Just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the main Granville Strip is the favorite watering hole of the illustrious Rat Pack – the Penthouse. The Penthouse was opened in 1947 by Joe Filipone and his brothers. By the 1950’s and 60’s it became the it place in Vancouver. All the biggest celebrity glitterati of the day performed and partied at the Penthouse – names such as Sammy Davis Jr, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, and Duke Ellington. At the time, it was one of the few venues that welcomed African Americans (one of the many reasons it was so well frequented by the Rat Pack).
In the 1970s burlesque became popular in Las Vegas and the Penthouse quickly followed suit. The Penthouse slowly transitioned from burlesque to exotic dancers resulting in a colourful, lurid history involving vice squads, politicians, judges, con men, and eventually, the murder of Joe Filippone.
To learn more join Forbidden Vancouver and the club owner Danny Filippone on their “Secrets of the Penthouse” tour on May 28th at 6pm or 7:15pm.