It was once a popular strip club, but since it reopened in 2011 as a sports bar, the Lighthouse Lounge Sports Bar has been building a new reputation and is bringing in new attractions.
John Chevalier and Greg Roberts co-own the Lighthouse Lounge. Roberts said several things make the Lighthouse Lounge unique, such as its large parking area in the back and its outdoor smoking area. Because the area is fenced in, club-goers can bring their drinks outside with them and smoke in a well-ventilated area.
“I don’t think any other club in the area has this,” Roberts said. “It’s a comfortable place where people can take their drinks and smoke, and I think when summer rolls around it will be very popular.”
According to Chevalier, the Lighthouse Lounge also hosts some unique attractions, such as “midget wrestling.”
“They (the Extreme Midget Wrestling Federation) are a group out of California, and they travel around the country and do this midget wrestling,” Chevalier said. “It is mainly more of a comedy show and they make it fun. They are professional actors who dress up in their costumes and put on this show, and people love it.”
This event will be held at the club on April 5 at 9 p.m. Chevalier said that within one week, the tickets for the event were completely sold out.
Chevalier and Roberts are also planning on beginning techno nights in April. They haven’t yet decided when or how often they would do it.
“I think it’ll bring in a lot of the younger crowd,” Roberts said. “We don’t really see many clubs doing techno nights here in the Ogden area, and I think there is definitely a demand for it.”
The Lighthouse Sports Bar, located on Historic 25th Street, started out as a strip club on 24th Street. The strip club was one of the oldest in Ogden, having been there since 1958. Chevalier and Roberts acquired the club almost 10 years ago from Mary Gentile, who was planning to close it.
“Our plan was to buy it, fix it up because it was pretty run down, and then we were going to turn around and sell it once we got it profitable and fixed up,” Chevalier said. “Well, right when we wanted to sell it, the city changed the ordinance.”
In October of 2009, Ogden City enacted a zoning ordinance that banned all nonconforming sexually oriented businesses in Ogden. The Lighthouse Lounge was considered nonconforming because of a previous zoning ordinance which enacted distance requirements between sexually oriented businesses and parks, churches, libraries, shopping areas and schools. According to Chevalier, because of the historic nature of the club, it had not been penalized previously for being nonconforming, but this time, the city wanted to effectively shut it down. This started a large legal battle between the Lighthouse Lounge and Ogden City.
“At that point, we could have just closed and continued the lawsuit,” Chevalier said. “But I decided that we really didn’t want to be in the strip club business anyway; we wanted to be in the sports bar business.”
Chevalier then sat down with Mayor Matthew Godfrey and came up with a compromise that allowed the Lighthouse Lounge to reopen on 25th Street as a sports bar on Feb. 5, 2011. The Lighthouse Lounge was granted a liquor license last August, granting it club status.
Chevalier and Roberts have put a large amount of money into remodeling the location. Roberts said they put around $10,000 into remodeling the women’s restroom alone. The Lighthouse Lounge also recently opened up its kitchen, and it now has a large menu. Jody Guzman, the cook for the club, said he thinks his burgers are the best in town. The club also serves chicken strips, fresh-cut French fries, salads and other menu items that are all made fresh daily in its new kitchen.
In keeping with the sports bar atmosphere, the club has three pool tables, three dart machines, a 100-inch projector screen and five large flat-screen TVs that are always tuned into sports channels. Throughout March Madness, Chevalier said, he will show basketball on every TV.