Market Public House, located at 6655 Delmar Boulevard, closed its doors last month and has been replaced by the newest location of Social House II, a restaurant specializing in craft drinks and traditional bar food like pizza, burgers, and nachos. Almost more important than their food, though, is the other feature Social House II advertises: a near-naked waitstaff wearing only body paint and pasties from the waist up.
As you could imagine, the topless bar was not opened without opposition. Just days after its opening, City officials held a meeting to revoke the liquor license that was issued to Market Public House in 2010, claiming it had expired and could not be used by Social House II. The restaurant’s attorney contested that the 2010 liquor license was still valid, but City officials are currently seeking an injunction to close the bar and revoke its liquor license.
There has been significant opposition from residents, claiming that the new restaurant taints the family-friendly atmosphere of the Loop. While parental hesitation to live near a topless bar is understandable, the Loop’s historical night life seems to be negated in the discussion of the restaurant’s opening. Parents haven’t seemed to have a problem bringing their children to an area where ten feet away someone is getting their nipple or clitoris pierced, so why can’t they walk past Social House II and into Fitz’s without feeling that they’ve corrupted their children?
The answer, most likely, lies in the fact that Social House II’s androcentric style of serving their food is sexualizing the already pervasive cultural motif of “consuming” the female body. This antiquated style of “entertainment” is a nightmare for feminists everywhere, exacerbating the very social constructs that they are fighting to break (then again, we must also consider the Free The Nipple movement and discourse in this context). It is important to not only question if we want this establishment near our campus, theoretically reflecting our values, but also why the presence of such an establishment has upset the community so vividly. Embrace or boycott Social House II? That’s for you to decide.