Local News

Topless Bar Takes It Off in Roanoke Rapids

Posted June 30, 1998

— The owner of a topless bar fought the Roanoke Rapids city hall, and won. The bar will open Thursday night after months of legal wrangling with city leaders.

The flyers are being posted as the grape vine is beginning to buzz that Roanoke Rapids is getting its first topless bar. City leaders and thousands of residents do not want it to open.

The opponents are worried that the bar will attract crime and undesirable people from nearby I-95, but a federal judge says the bar has a legal right to do business.

Thursday, dancers will fill the stage for the first time.

"It's going to be controlled by good married men, and we're going to control all the people coming inside," owner Gary Khera said. "We're going to insist them not to drink and drive, not to make any violations and not to give any trouble to any neighborhood."

Khera has owned two other establishments like this one; one in Selma, the other in Goldsboro. He said that crime has been virtually non-existent at both. Local police say that is often the case because patrons want to get in and get out without being recognized.

While the city is continuing its legal options, local churches say prayer is their best defense. In church meetings throughout the city Wednesday night, pastors will counsel their congregations that sex is reserved for one place.

"It's called marriage. It's called family," Rev. Jerry Weaver said. "That's how men and women should be getting together, and you know it's just not the right thing."

The city will continue its fight to shut down the bar, but until a court rules otherwise, the controversial club will be open for business every night.


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