More on Climax

The response to Wednesday’s post on the world’s only drive-thru strip club warrants some follow-up. To start, I got a few questions about the club itself. Climax had been a strip club for decades prior to adding the drive-thru in the year 2000. It was that groundbreaking addition that really put the club on the map, and thrust it into the news.

As to cost, prices for the drive-thru varied from $5 a minute when it opened in 2000 up to $10 a minute (and $20 a minute for couples) in 2008. Later in 2008, a Yelp reviewer1 mentioned a price of $5 a person for a 2 minute song, which sounds like the most bang for your buck, but still wouldn’t be any actual bang for your buck.2

In an attempt to cash in on the mild notoriety gained from being the world’s only drive-thru strip club, owner Nick Fratangelo tried to sell the club via eBay auction, back in 2005. That attempt was unsuccessful, so he ran the club until his death in 2009, after which the club was shuttered.

Of course, even before it was closed, it pretty much looked closed. Below is the site in 2011:

Climax in 2011

And thanks to friend-of-the-site Marco Arment, a picture from his own incredulous stop back in 2006:

Climax in 2006
Until seeing this picture, I never realized that was an LED sign.

Apart from the sign being off, and the lack of a privacy trellis in front of the back door, there’s very little difference between the defunct roadside strip club and the actively seedy open version. Also, so as to not besmirch his character, Marco assured me that not only did he not go in, he was “too scared to get out of the car”. No word on whether he visited the drive-thru.3

As for how I discovered Climax, Todd reminded me that our visit to the grounds was not the first time we’d seen the establishment. We’d actually first noted it while driving his moving truck from Boston to Pittsburgh in 2010. It wasn’t until twelve months later when I visited again and we were en route to a wedding, that we finally had a chance to stop and document the whole thing. And yes, that does mean the photos are from 2011. My efficiency could use some work, but you’ve have to give me points for my stick-to-itiveness.

Given that my pictures were over two years old, I should note that I’m told Climax’s buildings are still standing, eyesores as ever. Their sign, however, is now gone. Apparently, a small piece of Climax did finally sell on eBay.

Climax Auction
This would have looked great in so many places around my house.

That about wraps up my coverage of Climax, but if you still want more, there are two great resources you won’t find at your local library. Marty Levine wrote a piece for Salon when the drive-thru first opened in 2000. It confirms my thoughts that the whole encounter would be awkwardly silent, and also includes an interview with a dancer who indicated that if a visitor wants more than a few minutes, “[y]ou just run out of things to do”. You may also enjoy this post’s comments on Reddit. User “beentoclimax” even offered a brief Q & A, where you can hear all about the nude pool show.


  1. Yes, they were on Yelp. Why, where do you go to check out reviews of seedy strip clubs? ↩︎

  2. OK, I’m slightly sorry for that one. ↩︎

  3. Alright, alright, he didn’t visit the drive-thru either. ↩︎