Pole to Pulpit: Alaska Stripclub Becomes a Baptist Church

Fantasies on 5th, a strip club in Anchorage, Alaska, was plagued by wage issues and the Supreme Court of Alaska blocking its liquor permit renewal had to give way to a new establishment. In October 2020, amidst the global pandemic, the Open Door Baptist Church opened in the same building where the strip club used to be.

Linda Dunegan, a real estate investor, wanted to give new life to the building that used to house Fantasies on 5th. She took the opportunity to buy the building then rented the first floor to Open Door Baptist Church.

During the opening of the Open Door Baptist Church, locals were curious about it, especially given what the space used to be. Almost 80 people were present at the first sermon during the church opening. Nearly a year later, the Open Door Baptist Church is set to celebrate its first anniversary. They’re doing fine, for a church, averaging at 45 attendees every Sunday.

The church is now located between an adult sex shop and a Marijuana dispensary. Oregon Pastor, Kenny Mendez, has a very positive outlook with his small but growing congregation. He is hoping that the church will help put “some light right here.” Pastor Mendez believes that “God is pleased to have a change, a transformation in the building, a place that really ultimately points more people towards him instead of away.”

Fantasies on 5th had a mixed review on their yelp account, which still exists even after years of the non-operation. The mixed review is fine and is typically expected from an establishment that caters to different people almost every day. The strip club’s demise started in 2019 when it encountered strong pushback when it renewed its liquor license.

The Alcohol and Beverage Control Board of Alaska received complaints from former employees, including complaints from the Municipality of Anchorage and the Department of Labor regarding supposed wage violation and management misconduct. The most significant pushback to the strip clubs’ liquor license renewal was the lawsuits filed by former dancers who were not paid appropriately.

Now, the only occupant of the three-story building is the Open Door Baptist Church. Linda is planning to rent out the second floor and is considering using the third floor as an office for a Children’s Benefit Foundation.

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