The second story of the building located at the corner of William and Forbes streets has been the home for hundreds of men to meet on a weekly or sometimes daily basis. It is Perth Steam Works, and this month they celebrate their 21st anniversary.
Mike Chester (owner of Perth Steam Works) had been planning for a type of venue like this two years prior to opening.
“The original concept started 18 months before it opened because at the time I thought the Perth population justified a second gay men sauna in the City, because 565 was the only one. It was extremely difficult to find somewhere to lease so I had to buy a premise and once that was bought I went through the necessary approvals and that took the 18 months.”
Mr Chester also added location was key to making the place a success.
“Nothing works unless it’s near the central business district. If you are close to the city or a neighbouring suburb like we are, it makes it more accessible.”
In terms of the stigma of going to a gay bathhouse, Mr. Chester says
“I don’t see why there should be a stigma attached as to why you go to a sauna,” he said.
“You’re at a gay venue, it’s licensed, you can have a drink, you’re socialising… except there’s a spa, a sauna and a steam room – so I don’t know why people would discriminate against a sauna compared to a gay bar.”
Visit the place yourself at Perth Steam Works