Strippers

Topless Dancing and Alcohol Sales May Meet Again in Chicago

"Put a G-string on" and let the topless, drunken good times roll suggest some on the Chicago City Council.

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kate.gardiner/Flickr

For years, the city of Chicago has prohibited businesses from mixing alcoholic beverage sales with nude dancing. Strip clubs within the Windy City limits have to choose between serving booze and featuring dancers that exhibit their "genitals, pubic hair, buttocks" or, if female, "any portion of the … breast below the areola," though clubs may permit patrons to bring their own drinks. But now some Chicago city lawmakers are trying to open topless establishments for alcohol business

The idea was first endorsed by the Chicago City Council's Zoning Committee in 2014, according to the Chicago Tribune. But of course the dispensation doesn't come without strings attached: "If a would-be owner sought to open a new club with drinks and partial nudity, it could do so only if it obtained a cabaret license," a new designation which would require meeting "strict zoning codes" and "a special-use permit that would require community hearings." 

The new measure, notably, drops the ban on booze sales at topless clubs yet doesn't up zoning or licensing requirements, though it somehow includes an arrangement whereby strip club owners will pay $400,000 to fund a domestic violence shelter and a sexual assault prevention program. This arrangement is not in the bill's text but is mentioned frequently by the bill's sponsor, Ald. Emma Mitts (Ward 37). The measure was approved by the Chicago City Council's Zoning Committee last week. But Mitts is now asking the committee chairman to temporarily hold the bill after learning that, as written, it actually allowed for the union of fully-nude stippers and alcohol sales.

"I didn't know the language had changed in it," said Mitts.

When it came out, I thought, 'Did I misread the ordinance or something?' I went back to look at it and it was nudity all the time. We [weren't] trying to make it a nudity ordinance. I was trying to regulate an industry … that we have out here to try to get a little revenue and try to help out some of our domestic violence shelters.

Still, Mitts hopes to go forward with her proposal after editing the language to only allow for topless dancing at clubs that serve alcohol. Or, as Mitts put it, "put a G-string on" and it will be OK. 

Support is mixed among Mitts' colleagues and in the media. A Chicago Sun-Times editorial opined that the City Council "should walk away from this one," which "encourages the expansion of a type of entertainment that exploits women" and "heightens their chance of abuse by patrons." In a column that whimsically declares himself "a Milton Friedman, live-and-let-live kind of guy," Sun-Times writer Neil Steinberg came out against the proposed rule-change, insisting the status quo is "about safety, for both performers and customers." And Ald. Matthew J. O'Shea (Ward 19) condemned the measure as "a huge step backwards" in stemming "the tide of sexual violence in our city."

But supporters, including "powerful Southwest Side Ald. Edward Burke" (Ward 14) and Ald. Anthony Beale (9th Ward) say allowing establishments to serve beer and other alcoholic beverages could cut down on excessive drinking from patrons, who now simply show up already intoxicated or bring their own bottles of liquor, which encourages excessive consumption. If clubs controlled alcohol consumption, they say, bartenders could cut off patrons who appeared too drunk.

Beale and Mitts have also pushed back on the idea that combining alcohol and topless dancing will increase prostitution or sex trafficking. Of the "numerous" complaints Beale has received about a strip club in his district, none have related to prostitution, he told Chicagoist

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  1. FINALLY, a story worth reading.

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      1. Off to cultural sensitivity training with you. A woman’s outfit is no indication of her sexual proclivities.

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  2. …featuring dancers that exhibit their “genitals, pubic hair…

    What if the ladies practice topiary?

    1. Wouldn’t that be public hair?

    2. Brazilian waxing has made that a moot point.

  3. And Ald. Matthew J. O’Shea (Ward 19) condemned the measure as “a huge step backwards” in stemming “the tide of sexual violence in our city.”

    Tide? As in, ebbs and flows? Must be those LOVE guns from Indiana.

    1. I have a love gun too. Sure, it’s a snub nose, and small caliber, but it also fires a small load, of blanks.

  4. “If a would-be owner sought to open a new club with drinks and partial nudity, it could do so only if it obtained a cabaret license,” a new designation…

    Am I the only one who thinks that we need to lessen the burden on our small business owners? Force the patrons to obtain a license to drink at the titty bar.

  5. SoConnzzz!

    The dress code in the ATL clubs has been “shoes” for at least the past 45 years.

    1. at the very least, we should insist upon titties and beer

      1. Can’t forget about this one

        https://youtu.be/jt1azfk4_Zg

      2. +1 Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention.

