The clubs appealed to the Tax Review Board, which in October ruled unanimously against the city. The board said the amusement tax does not apply to activities within an establishment and that even if it did, the city's application of the tax was inconsistent.
Attorney George Bochetto, who represented two of the three strip clubs in the case, said he was surprised by the appeal and believes the city is doing it to force a settlement.
"It's disgraceful that the city would try to economically pressure these clubs into submission by using the legal processes, which is very expensive for my clients to have to defend themselves on this, to try to virtually extort some kind of a settlement," he said.
Nutter spokesman Mark McDonald said the administration is appealing "to basically ensure fair and even application of a city tax law."
"Fundamentally, the city is appealing on behalf of the taxpayers because we believe we have a strong case," McDonald said.
On Twitter: @SeanWalshDN