“It’s not a strip club,” Matt Colunga said, owner of Johnsons.
Colunga, who plans to open Johnsons at 2340 Wilton Drive, former P.J.’s Cocktails, said his business will be a go-go bar with semi-nude male performers.
“It will be an upscale go-go bar . . . just like Boardwalk or LeBoy,” Colunga said, who previously managed Swinging Richard’s in Pompano Beach. Colunga said underwear is as stripped down as his dancers will go and that avoiding full nudity will make his club more enjoyable for customers because many people “like something left to the imagination.”
Colunga, who had previously planned on opening a strip club in Miami, said he changed to semi-nudity because Wilton Manors does not allow full nudity.
City ordinances prohibit the exposure of genitals in establishments that serve alcohol. Also prohibited in establishments that serve alcohol is the “touching, caressing or fondling of the breasts, buttocks or any portion thereof.”
Asked if Johnsons would be approved by the city to open, Roberta Moore, director of Community Development Services, said she’s unable to provide an answer at this time because Colunga hasn’t applied for a business license yet. She said the city can only assess the nature of Calunga’s business once they have his application.
Asked their opinion of Johnsons, all of the nearby business owners who spoke with SFGN declined to give an on the record opinion. One owner said that Johnsons was a “politically-charged” issue among bar owners.
Another business owner said that Johnsons should be located on Dixie Highway, Oakland Park Boulevard, Powerline, or another part of the city. “This is not what we’re about. This is the Arts and Entertainment District. Not west Broward. [Children] are going to know what’s going on [inside].”
In response, Colunga said he’s no different than some of the other bars on Wilton Drive which also feature semi-nude dancers. “All I’m doing is turning it into a show like ‘Magic Mike,’” he said, referring to the 2012 film. “I look at it more as an upscale lounge to go and enjoy yourself that happens to have beautiful boys dancing.”
Colunga added that his business is also an opportunity for go-go customers who travel to clubs in Fort Lauderdale to have somewhere closer that they could perhaps walk to and not drive drunk to. “Why not keep the money on Wilton Drive?”