Last dance for Jacksonville strip club with history of gun violence

Residential neighbors were thrilled to learn the doors of Mascaras Gentlemen’s Club on the Southside will not reopen in 2022.

Residential neighbors were thrilled to learn the doors of Mascaras Gentlemen’s Club on the Southside will not reopen in 2022.

JACKSONVILLE, FL – After years of controversy, Mascaras Gentlemen’s Club located on Southside Blvd., just North of Beach Blvd is finally closing its doors at that location.

News4JAX has learned from multiple sources that the owner of the property has discontinued the lease with Mascaras which takes effect January 1, 2022.

Nearby neighbors who reached out to News4Jax about their conversations with the property owner, said they were elated to learn the owner discontinued the lease. All of the neighbors we spoke with asked not to be identified for safety reasons.

“This will be a great way to start the year out because we have been putting up with this for so long,” said one neighbor.

“I’m very relieved that they’re being closed,” said another neighbor.

Mascaras has been embroiled in controversy that dates back more than a decade.

This past summer, city councilmen Matt Carlucci and Kevin Carrico announced plans to put together legislation to declare Mascaras a public nuisance that would force the club to shut down.

“We’re closing it. That’s the best we can do. We’re going to close it,” said Carlucci back in August after hearing complaints from multiple neighbors and researching documented violent incidents associated with the club.

The plans to have the club closed also followed an Early August shooting outside the club that left one man dead and two other men hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. According to police, the incident happened after the club had closed and patrons were emptying the building.

“Gunfire broke out. I mean it broke out like crazy and this one guy was running down Patton Road and he was shooting the gun behind him as he was running,” said a neighbor who witnessed that August shooting incident.

Nine years before the August shooting, a 29-year-old man was shot and killed inside the club. The following year, a 21-year old man was shot and killed at the club. Following the death of the 21-year-old, JSO said officers had responded to the club eight times between 2010 and 2013.

Frank Coleone is the owner of Mascaras. He told News4JAX that he disagreed with his club being labeled a public nuisance.

“They’re wrong. You know I always respect the neighborhood and I try to do my best to keep everybody safe around here. I mean when you come into the club, you get a pat-down plus a metal detector,” Coleone said.

His family ran the adult entertainment business for 13 years.

“It’s something that’s really close to our hearts, but you know it is what it is,” Coleone said.

Friday night, Mascaras held a New Year’s Eve bash called ‘Mascaras Last Dance.’ The purpose of the party was to welcome in the new year and go out with a bang. An employee told News4JAX that former dancers who had worked at the establishment within the past 13 years had come back to place for the last party before the doors were closed for good.

About the Author:

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.