Clip joint

Clip joint

A clip joint or fleshpot is an establishment, usually a strip club or entertainment bar, typically one claiming to offer adult entertainment or bottle service, in which customers are tricked into paying money and receive poor goods or services, or none, in return. Typically, clip joints suggest the possibility of sex, charge excessively high prices for watered-down drinks, and then eject customers when they become unwilling or unable to spend more money. The product or service may be illicit, offering the victim no recourse through official or legal channels.

In the United States, clip joints were widespread during the national prohibition of alcohol from 1920 to 1933. They are generally outlawed in America now. For instance, the New York State Liquor Authority will impose penalties against any licensed premise permitting such conduct. Clip joints still operate openly in some areas of the world, such as Shanghai, where they prey on visiting foreigners.[1][2]


The scam

A typical scenario involves a young adult male (typically a tourist) being approached by a beautiful woman (typically either a local or claiming to be) who recommends a "favourite local" bar or club. The man is usually seated at a table and joined by a "hostess," who may or may not order drinks. Whether or not any "services" are performed or drinks are ordered has little bearing on the outlandish bill received at the end of the night. Bills are commonly hundreds of pounds, listing things like a "hostess fee" or "service charge." The arrival of the bill typically corresponds with the arrival of a few large bouncers to ensure payment.

The beautiful woman or women who originally lured the mark to the location will often make an excuse and leave prior to the arrival of the bill. If confronted the establishment will claim that they have no connection with the woman and indicate that she arrived with the mark, and as such the mark is responsible for all of the items on the bill.

This scam is in a legal grey area if extortion is not explicitly involved, since there is no law against charging high prices and the customer is primarily responsible for determining the prices of services to be rendered before accepting them.

Often, a clip joint employee will wait near a legitimate club, and invite passing pedestrians into a "VIP" area. The potential customers are meant to believe that the person works for the nearby club, though they may not explicitly say so. Once inside, drinks are usually alcohol free (as they usually don't have a licence) or watered down and overpriced with no prices listed on the menu, and (as is typical) unrequested companion(s) may also arrive at the table.

Clip joints in the United Kingdom

A number of clip joints (or "near beer bars") still operate in London's Soho area, alongside legitimate strip bars. Since 2007, the London Local Authorities Act reclassified clip joints as sex establishments, meaning that they required relevant licences, closing a loophole where these businesses did not need a licence to operate because they did not serve food or alcohol or provide entertainment. [3]

As recently as 2009, 2 people were jailed for 36 and 14 months respectively after threatening an undercover police officer. [4]

Bottle service clubs

The Manhattan bottle service club, Arena, was sued in 2007 for their version of the clip joint scam. In December 2007, a patron knowingly purchased a $350 bottle of vodka, but was not told of a 3 bottle minimum. At the end of the night, he was presented with a $1050 tab that included two unordered bottles. When he refused to pay, the Arena bouncers beat him up. The patron agreed to get money from an ATM. The bouncers escorted him two blocks to the ATM, where his debit card was declined. The bouncers then dragged him back to the bar, where he was held until police arrived. He was arrested for theft of services but the charges were dismissed. [5]

Cultural references

The film "Marked Woman", starring Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart portrays a clip joint.


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • clip joint — n informal [Date: 1900 2000; Origin: clip to charge too much money, cheat (1900 2000), from CLIP22] a ↑nightclub that charges an unfairly high price for drinks …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • clip joint — clip ,joint noun count INFORMAL OLD FASHIONED a store, restaurant, or NIGHTCLUB that is too expensive …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • clip joint — clip′ joint n. cvb sts Slang. a business, esp. a place of entertainment, that makes a practice of overcharging or cheating customers • Etymology: 1930–35 …   From formal English to slang

  • clip joint — ☆ clip joint n. Slang a nightclub, restaurant, store, etc. that charges excessive prices …   English World dictionary

  • clip joint — noun a place of entertainment where high prices are charged for poor entertainment • Hypernyms: ↑spot * * * noun Etymology: clip (III) slang 1. : a place of public entertainment (as a café or nightclub) that makes a practice of defr …   Useful english dictionary

  • clip joint — {n.}, {slang} A low class night club or other business where people are cheated. * /The man got drunk and lost all his money in a clip joint./ * /The angry woman said the store was a clip joint./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • clip joint — {n.}, {slang} A low class night club or other business where people are cheated. * /The man got drunk and lost all his money in a clip joint./ * /The angry woman said the store was a clip joint./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • clip\ joint — noun slang A low class night club or other business where people are cheated. The man got drunk and lost all his money in a clip joint. The angry woman said the store was a clip joint …   Словарь американских идиом

  • clip joint — n. a business establishment that cheats customers. □ That place is a clip joint. Stay away. □ The clip joint on Fourth Street was busted last night …   Dictionary of American slang and colloquial expressions

  • clip joint — a low class business where people are cheated They went into a clip joint near the bus station and had to pay a lot of money …   Idioms and examples

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