Five-Story 'Upscale' Strip Club Headed for Hell's Kitchen

By Mathew Katz on October 10, 2013 6:42am 

 Glen Bernardi, right, with Pamela Anderson, at the opening of the Sapphire strip club in 2009.
Glen Bernardi, right, with Pamela Anderson, at the opening of the Sapphire strip club in 2009.
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Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

HELL'S KITCHEN — The smut baron behind an East Side strip club is aiming to open a huge new skin joint at the western edge of Hell's Kitchen.

Glen Bernardi, who brought the jiggle joint Sapphire to Manhattan from Las Vegas, is hoping to open a new incarnation of his club on the west side, with the five-floor, 480-person flesh palace Esquire NYC Gentleman's Club at 622 W. 47th St.

Bernardi aims to bring a more "upscale" vibe to the industrial building than that of its naughty neighbors the Penthouse and Hustler clubs.

"The location will be very upscale. That's where they get the name," Bernardi's attorney Bruno Gioffre, told Community Board 4 at a Wednesday night meeting of its Business License and Permits Committee.

Unlike some strip clubs in the city, Esquire will not have a velvet rope and lineup, nor will it advertise using paper fliers, Gioffre said.

Under terms the club's owners agreed to with Community Board 4, it will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 a.m., seven days a week.

"In terms of the operator, he has extensive experience in the adult entertainment industry," Gioffre added, stressing Bernardi has quite a bit of know-how when it comes to running strip clubs, including a stint at Penthouse.

CB3 gave the club's liquor license a preliminary thumbs-up at the meeting, but the approval still needs to go before the full board. The club's license will also need to be approved by the State Liquor Authority.

This is not the first time a strip club has nearly opened the location. The board gave its approval in 2010 for a liquor license for an outpost of Joseph Greco's Pittsburgh-based Cheerleaders.

Unlike bars in Hell's Kitchen, which are densely packed into residential buildings, the Far West Side's strip clubs are typically on industrial blocks that empty out at night — meaning the board rarely has to deal with noise complaints from angry neighbors.

"I don't know if anyone's noticed this, but with adult use, you never have any problems," said committee co-chair Paul Seres. "We never had Hustler in for a complaint, we never had Penthouse in for a complaint."

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