A three-story strip club opening this month in downtown Minneapolis may bring some competition to adult entertainment operators clustered along Hennepin Avenue.
Spearmint Rhino Gentlemen's Club, a converted 11,500-square-foot full-liquor topless bar, will open its first location in the state at 725 Hennepin Av. on April 16.
The club, nestled between the Skyway Theatre and Union Rooftop restaurant, will boast two formal stages, a bar, a VIP section on the mezzanine level, a dining area and private rooms in the basement.
The Narco, Calif.-based Spearmint Rhino Consulting Worldwide Inc. has a global reach, with 33 U.S. locations and properties in the United Kingdom and Australia.
Chris Dahl, general manager of the Minneapolis branch, said construction began on the space in January.
Former tenants Skyway Lounge and Lure Show Club also were strip clubs, but the building has remained vacant since the latter closed in 2013.
"We feel that we're getting into a very good market; it's a strong economy [in Minneapolis], and we're willing to compete with the other clubs," said Dahl, who has spent his career in the bar and restaurant industry.
The building was gutted right down to its cement walls and received a face-lift costing nearly seven figures, Dahl said. About 6,000 square feet from the previously undeveloped basement were renovated for administration purposes, locker rooms and kitchen space.
The international chain is branded as an upscale adult entertainment destination, which Dahl attributes to the facility itself — where everything is custom-made for the location.
"It's like going from a family steakhouse to Manny's," he said. "When you walk in, you know you're in an upscale venue."
Spearmint Rhino's landlord is BTN Properties, which also owns and operates several non-adult entertainment businesses nearby, including the Skyway Theatre, Maruso Street Food & Cocktails and Bar Fly.
BTN could not be reached for comment Saturday.
For security, Spearmint Rhino will check all of its patrons with metal-detector wands and refuse to admit a "crowd that we feel is going to be a danger to people who are already inside," said Dahl — for example, people who are clearly overly intoxicated.
Dahl, of Lake Geneva, Wis., got involved in the adult entertainment industry while in Las Vegas during the recession.
He previously owned a bar in Lake Geneva called Skinny's South Shore, which he sold in 2008.
Dahl relocated to the Twin Cities to launch Spearmint Rhino. The club anticipates a staff of about 25, plus 40 to 60 dancers — most of whom are locals. Ten women employed by the parent company will be flown in from various clubs around the world to help launch the site.
Dahl still is taking applications for bartenders, servers, door attendants, DJs, office clerks and barbacks/porters.
When it opens later this month, the Minneapolis location will operate every day from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Liz Sawyer • 612-673-4648