Photo by Mike Higgins/Facebook

It’s official: Fox Showroom Pub, Victoria’s last remaining strip club, has formally announced a sudden and permanent closure.

In a message to staff on Monday night, management at the Red Lion Inn stated that recent violent incidents at the Fox had resulted in rising insurance rates for all the businesses on the Red Lion property.

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According to the memo, any future legal action brought against the strip club would result in the closure of all four businesses on the property.

Therefore the decision was made to not renew the insurance on the Fox and instead shut down the strip club for good.

This closure was also formally announced on their Facebook page on Monday night.

“For reasons beyond our control, we are sorry to announce the permanent closure of The Fox,” reads the post.

“Many thanks to all of our staff for being with us until the very end, and to all of our cherished customers that were like extended family.”

Breaking up the family

The news came as a shock to staff members who had been working there for years, including long time DJ Mike Higgins.

“Basically we are a family at the Fox. Most of us that have been there for quite a while, nobody really comes and goes fast at that bar as opposed to a lot of bars in the hospitality industry that have a massive turnover,” Higgins told Victoria Buzz.

Higgins, who has experience working in other bars and clubs in Victoria, says that the Fox Showroom has not been privy to more violent incidents than other establishments in town that serve alcohol.

“I’ve seen violent incidents take place on both our grounds and the grounds of other places that haven’t resulted in us being shut down.”

“A lot of us are still wrapping our heads around this and trying to figure out our next steps. The quality of people that we had that worked with us every week are really high quality so I think everyone’s gonna be fine.”

In particular, Higgins expressed disappointment at the fact that the Fox never got to complete a rebranding which would showcase just how inclusive the club is.

“The Fox defied a lot of the stereotypes, and most importantly the performers really did. Lots of these people didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, had long term relationships, were empowering feminists, and icons in the Pride community,” he says.

According to Higgins, the club also had a diverse clientele including regulars who would frequent the venue several times a week.

“Our relationship with the clientele was mostly very positive. We have what was considered to be a very inclusive environment with lots of regulars who became part of the extended family.”

History

The venue that currently houses the Fox Showroom Pub was originally a steakhouse, and became a strip club at the Red Lion Inn during the mid 1980’s.

According to their website, the club served as a launching pad for many successful Playboy Bunnies, Penthouse Pets, Hustler Honey’s and adult film stars.

The Fox reached its peak during the late 90s thanks to promotional events like Octopussy, The Dirty Dozen, Fox Hunt Rookie Competition, Ms. Nude BC Preliminaries and Annual Wet Tee’s.

They also introduced Amateur Nights in 1994, in which inexperienced performers got to try out their acts.

The club closed for nearly 2 years after a fire in Diego’s Lounge – located directly above the Fox – caused extensive damage to the establishment in 2001.

It reopened again in 2003 after repairs, and until last night, featured exotic dancers from all over Western Canada.

The Fox Showroom became Victoria’s last remaining strip club after the closure of Monty’s Showroom Pub at the Victoria Plaza Hotel in 2013.