Silk Exotic trying again to build club in downtown Milwaukee

Matt Montgomery

Silk Exotic trying again to build club in downtown Milwaukee

By Matt Montgomery. CREATED May 15, 2012

MILWAUKEE- After being rejected for a proposed club two years ago, Silk Exotic Gentleman's Club is trying once again to build a location in downtown Milwaukee -- under the name Silk East.

The gentleman's club has been in court over the past few years trying to get a tavern license to build Silk East at 730 N. Old World Third Street. 

Jon Ferraro, owner of the exotic dance club at 11400 W. Silver Spring Drive and Silk clubs featuring strippers in Juneau and Madison, told Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Wisconsin's Afternoon News that concerns about noise, traffic and rowdy behavior coming from their clubs are not accurate.

"It's a misconception," said Ferraro.  He informed the show his northwest Milwaukee location has 72 cameras and a staff that makes sure there aren't noise or behavior problems.

Ferraro is aware that his clubs are "under a magnifying glass" and said his staff works hard to keep things tight.  He said that his Juneau, Madison and Milwaukee locations are run clean and don't have issues with their respective communities.  Ferraro said people get nervous while the club is being built, but once it is established, people's fears subside because he believes they run a good business.

The proposed location would be near the downtown convention center and some citizens are concerned that Silk East isn't the kind of business they want downtown.  "It's crazy," argued Ferraro.  He said he has heard from multiple restaurant owners, concierges and other staff around Milwaukee that high end clientele complain about the lack of entertainment in downtown Milwaukee after 9 p.m.

According to Ferraro, big cities and gentlemen clubs go hand-in-hand, saying they are legal businesses and a source of entertainment.  He believes Milwaukee passing on this opportunity is just lost revenue for the city.

In the meantime, Silk East has a hearing in September and their current lawsuit is in litigation.  He is optimistic they will get the liquor license, but realizes it is up to the Milwaukee Common Council.

"We have proven ourselves in three other markets and we hope that Milwaukee looks at some of this and sees it," said Ferraro.

In an interview with the Journal Sentinel, Ferraro said Silk East would have a cover charge of $15 to $20, and would target an upscale clientele.