Fight to Close Only Chicago Topless Bar Spans 18 Years

If this struggle were a child, it would almost be old enough to go to said bar...
By Sarah Whitmire,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2011 6:47 PM CDT
Chicago's 18-year legal battle dances on...   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – VIP's A Gentleman's Club can brag that it's "Chicago’s only full liquor and topless bar"—but it's a title backed by quite the struggle. Owner Perry Mandera has been fighting to keep his club open since City Hall set its sights on it in 1993, backed by a city ordinance that bars clubs that sell liquor from having performers who show their butts or breasts. In VIP's case, it offended via its tiny thongs and latex coverings over the dancers' areolas. Though the courts haven’t granted Mandera a victory in 10 years, they’ve continually stayed each ruling, allowing the club to remain open.

The Sun-Times calls it a fight worth waging—financially: Mandera's mix of booze and near-nudity rakes in $6 million a year (at least three times what similar clubs without the liquor license make); Mandera takes home almost $1 million of that. But VIP's also employs 180 people and pays $480,000 in city and state taxes annually. The fate of VIP’s is currently waiting on the decision of an appellate court; in the meantime, the club has upgraded to full bikini bottoms and expanded latex breast covers. Mandera’s lawyer said that if his client loses, he may consider going on the offense after 18 years of playing defense: by actually seeking to legalize the alcohol-stripper combination.

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