Nov 10, 2014 5:06 PM

Fire Department closes Gilford strip club

GILFORD- The Lakes Region Café and Tavern, the region's only lounge for exotic dancing, has been closed by the town Fire Department. Ownership said the department gave them no choice and forced them to close their doors

The property's owner, Willard Drew, told NH1 News this isn't the first time town officials have targeted his club. He said the town has told him before, Gilford is no place for this kind of adult entertainment. The Fire Department claims there is no malicious intent behind their reports.

"The business has functioned in a number of different ways, mostly as a restaurant and a lounge. We do annual inspections regardless of what the business is," said Fire Chief Stephen Carrier.

This isn't the first time law enforcement has been called to the club. Police closed the tavern in October of 2011, arresting guests and dancers on drug charges. The club was closed for more than a year after those arrests, and just this summer got its license back.

Drew gave NH1 a statement placing the blame on new town personnel.

"I passed all my inspections at the Fire Department all these years. We now have someone new for whatever reason he's going back to violations that probably existed here 50 years ago and they're really not as relevant today except to create a situation that's negative for the business and find another reason for closing. They're trying to close a business in Gilford for whatever reason however they can do it and it's not right. Many people are without a job now and they're hurting the town."

Gilford Fire Department said they're willing to work with management to keep the doors open but never heard from Drew or the other members of the management team.
"Of the actions of revoking their assembly permit, we didn't hear anything back from them until the next day we saw on their sign that the business was closed," said Chief Carrier.

The fate of the club is expected to be discussed on Wednesday at the Board of Selectmen meeting.


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