B.C. bars to turn to strippers to stay afloat

With pub business not attracting too many customers, pub-owners are now trying new ways of wooing people.

A Vancouver Island pub is bringing in exotic dancers, joining several other B.C. bars that are looking to strippers to improve business.

The dancers are expected to debut June 20 at Ma Miller’s Pub in Langford, where owner Dan Stephenson said he is struggling with declining revenue.

“I’ve tried to get people in there … I’ve tried to reach out to the neighbourhood,” said Stephenson, who has informed the city of his plans. “I have a lot of money that I want to get back out of that place. The landlord is not impressed that I’m going this route either, but it’s down to survival mode now.”

Making the transition to erotic entertainment, however, has its obstacles. Some Langford council members say they would ban strip bars if they could, but the bar’s licence permits it.

Wayne Kalnciems, a Victoria-based promoter for exotic dancers, said there’s been a recent increase in the number of B.C. strip clubs because bar owners are struggling. His company, W.K. Entertainment, books dancers at new clubs in Kelowna and Prince George.

Paul Manhas, the owner of the bars near Nanaimo, said he is attempting to reverse declining revenues by bringing in strippers. Manhas added exotic dancers to his Club 241 in downtown Nanaimo. He coordinated scheduling so the dancers could also work at his Arlington Pub on the Island Highway in Nanoose Bay.

“The pub business is a dying business – it’s not the same as it used to be,” said Manhas, who also owns four liquor stores in Nanaimo. “People aren’t going out as much anymore. Liquor store sales have been up for a while, but bar sales are down.”