Skip to comments.Secret Nightclubs Open As Strip Club Restrictions Go Into Effect
Posted on 02/10/2008 5:11:36 PM PST by GOP_Lady
CLEVELAND -- Underground nightclubs where patrons can smoke freely and watch strippers after midnight have opened in some of the city's residential neighborhoods since the state began enforcing new restrictions on strip clubs and public smoking last year, police say.
Some of the nightclubs, also called "smokehouses," offer customers the opportunity to have sex with prostitutes, police said.
"They have succeeded in creating this underground, sleazy, cash-only business that cannot be regulated, taxed or secured by police," said attorney Skip Lazzaro, who represents legal nightclubs.
Informants have told police that patrons are mostly white suburban men. Customers bring their own liquor, cigarettes and cigars. A reference is sometimes required for entry, and doormen collect as much as $25, billed as a fee for a buffet. Some clubs also provide condoms.
The smokehouses are comparable to the illegal gin houses, or "speakeasys" that operated during Prohibition in the 1920s and early 1930s, Cleveland police Detective Tom Shoulders said.
"You put too many restrictions on people, they're going to find someplace else to go for their entertainment," he said.
A law banning dancers at adult clubs from touching patrons or each other, and also halts nude dancing after midnight, went into effect last fall.
The smoking ban, passed by Ohio voters in November 2006, outlaws indoor smoking in most public places. Local health departments began enforcing that law in May.
Police haven't been able to raid the underground clubs, because neighbors haven't been complaining, Shoulders said. Police have asked landlords to monitor activities in their rental homes.
"These guys aren't stupid," Lazzaro said of the smokehouse operators. "They know that if they want to stay open, they have to fly below the radar, avoid complaints and the attention of neighbors."
Detective Joe Bovenzi, a member of Shoulders' vice team, predicted the smokehouses would eventually be closed.
"Someone will be treated wrongly and drop a dime," he said. "Or there will be fights or shootings, and we'll move in."
What a joke. Stupid pols. Didn’t they learn from the prohibition days? Oh, I forgot. Libs don’t study history.
Just a return of the “Speak-Easys” of prohibition.
“You can make it illegal, but you can’t make it unpopular.”
—Martin Behrman, then-mayor of New Orleans, when the city was finally forced to close the Storyville red-light district
Prohibition always works pretty well. It has eliminated pot smoking and I’m sure it will do the same to tobacco. And everybody knows that prostitution hasn’t existed for decades.
when I lived in NY we would got to after hours places all the time....no difference here and it ain’t new
Here we go again.
And risk having their property trashed? I'll bet high rent payments are
voluntary to keep mouths shut.
Same thing with pot. Life would just be so much more honest if simple coffee shop arrangements were legal.
I think that I am going to start growing tobacco as an act of defiance.
It shouldn’t take much brain power to determine these locations. If they stay open it’s because the cops “don’t care”.
But... But... Huckabee said that could never happen under his Fair Tax! He was going to remove all underground economies! All bad guys were going to go legal and buy TVs!
A law banning dancers at adult clubs from touching patrons or each other
Comparible to Rave parties for young adults.
Closed parties for older adults.
Nothing new here.
Maybe just more affordable and geared toward a more middle class “red light” district.
I don’t think the crust of this movement is about a place to smoke in public. It is about prostitution.
I am only in favor of decriminalizing whore houses so women that don’t want to be used against their wishes aka human trafficking.
If a female chooses to be a whore I say make it legal and have her pay taxes.
And no I do not advocate females making this lifestyle choice.
Elections have consequences...
I agree. But isn't it rather amusing that they had to lump in the "smoking" part? (And I don't frequent stripclubs).
They sure do.
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