Exotic dancing stopped at two county nightclubs Liquor board acts against Rosedale bars

March 25, 1997|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

In two swift moves, Baltimore County's liquor board has stopped exotic dancing at two Rosedale nightclubs that have been the targets of community battles.

Shakers, at 7916 Pulaski Highway, was ordered out of the adult entertainment business at the close of a hearing on a license transfer late yesterday.

That order was issued after Backsides, at 8359 Pulaski Highway, was shut Saturday afternoon by chief inspector Gerald Kilduff because the proper liquor license was not on display.

Crowds of Rosedale residents have pressured county officials to stop what they feel is an assault on their neighborhood, just outside the city line.

Tormented for years with problems from prostitution, drug use and violence along Pulaski Highway, residents have been cheered by strong police and political actions to stop the skin and drug trades. They also have fought to curb the adult clubs.

State legislators, for example, are considering a bill that effectively would ban adult entertainment in both clubs, and at Boomerang, in the 8200 block of Pulaski Highway. The bill, approved by the county's senators and delegates, is expected to be enacted next week.

Last month, Shakers was fined and ordered closed for a week after board inspectors said they saw female dancers hustling customers for expensive drinks and rubbing their breasts against other patrons for tips. The club's operators said they now are complying with board rules.

But the outcome of yesterday's hearing was a surprise to the applicants for the license transfer and to the crowd of neighborhood residents who protested it.

The board approved the transfer of the license from Shakers owner Norman F. Farris to Larry and Francine Bledsoe of Bowie and their partner, George Kopp of Pikesville.

After approving the transfer, though, board chairman Philip R. Leyhe imposed one restriction -- no adult entertainment -- starting last night.

"This is more than we hoped for. The liquor board went a step farther," said Nancy Leiter, president of the Rosedale Community Association.

Larry Bledsoe, a retired U.S. government personnel specialist, and his wife, a federal employee, said they were investing $25,000 in cash for a 50 percent share of the business. Kopp, 27, an entrepreneur who once operated a french fry concession at a local mall and later sold cars, put in $25,000 as a partner, he said.

The three have been managing Shakers since November as they evaluated the business. Now they are not sure what they'll do.

Farris, who was sitting in the audience, appeared stunned by the restriction.

One thing they are sure about, however, is the viability of adult entertainment clubs. Said Larry Bledsoe, "It is evident there is a market for this kind of entertainment."

Pub Date: 3/25/97

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