions about vegan strip clubs.

What is a “vegan strip club,” anyway?

A strip club that serves vegan food, and does not permit dancers to wear animal products onstage, which are the house rules at Casa Diablo, the Portland club where Lynsie Lee works. Strippers may not wear fur, leather, feathers, or wool when performing.

Why is it vegan?

Casa Diablo owner Johnny Diablo has been vegan for 28 years. There are a lot of vegans in Portland, and he figured they’d enjoy looking at naked ladies while consuming vegan snacks. Casa Diablo’s logo is a naked lady with devil horns eating a carrot.

But aren’t a lot of strip clubs vegan? Like, if they don’t serve food, and the strippers happen to wear synthetic clothing?

Possibly, depending on whether or not they serve gross dairy cocktails, or whatever. The point, though, is that Casa Diablo is the only known strip club in the world that mandates (and markets) veganism. It’s been featured on Current TV, IFC, and in Time magazine.

Are all the people who work there vegan?

No. Johnny Diablo says most are, though.

Do I have to be vegan to go there?

No. But in his interview with Kumail Tours Portlandia (the Portlandia spinoff that interviews the real subjects of its parody), Johnny Diablo says his “whole goal” is to “convert” people to veganism.

Portland’s strip-club scene is kind of weird, huh?

A bit. As Casa Diablo demonstrates, Portland’s strip club scene has some prominent alterna-sexy offerings of the Suicide Girl variety. (Portland has a pirate-themed strip club, too.) On Yelp, reviewers alternately celebrate and complain about Portland strip clubs that are no more than “dive bar atmosphere with a naked girl in the corner.” In his IFC interview, Johnny Diablo refers to Portland as the “strip club capital of America,” a title that several other cities also claim. Legend has it that Portland has “more strip clubs per capita” than any other city, due in part to Oregon’s remarkably liberal strip club and liquor regulations. Some outsiders contest the strippers-per-capita claim, too, though.

Is it rude to call them “weird”?

Nah, I get the feeling they’re cool with it. Lynsie Lee’s Twitter profile says “wits and tits #stripper #model #weirdo.”

What other unusual strip clubs should I know about?

A science-fiction strip club; an underwater strip club; a strip club this one guy opened in his living room; and Larry Flynt’s “barely legal” strip club, decorated to resemble teen girls’ bedrooms.

I think strip clubs are inherently misogynistic institutions and oppose their existence and your mention of them here. Is that okay?

Yes. For your own sanity, you should probably avoid the above-mentioned establishments, though.

What Is a ‘Vegan Strip Club,’ Anyway?