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Gilford says no to exotic dancing

Union Leader Correspondent

September 26. 2013 9:25PM

GILFORD — Selectmen issued a new entertainment permit but denied a liquor permit and again denied exotic dancing to the owners of a local club known for its women entertainers.

Willard Drew, owner of the former King’s Grant Inn on Kimball Road, came before selectmen Wednesday night with his new partner, Tom Lyons, and his attorney, David Bownes.

They were asking for a new entertainment license that would allow exotic dancing and other adult events such as “wet T-shirt” and “hot legs” contests at their club, which has a new name, the Lakes Region Cafe and Tavern, said selectmen Chair Kevin Hayes.

But they were set back by two problems with their application: They don’t yet have their liquor license from the state, and the town planning and land use director found technical issues with Drew’s last entertainment permit that needs to be addressed with the zoning board.

So selectmen approved a permit that bars alcohol sales and adult entertainment. Drew and Lyons were instructed that they can return to selectmen with their requests if they get a liquor license and if they resolve the issues facing them with the zoning board.

“We gave them a license, but there will be no wet T-shirts, no hot legs, and no exotic dancing for now,” Hayes said.

Drew and Lyons already faced a potentially tough battle with selectmen, who were divided last year on their vote denying exotic dancing in town. The vote was 2-1, with Hayes and Selectman John O’Brien, voting against exotic dancing, while Selectman Gus Benevides voted to allow the business to continue with exotic dancing.Selectmen said they were concerned about the safety of the dancers following the October 2011 drug dealing arrests of several dancers at the club, which was called Mardi Gras North Cabaret at the time.Drew, who could not be reached for comment, was cleared of any wrongdoing in the case or of having knowledge of the incidents.Hayes, who was the chief opponent of allowing exotic dancing at the club during the board’s discussions last summer, said he hasn’t changed his mind.“I still hear from a lot of people who just don’t want exotic dancing in our town,” he said.

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