“They never gave us a liquor license, but we didn’t give a damn.” – Ross Filippone
Where history was made
Tour inside Vancouver’s most notorious venue with club owner Danny Filippone as your guide. You’ll hear stories of vice squad busts, mobsters, bootlegging, Rat Pack parties, fire and murder.
Joining Danny are historian Aaron Chapman, author of Liquor, Lust & the Law – the history of the legendary Penthouse Nightclub, and retired-VPD cop Grant MacDonald. Grant was himself part of VPD dry squad raids at the club in the ’60s and joined in undercover surveillance operations there in the ’70s. Your three guides have between them more dirt on Vancouver’s murky underworld past than Mama Filippone made meatballs.
In its 67 years the Penthouse has survived blue-nosed liquor laws, police-raids, fires and robberies. It has been a favourite watering hole of celebrity glitterati like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. The only place in Vancouver’s history where a judge, a crime boss and a dancing girl could rub shoulders without an eyebrow being raised. Remarkably, the Penthouse is still in business today. Still owned and managed by the Filippone family, just like in 1947.
Tell me more!
Secrets of the Penthouse includes:
- Guided tour by Danny Filippone, Aaron Chapman and Grant McDonald.
- Chance to see private spaces and rooms inside the club, closed to the public for decades.
- Live entertainment by Cabaret Torlage.
- Italian buffet dinner served up with Mama Filippone’s original spaghetti and meatballs recipe from the old country.
- Opportunity to buy a signed copy of Liquor, Lust & the Law. Written by Aaron Chapman and nominated for the 2013 BC Book Prize. You can buy your copy at the event for $20 inc GST, saving you 25% on the retail price.
- Free entry to the club.
Photo credit: Rebecca Blissett