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Montreal's Famous Erotic Cabaret Le 281 Decided To Close Forever Without A Goodbye Party

Social distancing and lap dances are incompatible, says owner of Le 281.
Contributing Writer
Montreal's Famous Erotic Cabaret Le 281 Decided To Close Forever Without A Goodbye Party

More bad news for Montreal partygoers. The city's most famous male strip club, Le 281, announced that it won’t be opening for one last summer of nude dudes after all. Folks of every stripe have enjoyed the venerable institution’s steamy shows and dark interior, which has nestled in the depths of the city’s red-light district on rue Sainte-Catherine Est for 40 years.

Patrons might remember it as a place to relax with a thirst-quenching cocktail while large naked men with toned abs and shapely buttocks shook their moneymakers in your face.

It was a little slice of heaven that introduced many a naïve Montrealer to the debaucherous side of life while stripper ballads played on the sound system — but no longer.  

In February, on Julie Snyder's talk show, La Semaine des 4 Julie, Le 281’s owner Annie Delisle said she was selling the building to a real estate developer, and closing the cabaret.

Before the end, however, Delisle promised her customers one last lecherous ride. Their final summer was to be a victory lap of male nudity, capped off by a going-out-of-business party that was supposed to be on September 5.

But sadly, none of that will be happening due to the ongoing pandemic.  

The strip club has been empty since March 15 due to the COVID-19 crisis and on June 3, Delisle announced that Le 281 would not be reopening at all.  

“As the news is not very encouraging, we have to make decisions, as difficult as they may be,” said the company in a statement.

“Considering that we will be in the last phase of deconfinement and that the two-meter rule is here to stay, it will be impossible to recreate the ambiance of Le 281 while keeping its essence.”  

“Therefore, we have made the decision to not reopen Le 281 before its official closing date, which was scheduled for September 5th,” it continues.  

According to the statement, postponing the closing date is out of the question as the building has already been sold.  

“So most unfortunately, we will not be able to close the circle together one last time,” said the statement.

“This is a truly sad situation, but nothing compares to the disasters happening in our CHSLDs, the job losses, the small business closings, not to mention everything else that is making the news right now.”  

In an accompanying video, Delisle said the intimate atmosphere her customers have come to expect cannot be recreated while patrons and staff maintain the rules of physical distancing.  

“I know it’s disappointing. It’s disappointing for me and my team, we planned a beautiful summer and beautiful evenings,” she said. “But what can you do? It’s out of our control. It’s planet-wide. There are billions of people in the same situation, so we have no choice but to accept it.”  

In an effort to offer a measure of comfort to her disappointed clients and staff, Delisle is inviting anyone with fond memories of their time at Le 281 to share them on social media.

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