A Lincoln Park Flirty Girl Fitness location opened last September with little resistance from neighbors. But now that it wants a liquor license, neighbors are expressing worry that there could be late-night problems.
Owner Kerry Knee is no stranger to controversy. Her West Loop club made headlines when it opened five years ago.
"This happened to me the first time I came to Chicago," she said Monday evening. "It was in the paper that pole dancing was coming to Chicago and 'It's got a liquor license' was the headline.
There's no booze now, but that could change within a month. Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) is on board.
"I think there's a little bit of a misunderstanding about the nature of operations there," she said. "If this was a bar that posed a threat to our community I'd be the first to oppose it."
Knee said the trendy women's club would cater to private parties.
"We can do dozens of bachelorette parties every single weekend here. They go back-to-back-to-back; girls' night out, divorce parties ... it can be anything," she explained.
But that's exactly what residents along the residential stretch of North Halsted fear will lead to problems like loud disruptions at night.
Knee said that wouldn't be the case.
"We close like 90 percent of the time at 10 o'clock, so that's not the wild night club. We're not a night club. You can't come in off the street and just start partying."
More than 60 people who live near the facility have filed a letter with the Department of Business and Consumer Affairs in an effort to block the license.
The letter contends that granting the license would be illegal because of the fitness center's proximity to St. Vincent de Paul Center. But the alderman says that contention is invalid because St. Vincent is considered a private facility and doesn't fit the definition of a school.