No more strippers for Silver Slipper, Beloit Town Board says
TOWN OF BELOIT The town of Beloit’s only strip club will close this week under an agreement approved by the town board Monday, and no others will be allowed to open.
The alcohol license for the Silver Slipper Saloon & Gentlemen’s Club will be suspended for 50 days until the business reopens in May as a tavern with no nude dancing.
The deal means no strip club will ever operate in the town because the club at 1901 S. Wisconsin Ave. was the only one grandfathered in when a town ordinance banning stripping was enacted more than a decade ago, Town Administrator Brian Wilson said.
The town board had scheduled a Monday hearing to consider suspending or revoking the license for the Silver Slipper, formerly the Bear Chest. The action came after police reported responding to several fights at the business, including a shooting in the parking lot Jan. 20.
The board voted 3-1 to approve the deal, which states the bar will close Thursday through May 4 and reopen as a bar with no strip dancing. While the bar is closed, all equipment for stripping will be removed. When it reopens, the bar will use common security practices, including video surveillance, ID checks and security personnel, according to the agreement.
“It was a significant concession, because we had basically cornered the market on that activity,” said Jeff Livingston, attorney for Jake McMahon Inc., and Darlene McMahon, agents for the bar. “But we believe it’s a fair agreement and look forward to opening as a neighborhood bar, serving the neighborhood.”
Whether the bar had its license suspended or revoked, Wilson said the town wanted to make sure stripping was gone.
“No more poles,” he said.
Nude dancing was a draw for people from outside the community, including Rockford, Ill., Livingston said. They anticipate the clientele will change as the business becomes a neighborhood bar, he said.
The bar operated for 26 years without a license revocation or suspension, he said.
“Recently, we’ve had some problems,” he said. “We think that addresses that issue.”
Police Chief Steve Kopp said he was satisfied with the agreement.
“Hopefully with this period of closing, this will give the establishment time to make the physical changes … and reestablish itself as a different sort of establishment than what it historically has been,” Kopp said. “We’re willing, at this point, to allow this business to continue in a different format.”
Any future problems would go through the same process, with the bar having a right to a hearing, officials said. Kopp noted the town will have time to evaluate the bar between May 4 and June 30, when the license is up for renewal.
Town board supervisor Dick LaMonte voted against the agreement because he said he wanted the license revoked.
“I don’t feel it’s the right thing for the community,” he said, noting the bar’s violations. He said he hopes the bar “gets their act together.”
“I’m more worried about a police officer getting shot or a civilian over there that even doesn’t associate with the bar, and they end up wounded or dead. Over a license?” he said.