Dr. Know: The Truth Laid Bare

Does Portland really have the highest number of strip clubs per capita?

I always hear that Portland has the most strip clubs of any city in the U.S.—or at least the most per capita. Are either of these claims even slightly true?

—Statistically Curious

I don't want to alarm you, Curious, but in the run-up to last year's Republican National Convention, I saw several news stories that mentioned Tampa, Fla.—yes, Tampa—as the "strip bar capital of America."

While grizzled fixtures like myself have been hearing the "most strip bars per capita" statistic about Portland since you were just a gleam in the mailman's eye, in all these years I have yet to see a citation. (Unless you count the one I got for indecent exposure during Fleet Week in 1994.)

Could this be one of those titles that every city claims? You know, like "worst drivers" or "most changeable weather" or "smuggest baristas"?

To find out, I headed to Devils Point, where I sat for an hour watching the show and discreetly zapping my genitals with a pocket Taser. Then I went home and got on the Internet.

The good news: No lesser a light than PolitiFact refutes Tampa's claim. The bad news: They put Tampa at No. 3, behind Las Vegas and Cincinnati.

Luckily, these rankings are for all adult businesses—and while Cincinnati may have us beat on jack shacks, according to the Ultimate Strip Club List (TUSCL), their strip-club total is risible. 

As a user-maintained reviews site (think Yelp for people whose pants are stuck to their legs), TUSCL may not be comprehensive. Still, it had every Portland strip club I could think of, which is a lot.

Turns out Portland, with one strip club for every 9,578 residents, is indeed the leader among the 50 largest U.S. cities, narrowly edging Tampa at 10,813 and blowing Las Vegas' 33,002 out of the water. Myth confirmed.

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