No more pasties for this downtown; oh no, we’re getting straight up nudity.

This past Tuesday, after a battle that’s stretched since 2010 and cost our city nearly $1 million, the Milwaukee Common Council finally acquiesced and granted a cadre of strip club owners a new license to operate a downtown club. The “Executive Lounge Gentlemen’s Club” will be located at 730 N. Old World 3rd St in Westown. For reference, that’s one block east of the Wisconsin Convention Center, one block north of Grand Avenue Mall, and one block south of downtown’s only George Webb’s diner (#priorities).

As the above map shows (in yellow), there already exist a fair amount of Milwaukee-area strip clubs in operation, including one in East Town and one in Walker’s Point in the downtown area. But, as we covered previously, the owners of the Midwest’s Silk Exotic chain have been trying to get their cut of the ogling city clientele (red points mark the many failed attempts).

In fact, this exact location on Old World Third was proposed and rejected a few years back. Since that time, the building has continued to sit vacant in what’s supposed to be a bustling part of downtown.

The drama surrounding the approval process in recent weeks has been summed up neatly by our friends at Urban Milwaukee, but the quick recap is as follows:

  1. City Aldermen spent years saying no to legal strip clubs downtown.
  2. Milwaukee paid nearly $1 million in taxpayer dollars to a strip club owner who was illegally denied a permit.
  3. Strip club owners threatened other lawsuits that could go to $20+ million.
  4. The city Licenses Committee bit the bullet (or the edible underpants?) and approved of Old World Third Street site.

The Milwaukee Aldermanic districts that voted for and against the license for a new downtown strip club. Original map from the City of Milwaukee. Modified by Joe Powell for The Squeaky Curd. Featured image from Max Pixel.

The measure passed on a 10-5 vote, with the majority of near-downtown Aldermen voting against. District 4 Alderman Robert Bauman, in whose district this location stands, was vehemently against the approval – though one other strip club already resides within his domain.

What adds increasing intrigue is the addition of a new player. The 618 Live club, commonly known as the Ladybug Club, also has put in an application with the Licenses Committee to allow strippers in their venue. This location is in Bauman’s district as well, and on a more visible location on Water Street in East Town, but he seems to lend his support to this proposal.

My (Updated) Take

Like the 2015 version of myself, I support the approval of a license for the Executive Lounge club in downtown Milwaukee. Just as then, the laws still allow for strip clubs to operate in the city per zoning regulations. The Common Council did nothing but waste the time of businessmen, prolong the vacancy of multiple derelict city locations, and cost taxpayers nearly $1 million.

Whether you support strip clubs or not, the city was wrong to continually deny this permit. At the end of the day the city gets new tax revenue and another empty building off the market, and residents get a new legal entertainment option they can choose to go to or ignore completely.

I never thought I’d be saying this, but Milwaukee’s future looks a little brighter thanks to a new downtown strip club. Could be all the glitter.

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