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Wet T-shirt contests are banned at club

Wet T-shirt contests are out, but Jammin'z nightclub is in on Clearwater Beach.

On Tuesday, the city's Planning and Zoning Board gave final approval to permanently reopen the Mandalay Avenue nightclub as long as wet T-shirt contests aren't part of the entertainment.

"We're trying to develop out there," said board member Bob Bickerstaffe.

Women have been arrested at the nightclub for exposing themselves during wet T-shirt contests hosted by disc jockey Todd Clem, better known as Bubba the Love Sponge.

Though the board banned wet T-shirt contests, it stopped short of prohibiting bikini contests.

"It's part of beach life; it's legal," said attorney Tim Johnson, who represented Louis Anastasopoulos and the corporation that owns Jammin'z.

Anastasopoulos said companies such as those that sell tanning products often pay nightclubs to host bikini contests.

But they don't promote nudity, he said.

"It's beautiful girls who come in with bathing suits," Anastasopoulos said.

Jammin'z, which admits patrons 18 and older, reopened last month after Anastasopoulos' corporation took back control from operators who ran it for a short time last year. Anastasopoulos first started the business as a restaurant in 1992.

Anastasopoulos is an active businessman on the beach and has ownership interest in other properties, including Pelican Walk shopping center, a hotel, a miniature golf course and the Walgreens shopping center on S Gulfview Boulevard.

Because of past incidents at the nightclub, the board wants a review of its operation in nine months.

"It doesn't bother me," Anastasopoulos said after Tuesday's hearing.

The board also prohibited the club from having outdoor entertainment.

Nicki Psaltis, Anastasopoulos' daughter, said some of the problems at Jammin'z have been exaggerated.

"I don't think we should have ever gone through this," she said.

Board member Douglas Hilkert said he was inclined to vote against Jammin'z but couldn't.

"No one in the city of Clearwater is opposed to them, or at least didn't care enough to show up for this meeting," he said.