The supper club opening got off to a rocky start on Thursday night as a long line of V.I.P. guests waited outside in the chilly night air while city fire marshals delayed public entry for an hour and a half.
Even some of Larry Flynt's personal guests were prohibited from entering the club as marshals claimed the low-ceilinged, subterranean club space was not up to fire safety code.
According to a security guard manning the impatient crowds outside the club, the city had been demonstrating its bureaucratic muscle for several weeks prior to the club's official opening by using fire safety code violations as a means of creating complications and causing an inconvenience for Flynt and his staff.
A Flynt employee told XBiz that the city has been giving Flynt flak every step of the way since he signed a lease for the club space months ago and went about preparing for the club's opening.
The employee told XBiz that even last Tuesday during a Toys For Tots children's charity event in the club's space, which included Beverly Hills notables and comedian Don Knotts, the fire marshals showed up unexpectedly, closed down the event and vacated the premises.
As the hour grew late, guests were gradually allowed inside the club, although police and representatives for Beverly Hills were still visibly conducting business as the cocktail hour and burlesque show kicked into gear.
The Hustler Supper Club replaces the longstanding Beverly Club, which also struck a cord of controversy with the city of Beverly Hills and its residents when it opened in 1997.
Formerly a topless venue forced to become a bikini bar because of city zoning problems, the Beverly Club was owned by DejaVu and closed down in 2002.
According to reports, around the Beverly Club's heyday, the city began to throw it some legal curve balls. Dancers were required to obtain exotic dancer permits for $1000 each, and then the city struck a blow with an ABC violation, which resulted in a liquor license suspension.
Flynt's Hustler Supper Club is officially open for business five days a week and features club dining, a dance floor, two bars, and the Frankie's Gypsy Rose burlesque show.
XBiz was unable to confirm last night's events with the City of Beverly Hills. A message left with Beverly Hills City Attorney Laurence Wiener went unanswered at the time of this printing.