Portland’s only strip club rebrands after troubled past

advertisementSmiley face

Located near the Westbrook city line, the recently rebranded Rick’s Cabaret – formerly known as PT’s Showclub and before that, Mark’s Showplace – is a true outlier among Portland businesses.

It is the only strip club in Portland, often associated more with trouble than with merriment.

Rick's Cabaret, Portland
The former PT’s Showclub on Riverside Street in Portland, originally known as Mark’s Showplace, reopened as Rick’s Cabaret after the Portland club and others in the PT’s chain were acquired by Houston-based RCI Hospitality Holdings. (Portland Phoenix/Colin Ellis)

The new name represents new ownership. RCI Hospitality Holdings of Houston acquired PT’s Showclub last July as part of its $88 million purchase of 11 adult nightclubs and properties across six states. In 2019 the clubs generated more than $40 million in revenue.

RCI boasts it is the country’s leading owner of “gentlemen’s clubs” and sports bars/restaurants, with 50 businesses around the country. Its other properties operate under names including XTC, Club Onyx, Vivid Cabaret, Jaguars Club, Tootsie’s Cabaret, Scarlett’s Cabaret, and Bombshells Restaurant & Bar. It has more than 2,200 employees and annual revenue of more than $181 million. 

Former PT’s owner Troy Lowrie, who controlled nine of the clubs acquired by RCI and lives in Colorado, remains a shareholder in publicly owned RCI. “These clubs have been my father’s and my life’s work,” he said in a press release. “We’re pleased to have realized their value.”

The 200 Riverside St. club opened in 1991 as Mark’s Showplace before being sold several times. For a time it also operated a topless donut shop, which, unlike the bar, allowed patrons as young as 18 years old.

In 2016, a dispute that began at the Portland club ended elsewhere with a fatal stabbing. In 2017, a taxi driver’s throat was slashed in the club’s parking lot, and the group that owned the PT’s chain was sued in federal court for allegedly exploiting its dancers, although the dancers’ attempt at establishing a class action against the company was unsuccessful.

In 2018 the bar had an infamous guest performer for two nights: adult film star Stormy Daniels (real name: Stephanie Clifford), trading on her claims of a sexual encounter with Donald Trump.

Most recently, in 2019, the Portland club was investigated by police after an employee claimed she was sexually assaulted. 

A former owner, Mark Deane, later opened Mark’s Place, a Fore Street bar and nightclub.

Edited March 3, 2022, to clarify the history of Mark’s Showplace and PT’s Showclub.

Smiley face