Two “champagne clubs” in Reykjavík have drawn media attention for taking advantage of a legal gray area.
The two clubs in question – Crystal in east Reykjavík, and the aptly-named VIP Club on Austurstræti – were contacted by and visited by reporters for Vísir.
A reporter who went undercover to Crystal described the club as “upholstered with fake leather” and festooned with chandeliers. There were two-seater booths, as well as a “private area”. Five women “of foreign origin” sat together in one part of the room, dressed in lingerie and high heels. The reporter was not permitted to speak with these women unless he bought them champagne, which the reporter declined to do.
Staff were a bit more forthcoming at VIP Club. Again, scantily clad women sat waiting for clients. They told the reporter that they were from Slovenia, had only been in Iceland for a week, and spoke little English. They also said they lived together in a small apartment. One woman, the reporter observed, appeared to be their supervisor, as they sought her permission to respond whenever the reporter asked a question.
At one point, the reporter was told he could take one of the women to a back area of the club, where he could do “whatever he wanted”. This would cost 20,000 ISK for ten minutes alone with the woman.
While strip clubs were banned in Iceland in 2010, the women who work at these two clubs do not undress, at least not in the public area, and so the clubs do not violate the law where that area is concerned. However, the offer of “anything you want” with a female staff member in exchange for money could indicate extra-legal activity at work.