His plan is already in play in strip clubs across the country as Lowrie sits in a booth at the Diamond Cabaret Steakhouse, outlining his vision. The room hosts a ministage with one of his entertainers dancing her shift. Under the restaurant's low light, Lowrie dines on ahi tuna and a good bottle of red wine. This particular booth happens to be "Bobby's booth," where one of the Diamond's original owners, Bobby Rifkin, held court. Rifkin was a legendary Denver character who ran several restaurants and nightclubs before opening the Diamond Cabaret in 1991, his only topless club. Rifkin, a friendly competitor of Hal's, had something Lowrie's father and, for that matter, Lowrie himself has never been able to attain: respectability. Denver held both Rifkin and his Diamond in high regard.
Described as a cross between Danny DeVito and Napoleon, even friends say Rifkin was outspoken, brash, and at times self-centered. Then one day Rifkin changed. At age 66, doctors told him he had prostate cancer. Suddenly Rifkin found religion and made it his mission to raise $1 million to eradicate the disease. His annual male-only fund-raisers stocked a hush-hush list of rich Denver men who ponied up $1,000 each for a special night at the Diamond. Ultimately he reached his fund-raising goal with one last party held after his death. At the end of his life, legitimacy and respect suddenly became a priority for Rifkin.
Lowrie constantly battles the strip-club-owner stereotype-Tony Soprano up to no good in the back room of the Bada Bing. Lowrie wants to be more than that. Partly because it's good for business-respectability helps assuage reticent investors and helps with VCG's SEC standing-and partly because he wants it for his father and his own family. And so Lowrie's taken a page from Rifkin's book with his charitable strategies. After Hal's death in 1994, Lowrie and Pam created the Lowrie Family Foundation. The Lowries have plenty of money to give, but the foundation is also a charitable strategy for the business-an investment. Sometimes a strip club needs to buy some goodwill. Early on, he discovered not everyone would take his money. But in October 2004, the Lowrie Family Foundation made a donation that made Denver's philanthropic community finally take notice. The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation accepted $100,000 of Lowrie's money and asked him to introduce Jay Leno at their gala. Lowrie believes he should get credit for his gifts no matter how he earned the money. Everyone else does. Rifkin did.