Jiggles: the view on Roosevelt
  • Ryan T. Hicks
  • Jiggles: the view on Roosevelt
Speaking openly about the city's lawsuit against him for the first time, Bob Davis, owner of Jiggles Gentlemen’s Club, says he's had the necessary permits to operate a strip club in the space since 2007—before a citywide rule regulating where strip clubs could operate was imposed.

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"No matter what the rules are, we don't feel we're affecting the school one iota," says Davis, responding to claims that Jiggles will corrupt the impressionable children congregating in the public places around his club.

In its lawsuit against Jiggles, the city argues that the strip club, located at 5220 Roosevelt Way NE, violates a city ordinance that creates an 800-foot buffer zone between strip clubs and places where children congregate. Meanwhile, Jiggles is located across the street from the University Child Development School and within 800 feet of a nearby YMCA, community center, and a public park, in direct violation of this ordinance. The city also argues that Davis failed to obtain an adult cabaret license before opening in December 2010.

But Davis argues that the city's request for an adult cabaret license is bogus. He says he's had an adult premises license for the space, which allows him to operate a strip club, since 2007. This dates back to when the space was still Giggles Comedy Club. Each year, Davis has faithfully renewed this permit and each year, he says, the city has cashed his checks. In essence, he's arguing that he should be grandfathered past the new(ish) dispersion ordinance, but Davis would not comment directly on the specifics of his court case.

This is not Davis's first strip club head-butt with the city. “I have a 100 percent track-record” winning cases against the city, Davis says. His biggest victory was in overturning the city’s 17-year “temporary” moratorium on new strip clubs in 2005. He also won a lawsuit against the city for delaying the permits for a strip club at Cyndy's House of Pancakes on Aurora.

Despite the ongoing legal drama, Jiggles is currently open for business. Some neighbors quietly support it, some vocally oppose it, but interestingly enough, the majority of people—like the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association—aren't openly taking sides.

“It’s ironic that a strip club is sued in order to protect children, but a Catholic church is left alone” joked an employee working in the area, who wished to remain anonymous. He added, “strippers don’t molest kids; they only molest your wallet.” But down the street, another business owner (who also wished to remain anonymous) would be happy to see the club gone. “It’s a crock of shit the city hasn’t shut it down yet.” He believes the real motive behind Davis opening the club in the first place was to win another settlement and collect damages, like he has in the past. This is a good question: Davis has almost made a second career out of challenging the city's archaic strip club rules. He must've opened Jiggles knowing, or at least suspecting, the city would attempt to shut him down.

But Davis sidesteps this argument. He says his only objective is to “operate without harassment from the city.” Davis says that his goal wasn't to challenge the dispersion ordinance. He says that the city has a right to restrict where strip clubs open (but frankly, this response rings false considering he opened the club knowing he'd be in violation of city restrictions).

What frustrates him most is that city officials renewed his adult premises license five times, each time collecting the licensing fee, but now they're trying to shut him down on the grounds that his permits aren't valid. The real story, he says, is “city government is dysfunctional.”

There will be a March 4 hearing of the case in King County Superior Court.