Behind the scenes at Le 281
The story of Club 281 starts in Miami, where Mr. France Delisle first visited the bar Crazy Horse. This establishment offered a rare form of entertainment: men performed stripteases on-stage, to the delight of a mostly female clientele.
Owner of the Café Abitibi for around a decade, Mr. Delisle decided to convert his South American-style dance bar to a male strip club, featuring what were reffered to at the time as “go-go boys”. A month and a half later, after all the legal steps, he placed an ad in the newspaper: Nude dancers wanted. He wondered how many men would actually want to dance in the buff. To his great surprise, over 75 men showed up for the first audition.
Around this time, the feminist movement was in full swing, and women were asserting themselves and standing up for what they wanted. Le 281 officially opened its doors as a march gathering over 100,000 women took place on Sainte-Catherine Street – an unplanned but apt occasion. The name, 281, came from the establishment’s street address. Wednesday, April 14, 1980, marked the beginning of a special rapport between women and Le 281, which came to stand as a symbol of the liberated woman.
Le 281’s success was instantly overwhelming. Throngs of women of all ages crowded the doors of the club for the chance to experience this new form of entertainment. The daily lineups led to the opening of a second and third floor within a matter of months. Open from 2 p.m. to 3 a.m., seven days a week, Le 281 welcomed over 1.5 million women in its first three years alone.
Since its inception, the Club’s governing rules – no physical contact with staff, no cutting in line, and men only being permitted when accompanied by a woman – have contributed to its success. Le 281 has since thrived on its reputation as a venue where women are treated like queens and feel safe and at home in a respectful environment.
Shock waves reverberated throughout the media in 1993 when it was revealed that the building housing Le 281 was sold to the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM). Nothing about the club’s concept changed, but UQÀM became the only university in the world to have a strip club on campus.
After closing a few months for its relocation, the highly anticipated reopening of the new 281 took place on January 15, 2004. Its new location, 94 Sainte-Catherine Street East, is the former address of the renowned Casa Loma cabaret. With nearly double the seating capacity, the new version of the bar – now managed by the founder’s daughter Annie Delisle – offers more professional and sensual shows in a warm and contemporary setting.
And Le 281 is still going strong! Just check out the impressive lineups every weekend of enthusiastic women from around the world. They come to experience the ultimate sexy, sensual and exhilarating night out with performances by the hottest hunks in Quebec!