Inside Canada’s Most Northern Strip Club

To the regulars, Harley's Hardrock Saloon in Yellowknife, Northwest Territoried is an unpretentious, no-nonsense place to down a beer or 12. To more than a few citizens, it's a slightly spicy final stop after a night of carousing. To others, it's...

|
Jul 2 2015, 6:45pm

Regular "Cominco" Greg Loftus and friend. All photos by Angela Gzowski for EdgeYK.

With its wooden walls covered in mining-inspired artwork and memorabilia, Harley's Hardrock Saloon feels more basement rec room than strip club.

Since 1994, it has occupied a unique spot in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories as the most northern strip club in all of Canada.

To the regulars, it's an unpretentious, no-nonsense place to down a beer or 12. To more than a few citizens, it's a slightly spicy final stop after a night of carousing. To others, it's straight up a den of iniquity.

Love it or hate it, its habitués are fascinating: from the dancers are independent contractors who travel thousands of kilometres for two weeks of work, many of whom love the place and regularly return. To the staff—in a town where people constantly change jobs—many have worked there since just after it opened. And then of course there's the cast of characters that make up the regulars.

In the end, Harley's is a community and it's really beautiful. That's what I found, anyway, and these are the photos I took, along with some conversations I had while taking them.

Follow Angela Gzowski on Twitter.

Entrance to Harley's.

Skull disco ball.

Inside Harley's.

A bison skull adds to the decor on the walls.

Buddy Mercredi enjoys a beer at his regular spot.

Savannah Cruz.

The dancer rules are stapled to the wall in the tiny change room.

Old drum signed from the band Guardian. Before it was a strip club it use to host bands regularly.

Mallice Vixxen on the pole.

Savannah Cruz in heels on stage.

If you come on Wednesday the shows start at 3 pm.

Nikki Darling.

Savannah Cruz switching into her next outfit.

Mallice Vixxen told me that other women are often her toughest audience.

Devoted patrons: Michael Handley and his dog Mahwah.

Nikki Darling: “If you’re going to spend that much money at a strip club, you’re kind of a bit socially awkward in my opinion.”

Savannah Cruz.

Ava Agulera playing solitaire during her break while Citrus dances on stage.

More VICE
Vice Channels