Gay bathhouses, which were also known as gay saunas or steam baths. Gay baths are commercial bathhouses which 9 times out of 10 are frequanted by men to have sex with other men. In some regions the gay slang term for these establishments were known colloquially as “the baths” or “the tubs”.
Not all men who visit gay bathhouses would consider themselves gay or homosexual, regardless of their sexual practice. Bathhouses for women are ultimately rare, though some all men’s bathhouses occasionally have a “lesbian” or “women only” nights.
Bathhouses are and were considerably different in size and amenities. They varied from small establishments with 10 to 20 rooms and a handful of lockers to multi storey saunas with a variety of room styles or sizes. Some gay baths had several steam baths, jacuzzi tubs, and sometimes swimming pools.
Most current bathhouses have a large steam room (or wet sauna), dry sauna, showers, lockers, and small private rooms. A large amount of bathhouses are membership only. Unlike brothels, customers pay only for the use of the facilities and time spent there.
Sexual activity when it occurs is not provided by staff of the establishment, but is between customers with no money involved. Most gay bathhouses explicitly prohibit or discourage prostitution and ban known prostitutes from ever entering again (86 forever).
Here is a small list of gay bathhouses that we were able to come up with from different areas of the world. Now we need you our beloved readers to help us tell the stories, tales, addresses, or correct dates of these lost institutions.
- Babylonia – Prague, Europe. 2009 till present.
- Barefoot Boy and Roman Bath (nick named Roman Ruins) – Melbourne, Australia. 1869 to pesent.
- Bondi Junction Steam Baths – 109 Oxford Street. 1967 – till?
- Brooklyn House Hotel sauna – Manchester.
- Chariots Roman Spa – Shoreditch, London. 1999 to present.
- Club Body Center – Philadelphia & Provincetown. 1965 till present.
- Club Mustang
- Club Portland – Portland, Oregon. 1987 – 2007.
- Club Toronto – Mutual and Carlton Street – 1973 till April 1st 2010.
- Colt 107 Recreation Centre.
- Continental Baths Broadway between 73rd street and 74th New York City 1968 – 1975.
- East Side Club – 56th Street between second and third avenue New York City – 1976 till present.
- Everard Baths – 28th street between Broadway and Sixth avenue New York City. 1888 – 1986.
- Goliath’s – Alberta, Calgary. 1983 – 2002
- Hamilton’s Warehouse Spa and Bath
- Incognito Sauna – Ireland
- Ken’s Karate Klub (Dubbed KKK) Sydney, Australia. 1972 – 1977. Which later became Ken’s at Kensington.
- King Steam
- Lafayette Baths
- Liberty Baths
- MT. Morris – 125th street and Madison avenue New York City. 1893 – 2003
- No. 253
- Nothern Men’s Sauna
- Oasis Baths
- Plato’s Retreat – Between 73rd Street and 74th Street on Broadway New York City. 1977 – 1980 (relocated to 509 West 34th Street) 1980 – 1985. Then, relocated to Fort Laurderdale , Florida from 1985 – 2006.
- Plato’s Retreat 2/ The Slammer – Fort Lauderdale, Florida – 2006 till present.
- Produce Exchange Baths
- Pussy Palace
- Savoy Turkish Baths
- Silhouette American Health Centre
- ST. Mark’s Baths
- Stauch Baths Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York City. 1930 – 1998
- Steamworks – Latrobe Street, Melbourne. 1979 – 2008
- The Barracks
- The Club Baths
- The Penn Post Baths
- The Richmond Health Emporium
- The Romans II Health and Recreation Spa
- Turkish Bathhouse
- West Side Club
- Wet on Wellington – Wellington Street and Collingwood, Melbourne.