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Police Issue Citations at Mainstrasse Bar After Stopping Strip Show

Covington Police put a stop to a male strip show at 701 Bar and Lounge in Mainstrasse Village, according to a police report.

Lt. Col. Bryan Carter tells The River City News that four people were cited for prohibited nudity after they exposed themselves and that the owner was cited for operating a sexually oriented business without a permit.

No arrests were made, Carter said, but the bar was shut down at 11 p.m. and will be permitted to reopen Tuesday.

Carter said that at least one complaint made to Covington City Hall about strippers performing at the bar located at 701 Bakewell Street prompted vice officers to be present Monday night.

The weekly show is called Magic Mykey Monday, named for managing partner Mykey Hess and an apparent homage to the male stripper film Magic Mike. On Monday a promotional flier indicated that adult film performer Rocky Houston would be at 701 with another male entertainer named Josh Michael. The event was billed as 21 and up.

Hess referred questions to his attorney, Fred Johnson who said that the police report only indicates that buttocks were exposed and that no genitals were displayed. But even if it the dancers were cited for only showing their bottoms, Johnson disputes that anything underneath the dancers' Speedo-style swimsuit briefs were seen.

"We have a video tape that we're in the process of getting but it's my understanding that their buttocks were not exposed," Johnson said. "I'm representing (Hess) and will say that he doesn't need a sexually oriented business license because 701 is not a sexually oriented business, so he's not in violation of operating without a sexually oriented business license."

Johnson said that he is suspicious that 701 was targeted by vice officers because it is a gay bar.
 
"You can go into other bars in Covington and you're going to find girls wearing bikinis and when you're wearing a bikini, your buttocks is exposed and they're not getting cited."

According to the city solicitor's office, a permit must be obtained to operate a sexually oriented business. The process to obtain such a license includes a $155 non-refundable application & investigation fee.

Additional city regulations that govern public nudity include the prohibition of anyone in a sexually oriented business appearing in a state of nudity or depicting specified sexual activities and that semi-nude employees of sexually oriented businesses should remain at least three feet from customers and on a stage at least two feet from the floor.

Money cannot be exchanged directly from customers to performers but tip jars are permitted, per a city ordinance.

The police report alleges that the dancers were touching patrons and soliciting tips, simulating sex acts, and exposing their buttocks.

Johnson said that he believes that Hess and 701 will be vindicated by the video and maintains that he will be able to defend against the citation because 701 is not a sexually oriented business, he said.

"First, you have to be a sexually oriented business," Johnson said. "If you occasionally have a bikini contest or a male review, are you a sexually oriented business? So what if these guys are dancing around in Speedos and it's a male review dance show? What if a drag queen is wearing a bikini and wins a hundred dollars for a contest? Are you now running a sexually oriented business?

Johnson advised Hess to talk the male dance shows while the investigation continues but 701 will continue to offer drag shows.

"A problem for the City of Covington is, it's not a sexually oriented business. It's just a bar that had, on a particular night, some gentlemen in there, because it's a gay bar, wearing Speedos," Johnson said. "If you plan on being a sexually oriented business, it has to be your normal type of business. It's normal for bars to have bikini contests so why are they picking on 701?"

UPDATE (4:50 p.m.): Mykey Hess, managing partner of 701, issued the following statement:

At 701 we would like to respond to the current allegations against the bar. We are not, nor have we ever been a Sexually Oriented Business. On Monday, September 16, 2013, we hosted a Male Revue with four male performers. The performers were NOT NAKED. Their genitals were not exposed. They did NOT solicit money for sex! 701 is not a strip bar. We are a properly licensed neighborhood bar. We respect the rights and desires of the neighborhood we are proud to be a part of. We do not believe we have violated any City Ordinance because we do not believe we need a license to operate as a sexually oriented business because we ARE NOT a sexually oriented business. We have no idea why the City of Covington is taking such a stance. Many local bars have bikini contests, lingerie shows, drag shows, etcetera, however we are unaware of these establishments being charged as being a sexually oriented business without a proper license. During this time while we are charged we ask the residents of this great neighborhood, as well as our loyal patrons, to seek the FACTS, and to not convict us in the media or to draw unfair conclusions about the bar. We are confident that when we have our day in court we will be vindicated of any wrongdoing! Please continue to stand by us and support us during this troubling time. Thank You, the owners and operators of 701

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

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