Welcome to GoldFinger


Has Reykjavík turned into a sex capital? Sitting at Maxim´s early in the evening, drinking cups of coffee, Davídsson wonders about all the fuss.

Look, you basically only have three or maybe four clubs that people really come into. There´s Maxim´s and Ódal and of course my new club, Goldfinger, he says, making sure to plug his new business venture. The other clubs in town are not that popular.

To meet Davídsson is instantly to like him. With an ability to spin words like a fast- talking politician, Davídsson defies the image of the stereotypical strip bar owner. His gregarious personality matches his oversize frame; he speaks with ease of someone who´s making garbage bags full of money. Most importantly, though, he treats his staff with a great deal of respect, takes them on trips to the Icelandic country side and makes sure all his girls get paid. And paid well.

You hear stories of girls that come to Iceland but don´t make what they expect. This isn´t necessarily because they are being ripped off by owners. It´s just that they end up in bad clubs. Just how prosperous are Maxim´s and Goldfinger? Walk past Maxim´s at 3 a.m. and witness the revilers queuing to get a peak inside, or on a weekday, after the pubs close, head for Goldfinger- the only bar in the Reykjavík area open seven days a week until 6 a.m.- and witness taxis driving up to the entrance one after the other like a giant caravan on its way to a Grateful Dead concert.

It´s this type of popularity that caused the Icelandic government to take a closer look at the industry. When the clubs first opened, a law on the Icelandic books started that artists could enter the country without a work permit and stay for 30 days, then left, only to return at a later date. Today the law still stands, but it´s been amended so that it ceases to cover those working in night clubs.

The dancers are still coming and nobody seems to care because, despite the fact that this industry is normally associated with drugs and prostitution, it´s remained relatively clean in Iceland thanks to the fact that most clubs are located downtown, in the midst of Reykjavík´s cultural happenings.

We keep hearing that there´s no drugs or prostitution in these clubs, says Kolbrún Halldórsdóttir, Minister of Parliament from the Left Green Party, one of the politicians responsible for proposing legislation to regulate the industry. Icelanders can be a bit naive. In other cultures, prostitution and drugs often follow this industry so why should Iceland be any different. Ask Davidsson about prostitution and he laughs.

Look, a commission sent around undercover guys to find prostitution in the clubs. They tried to lure girls into prostitution by offering them 5,000 dollars to go home and sleep with them. Go out to deCODE[a genomics company] and offer those girls that type of money and see how many takers you get. Prostitution? Not in my club.

They come for the promise of money. Women from across Easter Europe, Scandinavia, the States and Canada most plucked from desolate situations where jobs are scarce arrive in Iceland seeking small fortunes as dancers.

For most of these women, the promise is delivered dancers have an earning potential of a Michael Milken. Exactly how much money, thought, is up for debate, but Davidsson insists that a good dancer can make up to ISK 1 million (USD 12,000) per month.

And they earn this cash. Most work 12-hour shifts, six days a week.

I was working in a bakery from six in the morning to four at night and it was terrible, says Helga, one of the few dancers from Iceland. Now i can meet a lot of people and have a few drinks and make good money. It´s much different from a regular job.

Much different indeed. Like Milken, the Junk Bond king, a dancer´s road to these big cash pay-offs is thought to be dubious.

The controversy revolves around what takes place when a dancer and patron grab a bottle of champagne and disappear behind the curtain. The private show. Marsha, one of Maxim´s best earners, who hails from Denmark, says that when some girls start out in the business they look to make extra money by offering special favors, but they quickly learn what´s professional and what´s not how far to push the fantasy. It´s all about getting the guy to lke you; tease him so he´ll buy more provate shows. Men are stupid that way. But it´s purely business. Nothing happens. That´s why they call it striptease, Marsha says ith a coy smile, twirling the silver lace of her slinky dress.

Marsha is a dancer at the top of her profession. She works long hours, from 9 p.m. to 10 a.m., six days a week, but makes obscene amounts of cash as she travels between Iceland and Denmark, where her boyfriend has his home. To say she´s exploited or lacks dignity is just not rue. She exudes confidence and enjoys her work. Everbody that comes here wants me! she says.

So what´s al the fuss about? The owners of established clubs, like Ódal and Maxim´s, treat their dancers with respect (at Ódal, bouncers even peek behind the curtain to make sure no hanky-panky takes place) and the seedy side of the industry drugs, prostitution seems to absent. Yes, dancers work a brutal schedule, Yes, dancing appears to be the only choice for those that come from low-income areas in Eastern bloc counties.

But at least in Iceland they´re not sex slaves, and they´re making oodles of money.

Regardless of the money, though, Halldórsdóttir says those women lose their dignity when they are forced into selling sex even the idea of sex because no other opportunities exist. If we want to offer families from poor regions opportunities in Iceland we should do it in different ways where they have the opportunity to keep their dignity while earning money, says Halldórsdóttir.

The MP insists that these clubs appeal to the shadowy side of human beings, the dark side of culture. Yet she´s the first to say that calling them all pornographic is difficult, admitting that she´s in a grey area as far as defining what is pornographic eroticism is not pornographic. Men and women performing a sexual act hehind a curtain isn´t necessarily pornographic. But when money is exchanged... and alcohol is incolved, that makes the difference.

Get in Touch!

Telephone: +354 5718000

Email: goldfinger@goldfinger.is

Smidjuvegur 14 
Kópavogur 200,  Iceland

Opening hours

week dags:

21:00 - 01:00

weekend:

21:00 - 5:30