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Guthrie saloon owner fights to retain spirit of former brothel



A Guthrie bar owner recently tried to set up a strip club, city officials said.

Vivian Jones, who has owned the Blue Belle Saloon for three years, said she never wanted such a club, and simply was trying to start a "variety show" with burlesque dancers, comedians and music.

City officials say otherwise.

"Vivian indicated to me that she would open a strip club within the city limits," said Rene Spineto, city planning director. "The initial conversation where she indicated she wanted a strip club later got changed to a gentlemen's club."

The Blue Belle Saloon, where cowboy movie star Tom Mix tended bar early in the 20th century, never has been zoned for "adult use," Spineto said. The saloon resides in the "central business district," where city zoning guidelines restrict adult sites.

An emergency city council meeting was called last week to address zoning issues. Jones said the meeting was just another venue for city officials to discriminate against her, but Spineto said it was to address other zoning problems the planning commission discovered.

Jones said they "rezoned the whole city to stop me." But, she said they won't.

The second story of the Blue Belle Saloon was once a whorehouse, Jones said, adding that it was saloons and brothels that helped build the city.

"This town was built on liquor and lust, gambling and bordellos," Jones said. "Everyone wants us to be 'nicey nicey,' but come on, people, this was a whorehouse." "Joe Wertz


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