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BANGOR, Maine — About six months after Bangor’s only gentlemen’s club was shut down, another is poised to take its place — in the same spot.
Diamonds is still at least three to four weeks away from opening, according to the man renovating the club at 190 Harlow St., formerly occupied by Diva’s.
“I’m quite comfortable that nobody in Bangor has seen anything like what we’ll look like, from the granite countertops to the decor of the club,” said Jimmie Ellis, a professional consultant and designer of men’s clubs for more than 30 years. “It’ll be very apparent that we’ve spent $365,000 in updating this facility.”
Diva’s was the men’s club owned by Diane Cormier. It was shut down after Cormier was evicted for nonpayment of rent after an 18-month legal battle with landlord Tom Brann of Hampden. Cormier operated the club in Bangor for 14 years at two different locations. Diva’s operated on Harlow Street from 2008 though August of last year.
Ellis was hired and brought to Bangor from Mobile, Ala., by Arayos LLC, the owner of Diamonds. Arayos is listed in Bangor city records as a partnership between Taylor Trust of Bangor and Red Brick Trust of Portland.
And while Diamonds won’t be featuring nude or topless female entertainers, Ellis claims it will be the top gentleman’s club in northern New England.
“My desire is to change the initial impression of the place from the moment you arrive,” he said. “It’s very important with men — when 95 percent of the ones sitting in the room aren’t supposed to be here anyway — if you want them to spend money, there needs to be an inherent comfort level.”
Arayos has spent nearly $60,000 on wiring and plumbing alone just to bring the property up to code, Ellis said.
According to Bangor Assistant City Solicitor Paul Nicklas, Diamonds will be operating under two restrictions governing nude or seminude entertainment.
“You cannot have nudity or partial nudity and a liquor license in the same establishment, regardless of location,” Nicklas said, referring to city ordinances. “And in that particular location, zoning law doesn’t allow nude entertainment at all.”
Ellis said Diamonds can operate successfully under those restrictions.
“There is money in the business if you’re doing it right. There’s no need to do anything illegal or fight the system,” he said. “Guys will go wherever the edge is. If there’s a bikini [regulation] and there are three bikini bars here, then you can make money if you’re the best bikini bar.”
While Diamonds won’t be a bikini bar, its performers will be wearing bikini bottoms or thongs, and patches or pasties to cover their nipples.
The club space, which has increased from 2,000 square feet to 6,600, will have a capacity of 250 people and feature one main stage, two smaller satellite stages styled to look like cages with brass bars, a full bar and a DJ booth in the center of the room.
Ellis said the club’s application for a liquor license has been approved by the city and the club is now awaiting state approval of the liquor license, a certificate of occupancy and other legal paperwork as work continues.
That work includes the installation of four “VIP rooms” featuring fireplaces and leather furniture, another space with 12 couches for private dances, men’s and women’s public restrooms with outside attendants, and a dressing room and private bathroom featuring showers and 80 lockers for the entertainers.