There has been a marked increase in the number of strip clubs opening in prime city centre locations throughout Poland over the last couple of years. This has resulted in the main streets and squares of Poland’s major tourist cities now seeing young women handing out leaflets to strip clubs and approaching any male who appears to be foreign, and not obviously in the company of a wife or girlfriend, with an invitation to visit their ‘Gentleman’s Club’. The situation has turned an evening stroll around Sopot’s Bohaterow Monte Cassino for instance into a pretty unpleasant experience. On a recent evening walk down the hill in the company of three visiting male teachers from the UK, we were approached nine times in the matter of less than five minutes. ‘Tacky’ as one of the group described it.
With three strip clubs on Monte Cassino itself, the competition to attract customers is fierce but the local government seem powerless in preventing these clubs opening in the centre of the city in the first place and then from stopping people having strip club leaflets thrust into their hands along the street. It’s not just Sopot – there's a club right in the heart of Gdansk’s old town on Dlugi Targ while elsewhere in the country strip joints have opened in the heart of what are the most photogenic places on the tourist trail.
Up until the autumn of 2014 one network of clubs seemed to be attracting more criticism than most. The Cocomo chain, which had quickly expanded throughout Poland, found itself regularly accused of stealing money from unsuspecting clientele by overcharging or by running up bills of thousands of zloty on their credit cards without the owner’s approval. The group were not found guilty by the authorities of any of the accusations against them, with one Poznan prosecutor claiming they had no case to answer as the owner of a card charged with nearly 1 million zloty in one evening (over 200,000 Euros) was responsible for the amount as he must have used his PIN code to authorise the various transactions. The man claimed he couldn’t remember anything after having a drink in the club and awoke the following evening in his hotel room with his pockets full of credit card receipts.
The Cocomo group announced in September 2014 that they were to close their network with immediate effect because of the negative publicity. Since that time many of the venues occupied by Cocomo, including the one next to the Multikino in Sopot, have opened as strip clubs. The Sopot venue is now called Kittens.
While we do not advise against visiting a strip club in Poland, we do recommend you make sure you check what you are paying for and use common sense regardless of the club you are visiting. We also strongly suggest you keep your credit card out of the game and deal in cash only.
In the meantime we hope that the local government find a way to stop something as simple as an evening walk in the town becoming a poor advert for the town.