The dancers at South Philadelphia’s Cheerleaders Gentlemen’s Club could soon go from scantily clad to scantily bare.
Cheerleaders will join a handful of other clubs in the city designated as adult cabarets and that allow topless dancing. The city Zoning Board of Adjustments unanimously approved Wednesday that the nipple pasties currently used by the female dancers may come off.
G-strings will still be required.
The club made its zoning variance case to switch from its current commercial zoning, which allows for various uses, to adult cabaret.
The ownership group argued that it wanted the topless option to stay competitive with the city’s other gentlemen clubs, such as Delilah’s and Vanity Grand, which are already zoned as adult cabarets.
Cheerleaders was grandfathered under an old zoning code that allowed for a “modified version of an adult cabaret,” but not topless dancing, Dawn Tancredi, the club’s attorney, said.
“There are restrictions for what’s allowed to be shown,” Tancredi told the board. “We are asking for those restrictions to be removed.”
The club won’t go topless overnight, Tancredi said. It has to wait for the city Department of Licenses and Inspections to send them a bill for the permit, which costs a few hundred dollars. Once the bill is paid, the club will be issued its permit.
The club owners will then determine the extent to which the permit will be used.
The zoning board, which is chaired by Julia Chapman, approved Cheerleaders' zoning variance after seeing that there was no opposition at the public meeting.
Two of the club’s owners, John Meehan and Frank Antico Jr., congratulated one another after the zoning board meeting.
Antico Jr. is the son of the infamous former L&I Commissioner, Frank Antico. Antico, the father, was convicted in 1999 of racketeering, extortion and fraud for accepting favors ranging from food and drink to sex from adult-club owners in exchange for turning a blind eye on code violations.
A federal jury found that Antico extorted favors to benefit his son, the part-owner of Cheerleaders, and others.
Records show L&I isn't turning a blind eye this time.
Cheerleaders' L&I recent history showed that the club had been cited a few times for not renewing specific licenses. The club has since complied with all previous violations.
Click here for Philly.com's politics page.