LEWISTON — When it comes to nightclub dancing, there’s a fine line between “exotic” and “go-go” — and operators of a new Park Street club say they know the difference.
Club Karma at Altera, a newly opened nightclub at 16 Park St., offers go-go dancing on Thursdays.
Manager Chad Fitzherbert said “go-go” means no nudity, no touching and no tipping.
“We have a platform above the DJ’s booth, a kind of a cage, and she’ll be dancing in that,” Fitzherbert said. “It’s not nudity. The dancers will be in a club outfit — some kind of a bathing suit.”
City policy defines exotic dancing as including nudity and does not allow it. According to city policies, paid dancers must be on platforms, at least 10 feet from the audience and they cannot mingle with the patrons or take tips.
“There are certain rules we have to follow, and we are,” Fitzherbert said. “It’s just for show, and there will be no nudity.”
Fitzherbert and the other managers say they understand that a lot of people are watching their new nightclub, open since Jan. 21.
The three-story club offers food and drinks on the first floor, dancing and drinks on the second floor and a VIP lounge with bottle service on the third floor. The go-go dancer’s stage would be on the second floor.
The nightclub shares two walls with Oak Park Senior Housing, whose residents in 2008 were angered by outside activity from Club Adrenaline, previously sited at the same space.
They complained of drunken club-goers shouting, fighting and engaging in lewd behavior on their way back to their cars along Park Street and right below many of the residents’ windows.
Senior complaints led the city to pass a temporary moratorium on new bars in that area. The Planning Board considered changing zoning to keep bars out of the area permanently, but members left zoning unchanged and the city lifted the moratorium.
Club Karma’s Fitzherbert and the other managers say they work hard to keep things calm for their neighbors.
“We walk people out at night when we close, all of the managers do,” said Scott King, manager of the first-floor area of the nightclub. “We let people out in smaller groups and just keep things calm.”
Fitzherbert said the club also is working with police.
“They recommended we have our employees take up all the parking spaces in front of the apartments, so we do that,” he said. “Plus, we have a parking lot across from us and one next door we can use.”