  6. That’s one thing Montreal is superior to all other places on the continent: Strip clubs.

      1. Even the small, quaint city of Windsor, Ontario has a few excellent strip clubs. Something Canada should be proud of – besides its other natural beauties. (I realize that some of the women in those clubs have some unnatural parts – but that’s okay with me.)

    1. So…what reason should I give my wife for me visiting Montreal?

      1. You are going to meet up with your bestie Rufus, who is going to take you to the best restaurants and classiest bars strip clubs and classiest brothels.

        1. That’s just crazy enough to work.

          *thought bubble of wife shooting me in chest*

          Or not.

      2. cultural expedition to view the native dancers

  7. ENB’s talent for picture selection makes up for her lack of alt-text.

    1. That picture was just asking for alt-text.

  8. Just when you think Reason can’t get any more inappropriate, they publish that photo.

    Those boots with that top? T-a-c-k-y.

    1. And some kind of white ball in between her legs. I see ENB is into that extreme insertion stuff.

  9. But supporters, including “powerful Southwest Side Ald. Edward Burke” (Ward 14) and Ald. Anthony Beale (9th Ward) say allowing establishments to serve beer and other alcoholic beverages could cut down on excessive drinking from patrons, who now simply show up already intoxicated or bring their own bottles of liquor, which encourages excessive consumption. If clubs controlled alcohol consumption, they say, bartenders could cut off patrons who appeared too drunk.

    How about you allow it for no other reason than it’s none of your fucking business if I want to get drunk and pay to see titties?

  10. So what kind of bad magic happens when pubic areas are exposed in proximity to alcohol being sold that doesn’t happen when it is only breasts being exposed?

    1. An inappropriately extended tongue can do much more damage during the former.

    2. “So what kind of bad magic happens when pubic areas are exposed in proximity to alcohol being sold”

      Rape. It’s like you’re not even listening.

      1. But if he’s drunk, he can’t consent!

    3. So what kind of bad magic happens when pubic areas are exposed in proximity to alcohol being sold that doesn’t happen when it is only breasts being exposed?

      Actually, if there were one business that had a feature, or just a sideshow, of making its patrons disappear.

      You’ll notice the bill does nothing to prevent abuse, just offer services to people who are down and hurting from their 3rd or 4th kick.

  11. In all seriousness, Reason, a “Safe for Work” policy on pix and headlines would be nice. As a service to your readers. I know there’s probably only three (counting all of Tulpa’s sox as one reader that is), but still.

    1. Do you work at a Mormon temple?

      1. you misspelled Mormon…there’s no m in the middle and it ends with an n.

    2. In all seriousness, Reason, a “Safe for Work” policy on pix and headlines would be nice.

      I was gonna disagree and then realized it was on the front page. I don’t have a problem with “Topless dancing + Booze” but some pics are just going to ensure people don’t stay on the front page very long and don’t come back once they’ve left.

      1. This one is the pic. There have been headlines with the F-word in them, as well.

        It strikes me as basic courtesy. People with kids at home might also appreciate it. There’s really no good reason for it, unless you are a teenager or think just being “transgressive” is a virtue.

  12. “In a column that whimsically declares himself “a Milton Friedman, live-and-let-live kind of guy,” Sun-Times writer Neil Steinberg came out against the proposed rule-change, insisting the status quo is “about safety, for both performers and customers.””

    Wait, Neil fucking Steinberg claims he’s like Milton Friedman?

    This Neil Steinberg?

    “Sure, anyone paying attention to Illinois is compelled to believe that Bruce Rauner has accomplished nothing in his first year in office except shred programs for children, the disabled and the poor.”

    Note: No programs were shredded. This is leftist nonsense from someone who name drops Milton Friedman.

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  14. Strip club lunch special – tuna fish sandwich and two big glasses of milk. Desert is a slice of Mississippi Mud Pie, if you’re into that.

  15. This story needs more pictures. Support Photojournalism, Reason cheapskates

  16. Does her hat read “Make Chicago Great Again”?

    1. Yeah I can’t bring reason up on my work computer because of it.

  17. I love Robert Poole’s stripper articles.

    Wait, Elizabeth Nolan Brown, who is she? And when did she start covering such subjects?

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  23. Lemme guess, Mitt couldn’t score a lap dance because everyone was sober.

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  25. But, but, but! Want we actually want, vs what the “gubment” says we want. And all that.

  26. But, but, but! Want we actually want, vs what the “gubment” says we want. And all that.

  27. RE: Topless Dancing and Alcohol Sales May Meet Again in Chicago
    “Put a G-string on” and let the topless, drunken good times roll suggest some on the Chicago City Council.

    One can only speculate how many Crook County and City of Chicago employees will benefit from this.
    Probably even those who actually show up to work as well those “employees” who never show up for work.
    Life will be good in Chicago.

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