Exotic Dancer Parties at DC Nightclubs: Are They Legal?

In Hospitality, Legislation by Richard Bianco

A client recently asked me about regular DC nightclubs, without nude entertainment licenses, having exotic dancer parties. “Is this legal?” Probably not, but it depends on what the dancers are doing.

The Instagram posts advertising the parties are suspicious. One features a money stuffed g-string clad butt getting smacked on the cheek, touting “Exotic Dancer Entertainment.” The ads are typically from promoters and not cross-posted by the clubs, which is a red flag, but not proof of wrongdoing.

Here are the rules of the road when it comes to racy entertainment: Regulation of exotic dancing comes from 2 places, the alcohol laws and zoning rules.

The alcohol laws prohibit “nude dancing” without a valid license. D.C. Code §25-371. Nude dancing is defined as “dancing or other entertainment by a person whose genitals, pubic region, or anus are less than completely and opaquely covered and, in the case of a female, whose breasts are less than completely and opaquely covered below a point immediately above the top of the areola.” D.C. Code §25-101(34)

The Zoning rules prohibit sexually-oriented activity without a certificate of occupancy permitting it. That means three things (1) no nudity; (2) no discernibly turgid genitals, even if covered; and (3) No “specified sexual activities” such as “human masturbation, sexual intercourse, sexual stimulation or arousal, sodomy, or bestiality; and fondling or other erotic touching of human genitals, pubic region, buttock, or breast. D.C. Code Mun. Regs. tit. 11-B § 100.1

Without a proper license and C of O uncovered genitals, anuses, penises, female nipples or covered but erect penises violate both the alcohol laws and/or zoning rules. Also, clothed people simulating sex acts (masturbation, intercourse, sodomy etc.) violates zoning rules.

So the bottom line is unless the dancers have their parts covered, are unaroused, and dance in a non-sexual manner, they are breaking the law. If you have additional questions about nude dancing regulations or other legal compliance issues for clubs, bars, and restaurants give us a call or book an appointment online.