Here’s our guide to some of America’s finest gay cruise clubs and adult entertainment venues. We’ve covered the history of America’s gay bathhouses. This article will focus on venues that cater to your manly needs. We would include some lesbian cruising venues, but at the time of writing, these types of venues don’t really exist.
This is not an article about gay cruising in the classic sense (bushes, restrooms). The venues we’ve chosen are sex-positive places where you can check your inhibitions in the cloakroom – along with your coat. America’s gay cruise clubs are usually found in the bigger cities. As property prices have skyrocketed in so many cities, you’ll find a shortage of proper gay dive bars with a cruisey vibe. Many of those famed venues were priced out of business. That being said, some have survived and they’re well worth checking out. The Eagle bars are the most famous brand of gay cruise clubs in America. You’ll find them in many cities.
Gay bars have become shinier and more open as homosexuality has become less taboo. Norman Mailer thought that the gays were straighter than straights when he lived in Provincetown. But many gay men are still drawn to more transgressive types of fun and these are the bars that cater to them. Just keep an open mind, don’t do anything you don’t want to do, and don’t forget your harness.
Slammer is a gay cruise club in LA. It has glory hole rooms, an outside patio, cabins, a dark room and a maze. All the stuff you’d expect to find in this type of establishment. You can leave your clothes in the locker on your way in, or change into something more uncomfortable.
The main area is dimly lit and it’s where you’ll find the glory hole area, private booths, and two dark rooms. The outdoor area has heating. You’ll find slings dotted around the maze. Always busy late at night over weekends.
Jackhammer doubles as a multilevel nightclub and gay cruise club. It’s very much geared towards adult entertainment. Billed as “Chicago’s Leather & Fetish Lounge”, it’s a good place to meet some of the more adventurous locals. There are regular drag shows, as well as themed events like Kink-It with Mickey Mirage. You can head down to “The Hole” if you so wish – it’s the men-only area and you’ll need to be in your underwear to go there. Better wear nice underwear!
There’s a leather shop next door so you can get some new swag if you’re not sure what to wear. Jackhammer is one of the wilder nights out you’re likely to have in Chicago. Tends to get busier after midnight.
As well as being America’s most exciting city, New York was once America’s seediest city. Times Square was awash with hustlers and adult entertainment venues. By the 90s New York became for more shiny and clean. Alas, you can still have some wild times at Eagle NYC, a classic and ever-popular gay cruise club.
The dress code used to be much stricter. That being said, you should make some sort of effort: even if that means removing your shirt. The rooftop is probably the most fun bit. As this is NYC, you’re highly likely to see some major eye candy.
This is the gay cruise club of choice on Folsom Street (SOMA). It has a long and illustrious history as an adult entertainment venue. The building is rumored to have been a bordello back in the day. It became a gay venue in the early 70s.
There are two dance floors, a patio and even the restrooms can be raunchy. The drinks are cheap by San Fran standards. Expect pulsing house music. The backroom is definitely men only. Check their website for info about the dress code – it changes depending on the theme.
Parts of the famed Eagle cruise club brand, this is a popular venue on Santa Monica Blvd, in the heart of the L.A. gay scene. This bar will show you the kinky side of the Eastside. It’s where you’ll discover the East Hollywood Gay Scene.
Eagle LA is not one of the fancier gay bars in town, it’s one of the more raucous though. The interior is dark, the music is loud and there are adult movies on the TV screens. It’s an old-school dive bar in a highly gentrified city. The Eagle bars celebrate the Tom of Finland aesthetic, so expect beards and leather.