Strip club owners buying up property on Washington Avenue


by Courtney Zubowski / KHOU 11 News

Posted on May 9, 2011 at 5:14 PM

Updated Monday, May 9 at 6:29 PM

HOUSTON -- It seems new stores, restaurants and bars pop up every week on Washington Avenue, just west of downtown.

But one new business has the city of Houston putting up a fight.

Houston brothers Ali and Hassan Davari are planning to open Patio Pub in the 5300 block of Washington, near Detering.

"The manner in which the permit applicants operate their other businesses have proven to not really be in such a neighborly fashion so we don’t think these permit applicants operating alcohol-related businesses at this location, in this neighborhood would be a positive for that community," said Chris Newport of the City of Houston’s Administration and Regulatory Affairs Dept.

The brothers own seven strip clubs in the Houston and Las Vegas areas. The clubs in Houston include Treasures, Gold Cup, Trophy Club, Cover Girls, Solid Platinum and Splendor.

The city is protesting the bar’s ability to obtain a liquor license.

"We’re solely concerned about the way they handle the service of alcohol and the behavior of their customers at their establishment, said Newport.

According to local and state records, in the five-year period between February of 2006 and February of 2010, five of the Davaris’ clubs had a total of 36 violations with the TABC. Fourteen were related to prostitution or public lewdness, resulting in more than $73,000 in fines.

"When you take all of them combined, and you take six different locations, and you see 14 violations over a five-year time period, then that’s not really that many violations considering the volume of the business," said the brothers’ attorney, Al van Huff.

In addition to the city’s protest, the idea of the owners of strip clubs opening up on Washington is a concern to neighboring residents.

"We’d like to know more about what their exact plans are," said Jane Cahill-West, who is the president of the combined Washington Avenue/Memorial Super Neighborhood Council.

Cahill-West doesn’t believe strip clubs are appropriate for Washington Avenue, and it’s not happening as far as the Davari’s attorney is concerned.

According to van Huff, Patio Pub is slated to be a sports bar. But there is still concern among neighbors.

"Our concern is these owners have acquired other properties along Washington Avenue," said Cahill-West. "If sexually oriented businesses can come to Washington Avenue, then we’re going to ask the city to look closely at its sexually oriented business ordinance to amend it to prevent those businesses."

While van Huff says the Davari brothers also own a property in the 2500 block of Washington, he says they could open a wine bar at that location. In fact, their attorney says the brothers intend to open several businesses on Washington, none slated to be sexually oriented.

According to the TABC, the protest against Patio Bar is now in the hands of its legal department. There is no timeline set for that decision to be made.