My good friend Sean David, owner of Johnny’s, and his staff are about to celebrate the 34th anniversary of the iconic Johnny’s Strip Bar. Since Johnny’s is known throughout the world, I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you all about Sean’s journey in the United States and how he ended up owning Johnny’s.
Sean David moved to south Florida in 1995 from Israel. He was 23 years old, young and determined to succeed and to “make it big” in the USA.
Soon enough he realized that dreams are for those who are sleeping, and reality had a completely different agenda for him. In spite of all the difficulties that came from his decision to move to the United States, he considers “his story” to be a magical one.
Shortly after he moved to Miami, he started to dance at the world-famous “Boardwalk.” He didn’t know anything whatsoever about that place, or about the “male dancers’ world.” After all, he came from Jerusalem – the holiest city in the world.
Boardwalk, at the time, was located in Sunny Isles (where he resides now, accidently or not) and it was a small spot, about 1800 square feet, dark and hidden away, without an outdoor sign to help people locate it.
When he started dancing there, he felt awesome as he got guys to admire his look (he says he used to look very sexy…and asks everyone not to laugh!). Guys would pay him for that? Wow – what a boost of ego it was to Sean, although admittedly he never had a shortage of that. After dancing for about six or seven months, he wanted more out of life.
Fast forward to April 2001. He opened the new Boardwalk Fort Lauderdale with Mr. Victor Zepka. “I owned the place I used to work at, and I was filled with pride. I felt satisfied and accomplished,” he said.
After a wonderful four and a half years with the Boardwalk, he decided to sell his shares and move on. After visiting his family in Israel, he traveled to other places (Brazil, Mexico, Europe etc.), but got bored.
In 2008, he decided that he want to get back to the business he loved so much – and decided he wanted to buy Johnny’s from its original owner and namesake Johnny Moses. Keep in mind, Johnny’s was not for sale, but he was determined and convinced Johnny it was time to sell. (Sean and Johnny still have a wonderful relationship to this day.) Sean was determined to take Johnny’s to the next level, and bring to south Florida a quality of hot, young, attractive dancers, between the ages of 18 and 26, who were not pushy or disrespectful. Ones who can sit down with anyone and strike up a conversation on almost anything. Ones who could be your friend. His goal was to change the bad perception dancers used to have.
He started by hiring an all new staff of dancers, and taught them first to respect their job and themselves. “How could you expect others to respect you, if you don’t respect yourself?” he used to ask them. He also taught them to appreciate their job and opportunity, and created an entire system, from “meeting and greeting” the customer to the “have a good night and see you soon.”
He admits he has always blessed with great management, and wonderful employees who helped him to achieve the goals he presented to the team.
Today Johnny’s is one of the leading male dance bars in the state of Florida and one of the oldest in the U.S.
With over 60 house dancers performing daily from 5 p.m. on into the early morning (2 a.m. daily, 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday), they offer two different rooms – one dark with lots of happenings (they call it the “dancers’ side”, simply because you’ll find the dancers there) and the Lounge side, where you’ll find a well-lit room, pool tables, hookahs, light music, TVs, a huge projector, and a friendly bartender who always shares a big smile.
Johnny’s is celebrating 34 years in business this month with many specials throughout the entire month of September. On September 19 and 20, they will present their official anniversary party with no cover charge. On Saturday, September 20, the community is getting together to roast Sean. Seven celebrities in the community will make fun of Sean starting at 9:30 p.m. This is sure to be a blast!
Sean asked me to invite the entire community to come out to his anniversary weekend. He also asks you all to come over and say hi to him or any of his staff: dancers, bartenders, security, MCs, etc., and to be a part of history!