The story of its connections to the underworld and high class prostitution has been told many times as has the murder of owner and son of the founder, Joe Philliponi. Philliponi, he said, actively encouraged him. The Penthouse originally opened as a bottle club providing ice and mix to customers at wildly inflated prices and turning a blind eye to their booze, usually hidden under the table in brown paper bags.
For Danny Filippone, the Seymour St. His uncle and father ran the place. But battalion chief Randy Hebenton knew his trade and he had a little inside knowledge to boot, Chapman notes.
One night Frank Sinatra ended his concert at the Orpheum Theatre by telling the thousands in the audience to meet him at the Penthouse for drinks. In the case of Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, and so many others, the Filippones also helped batter down some parts of the racial barrier. Club owners and musicians mingled with cabinet ministers and newspaper editors.
When you find yourself stuffed in a room elbow-to-elbow with Randy Rampage of D. I certainly was, when I recently had the pleasure of attending the book launch for Liquor, Lust, and the Law. The first book to be published on the Penthouse, penned by local writer and musician Aaron Chapman, provides an additionally detailed account of the Filippone family, whose patriarch Giuseppe purchased the lot at Seymour Street in the early s.
Few may know of the Seymour St. It started over five years ago, when Chapman was commissioned to write about the nightclub's 60th anniversary for the Vancouver Courier. After the story was published, Danny Filippone, the son of one of the Penthouse's founding brothers, Ross, said he and his father agreed it was the best, most accurate article about the club ever written.
After a weekend of wildly successful reunion shows at the Fox Cabaret in December, the recently reformed Vancouver band Slow upped the ante considerably when they announced a night stand at the Penthouse Nightclub on Seymour Street from March 30 to April 8. Skeptics in the scene thought the band was crazy for attempting such a stunt. These guys are all cresting 50 years old.
Those are just a few of the cheeky messages that have been displayed in recent years on the marquee of the Penthouse Nightclub. Both are still in the Filippone name today. Everyone from Ella Fitzgerald to Sting has hung out at the Penthouse.
There is more to the Penthouse Night Club on Seymour Street than a neon sign and a boxy marquee encouraging you to book your stag party. Acts like Sammy Davis JrNat King Coleand Duke Ellington regularly performed on the Penthouse stage, and the venue was one of the few in town not only to welcome African American entertainers, but to house them as well, at a time when Vancouver hotels refused to. However, through decades of evolving social mores and changing cultural styles in a city constantly trying to reinvent itself, the Penthouse has somehow survived, a testament to its storied history and the fortitude of the Filippone family that still owns it.
Vancouver is kind of like the city-version of that place: A near-enough respite from the asinine prudishness of the Northwest U. The gals doff everything here, the drinks are alcoholic, and nobody has to stay ten feet away from anyone else if they don't want to though don't take this as license to be an utter idiot and touch one of the dancers, that is unless you want to walk down some stairs with your face. Unless you're sporting tits, most places are going to charge you a small cover, and once you're in, you're expected to buy drinks, same as anywhere.
Few Vancouver nightspots evoke such a fabled history as the Penthouse Nightclub. Founded in by the Filippone family, the Penthouse became the place to see and be seen in Vancouver in the s and '60s; acts like Sammy Davis Jr. In the s, the Penthouse became infamous for its exotic dancers, resulting in a colorful, lurid history involving vice squads, politicians, judges, and con men, and culminating in the murder of co-owner Joe Filippone in the Penthouse's office in However, through decades of evolving social mores and changing cultural styles in a city constantly trying to reinvent itself, the Penthouse has somehow survived, a testament to its storied history and the fortitude of the Filippone family that still owns it.