Aldermen Push for Alcohol Sales in Strip Clubs

The proposal, which would allow topless clubs to serve alcohol, would provide funding for social services

A proposed ordinance allowing alcoholic drinks at partially nude Chicago strip clubs was approved by the Chicago City Council’s zoning committee Tuesday.

The Adult Entertainment Control Act (AECA), which is sponsored by Ald. Emma Mitts, was called for a vote by Ald. Ed Burke. The proposal will be considered by the full City Council next week.

Burke previously supported a similar plan that failed last year. That measure looked to allow topless dancing in venues that sold alcohol.

This new proposal would allow bars with topless dancing to sell alcohol, although the sale of alcohol at clubs with full nudity would remain unlawful.

Mitts claims the measure is a direct response to Illinois’ budget impasse and a means to fund the state’s beleaguered social services.

“The AECA will provide much needed funding for the domestic violence shelters that women in need rely on while also providing new streams of revenue for Chicago,” Mitts said. “The budget stalemate in Springfield has drained the funding for the social services that our most vulnerable citizens rely on.”

“As aldermen, we need to do whatever we can to keep the social safety net in place while Springfield sorts out a budget,” Mitts added.

Mitts claims that owners of topless adult night clubs have promised to contribute $400,000 to fund three domestic shelters if the measure passes. In addition to this, the Heartland Alliance of Chicago will receive assistance to fund sexual assault services and sex trafficking programs for women in need.

Of the roughly eight licensed strip clubs in the city, only one currently serves alcohol. That club, VIP’s on the Near North Side, was the subject of a $2.5 million settlement with the city in 2013. The case centered around a dispute over how much nudity was permitted in the club.

The measure’s supporters claim that the legislation will help to combat crime in areas surrounding adult night clubs.

“This ordinance creates new revenues and improves public safety,” Ald. Anthony Beale said. “I have been working with the Chicago Police Department to stop crime at the adult entertainment club in my ward but there is only so much that the city can do based on the club’s BYOB policy.” 

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