The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

City Council Committee Approves Plan To Allow Strip Clubs To Serve Booze

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 27, 2014 11:20PM


A proposal that has the support of Ald. Ed Burke would allow strip clubs in Chicago to make it rain and pour if approved by the full City Council.

The ordinance sponsored by Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) would allow gentlemen’s clubs to offer seminude dancing and sell liquor in the same establishment. Currently owners of strip clubs have to choose between the two, although VIP’s A Gentlemen’s Club on Kingsbury has long billed itself as Chicago’s “only full liquor and topless bar” and fought with the city for nearly 20 years over the letter of the law. Attorneys for VIP’s parent company argued the current ordinance is unconstitutional and that they were honoring it because their dancers wear thongs and cover their nipples and areolas. The city later allowed VIP’s to stay open after the club paid disputed back taxes and fees.

Waguespack’s ordinance closes a loophole where “live entertainment cabarets,” adult bookstores and movie houses can swap uses without applying for a special use permit or honoring zoning restrictions. Waguespack’s proposal will ensure a strip club won’t be allowed within 1,000 feet of a school, religious institution and planned manufacturing or residentially zoned districts. This is apparently good enough for Burke, who said he is okay with it.

(A) world-class city like Chicago in terms of entertainment ought to have realistic kinds of adult entertainment venues that don’t create a problem in the neighborhood,” Burke said.

If approved by the full City Council the ordinance would be great for a place like the Admiral Theater which allows stripping but no booze. Burke noted during the discussion on Waguespack’s proposal he was responsible for the current draconian law on the books.

It would guarantee in Chicago that you couldn’t get rubbed the wrong way,” he punned.