Outbacks – out of here

General manager John Haggarty shows the Omega around the new club. PHOTOS BY TATIANA SALISBURY

Jessica Wallace: Arts & Entertainment Editor  Ω

If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard about any incidents at Outbacks in the Village Hotel lately, it’s because it has closed and reopened as the Duchess on Tranquille.

After the closing of the Rendezvous in 2009, Outbacks became the only strip club left in Kamloops. John Haggarty, general manager of the property, said that he felt a responsibly to provide Kamloops with a place for exotic dancers.

“Outbacks had a spotty reputation,” Haggarty said.

With half a million dollars in renovations by a new owner, the Duchess has earned the right to drop the Outbacks reputation.

Walking in, everything looks brand new. Leather couches, glowing acrylic floors, tiled bathrooms, chairs tables, flat screen televisions—the list of shiny new hardware goes on and on. The easiest way to explain it may be to imagine Outbacks being put on one of those television shows like Restaurant Makeover—you get the idea.

“We have moved to the front where it is much more professional,” Haggarty said.

The bar has adopted TreoScope which swipes patrons’ identifications as they enter. As well, a capacity of 190 people allows for a more casual atmosphere. Haggarty said they don’t play UFC on their televisions because it makes people want to fight.

“We can see when people have been flagged for trouble at other bars, and we don’t let them in,” Haggarty said of the new security method.

Haggarty said that the Duchess is focused on being three things: a social scene, a place with exotic dancing and a nightclub.

They have designed a lounge area with televisions, pool tables and plenty of seating including leather couches. Watching a hockey game or two isn’t uncommon in the lounge area. Servers are walking around, and you can order food while a large bar sits in front of all the guests. Call it the PG area because the boobs are relatively out of sight.

“We brought in Troy Lucas out of Vancouver who has a lot of food and beverage experience to train our staff,” Haggarty said. “We are setting higher standards and have an emphasis on fresh food.”

For those wishing to get closer to the action, there are also booths around the outskirts of the exotic dancing area, raised up higher than the main level so you can still see even though you’re in the back. For up close and personal, there are seats directly around the stage—probably close enough to get hit by the showers which some of the dancers choose to use while on stage.

The dance floor beside the stage shines with funky lighting, strobe lights, disco ball, smoke machine and a DJ. I could picture myself busting a groove on this floor, though competing with strippers may not be on my to-do list.

You wouldn’t know it by the black paint on the door, but behind the dance floor, Haggarty led us into a room where private dances take place.

A completely black room with four stalls, a large leather chair in each, seats guests willing to pay $35 per song for a private dance. Haggarty insisted that there is no contact allowed between dancer and patron, and that the DJ watches from his booth to ensure that there is no misconduct.

This is a completely new bar and worthy of being checked out, at the very least to compare it to Outbacks.

Haggarty recommends students check out the Duchess on Wednesdays (Amateur Night) or Thursdays (Wet and Wild Fetish Night) for a fun night filled with food and drink specials. Arrive around 9 p.m. because with their small capacity, the Duchess has been seeing long lineups lately.

Montana, a Duchess exotic dancer, poses at the entrance.