CITY HALL — Bring Your Own Bottle will be out at Chicago strip clubs, and liquor sales will be in if a new ordinance clears the City Council next week.
"I don't support these types of facilities," said Ald. Anthony Beale (9th), but he defended and supported the proposal Wednesday.
Beale said he had talked with the owners of The Factory, 12054 S. Doty Ave., which sits in his ward and touts itself with the slogan: "Bring Your Own Bottle to the hottest party in Chicago."
"People come in with gallons of liquor," Beale said. "There's no regulation. At least if a bartender is serving drinks, and you've had too much, he can say, 'Hey, you've had too much. I'm not filling you anymore.'
Ted Cox is going to be in trouble when he hands in his expense report this month.
"People are coming in with gallons and half-gallons of liquor, and if they're consuming that much and then turning around and driving. That's a problem," he added.
Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) revived a proposal put forth two years ago to allow liquor sales at strip clubs. At that time, Ald. Edward Burke (14th) argued that a "world-class city" was entitled to "realistic kinds of adult entertainment venues."
Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) originally sponsored it, but immediately disowned it once he determined it allowed liquor sales at strip clubs. He blamed the changes at the time on amendments made by the Emanuel administration
Mitts' ordinance, which cleared the Zoning Committee Tuesday, sets standards for establishments that "may permit employees or entertainers, but not patrons, to engage in live acts" displaying "buttocks and/or female breasts, genitals, anus, perineum and pubic region," and permits alcohol sales as well as part of the license.
Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) raised issues with it Tuesday, but it cleared committee with only aldermen Deb Mell (33rd), Brendan Reilly (42nd) and James Cappleman (46th) voting against.
"It's not a perfect ordinance," Mitts allowed Wednesday, adding, "I'm not a supporter" of strip joints.
"But it's entertainment that people go to," she said, adding that some form of regulation was better than none.
The Admiral Theatre, 3940 W. Lawrence Ave., is a city strip club that does not have a liquor license or BYOB policy but would possibly gain as well — if it can gain the approval of the community and Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th).
"In the 35th Ward, we have put in [liquor] moratoriums on all our commercial corridors, including the one that is home to the Admiral," Ramirez-Rosa said. He added that, even if the ordinance is passed next week, the Admiral would still have to come back to Ramirez-Rosa for local approval.
"In an instance like this, we would turn to the community and ask them to tell us what they think about lifting the moratorium," Ramirez-Rosa said.
Currently, VIP's, 1531 N. Kingsbury St., is the only strip club in the city allowed to sell liquor, and that's been hard-won in settlements, with Mayor Rahm Emanuel boasting that he's plowed some of that money back into a Chicago Lawn domestic-violence shelter.
Mitts echoed that, saying she was looking for a way to codify some of the money raised through licenses going to agencies caring for victims of domestic violence. She estimated as much as $100,000 might be contributed.
"It's a drop in the bucket," Mitts said, "but let's get something from it."
The proposal moves on to the full City Council for final approval, or rejection, next week.
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