It's not so much that neighbors in the Upper Eastside of Miami want the Tokyo Valentino closed simply because it's a gay club. In fact, they're more upset that it may not actually be quite such a proper gay club. They think the club, which sounds like it was named after an Asian drag queen obsessed with couture, is actually an adult entertainment business. Now, Open Media Miami's Sergio N. Candido reports the City of Miami has opened an investigation.
Tokyo Valentino is located at 8330 Biscayne Blvd., just a store front over from Don Bailey Flooring's infamous nude male centerfold-esque billboard, in fact. After paying a $10 cover charge and checking in, guests are allowed to boogie on the dance floor, shoot pool in the game room, or, uh, snuggle up for a good movie with a friend in one the lounge's private rooms. Unlike a traditional bath house, the rooms aren't rented out and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, but some residents are concerned that the place is basically a glorified bath house. The opposition claims that the club is selling adult videos and purposefully facilitating sexual encounters.
Owner Mike Morrison tells Open Media that he won't stop guests from bringing their own DVDs to watch in the rooms, and he's not going to say anything if anyone brings in something XXX. Though he denies he's running an adult business. Open Media says the place is "just like Jamboree, a gay lounge a few blocks away on Biscayne Boulevard."
Which might not be the best defense. If you're not familiar with the reputation of Jamboree we'll let Yelp reviewer Carlos P. fill you in:
And if you're feeling really adventurous, venture out to the backyard where it's so dark that you can't even see your hand in front of your face. What you will see is a lot of shadows that are humping, on their knees or walking around looking for a good time. Oh, and did I mention that if you keep an ear out, you will hear the romantic sounds of slurps and moans?
Not helping matters is the fact that the website of Pinky Productions, a company associated with the club's DJ Skittlz, currently states that Tokyo Valentino is "Miami's newest 'Underground' Swinger's Club" and "the place to be at on the weekends either with your lover or even just a friend." Oh, the things people put up on the internet.
The problem is that adult business are not allowed within 1000 feet of a school or residential areas, and Phyllis R. Miller Elementary School and several homes are close by.
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So now the City of Miami has opened an investigation to determine if the club is breaking any zoning rules. The city has already cited Tokyo Valentino for operating an adult business on February 6, just weeks after its January 23 opening. The case will potentially end up before the city's zoning board.
Morrison, the club's owner, isn't deterred according to Open Media: "We took it to the attorney and he said: 'Let them take it to court, they are not going to win."
[Open Media Miami/Beached Miami: UPPER EASTSIDE RESIDENTS WANT GAY CLUB SHUT DOWN]