Chicago's X-Rated Admiral Theatre

It's a Walk on the Wild Side for Visitors and Locals

burlesque dancer
••• The Admiral Theatre

The Admiral Theatre is legendary in an infamous kind of way. It opened in 1927 in the midst of Prohibition and the Roaring '20s as a house of vaudeville. After closing in the 1950s, it found new life as an all-cartoon movie house and then an adult movie theater before becoming a home for adult entertainment in the 1980s. It's now an all-nude strip club on Chicago's Northwest Side. It is also the only all-nude adult entertainment venue within Chicago's city limits.

Its exterior remains original, but the interior is completely changed from its 1920s style.

Though it serves no alcoholic beverages, it rivals VIP's Gentlemen's Club as one of Chicago's most popular adult entertainment venues. The Admiral's clientele is diverse, from conventioneers and bachelor party celebrants to locals who are out for an adventurous night on the town. It's open all night, every night except Christmas Eve, from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. There's a cover charge of  $25 for men and $20 for women, and this includes a one-drink minimum; tableside dances start at $10. It goes without saying that no one under 18 is admitted. 

Driving to the Admiral Theatre From Downtown

If you're staying at a hotel in Chicago's Loop or on the Magnificent Mile downtown, take the Kennedy Expressway (Interstate 190) to the Pulaski Road/Irving Park exit. Make a slight right onto Pulaski Road. Head north about one mile to Lawrence Avenue.

Make a right on Lawrence Avenue; the Admiral Theatre is just east of Pulaski Road on the north side of the street. (The venue is also 25 minutes from O'Hare International Airport and 30 minutes from Midway Airport.)

Features and Discounts

The Admiral Theatre has 100 dancers and features a large showroom and a shop hawking adult DVDs, sex toys, and "marital aids," among other unmentionable items.

The Admiral attracts a number of guest performers such as nationally known exotic dancers and adult film stars. Every Wednesday in December the club features "naked pillow fighting," which is exactly what it sounds like.

Because of Chicago liquor ordinances that prohibit alcohol sales at venues that allow full nudity, the Admiral does not have a bar, and some nights can be a little frat boy heavy (i.e., said pillow fight night). Look all you want but don't touch. The Admiral Theatre has a "no touch" policy, and they are serious: Expect to see one or more large bouncers at your side if you lay a finger on a dancer.

The Admiral offers a number of discounts for clientele: $5 off for trade show attendees; $10 off for those with military ID; and women get in free every Wednesday, which is also designated "college night." Sundays are a favorite night for many because the dancers dress up in "fantasy" costumes.