BC Book Prize finalist
Few Vancouver nightspots evoke such a fabled history as the Penthouse Nightclub. The after-hours watering hole for the famous and infamous, the Penthouse was opened in 1947 by brothers Joe, Ross, Mickey, and Jimmy Filippone and soon became the place to see and be seen in Vancouver in the 1950s and '60s. Acts like Sammy Davis Jr, Nat King Cole, and 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. Audiences often included visiting stars such as Frank Sinatra, Errol Flynn, Gary Cooper, and many others.
In the 1970s, the Penthouse became infamous for its exotic dancers, resulting in a colourful, lurid history involving vice squads, politicians, judges, and con men, and culminating in the murder of Joe Philliponi, known as the "Godfather of Seymour Street," in 1983. 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.
This first-ever book on the Penthouse includes recently unearthed photographs, police documents, and untold stories, kept under wraps over the course of sixty-plus years―until now. It is also the story of an immigrant Italian family starting a new life in a new country, and the changing times and attitudes of a port city coming of age.
Rife with nostalgia and just a hint of scandal, Liquor, Lust, and the Law reveals a glamorous and slightly naughty view of historic Vancouver after dark.