End of the line for strip clubs in ND oil boom’s hometown

When the last of the strip clubs close, an oil boom is officially over.

In Williston, N.D., the oil boom is officially over.

The Grand Forks Herald reports today that last Friday marked the end of topless dancing in the city that grew by leaps and bounds during the oil boom.

The city passed an ordinance earlier this year that banned strip clubs from selling alcohol.

“It’s just super sad to me because it’s a family here,” Alix, 23, said. She moved to Williston from Chicago after hearing about the money to be made as a dancer here.

Now, though, nightly earnings don’t add up to the cash that rolled in during the height of oil industry activity, when rowdy crowds of more than 200 passed through Heartbreakers, and bouncers with names like Beefy, Angry and Creepy were charged with keeping order.

The two strip clubs became known for fights, underage drinking and over-zealous security guards. After two men died as the result of confrontations that spilled onto the street, police began standing outside the bars every night at closing time.

In stark contrast to earlier days, on one evening this week just two customers sat at the bar as night closed in. The next night, the club was nearly empty and the stage lights dark well after the doors opened.

The strip joints were often the first stop for people arriving in the area, looking for work in the oil fields.

The last of the strip clubs will reopen next week as a gay bar.

Related: I Worked in a Strip Club in a North Dakota Fracking Boomtown (Mother Jones)

  • Gary F

    I good follow up story to this would be to see how the new establishment labeled the rest rooms.

  • Khatti

    It’s as good a sign as any that the boom is over (for now). The only thing really important about this story though is that it doesn’t effect me.

  • lindblomeagles

    This story is so sad on at least two fronts that I’m unable to deliver a coherent thought. I’m sure Williston would love the jobs and the money from the oil boom to keep pouring in. On the other hand, what does it say about an industry when the first form of entertainment oil field workers reach for is a topless bar? I’m not necessarily the morality police, but I guess if I was Williston’s City Planner, I would have at least considered other entertainment ideas.