The Sfist recently wrote a blog post featuring some historic fliers advertising San Francisco Bathhouses. This was way before the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, which causes many of them to be closed.
The author Jay Barmann writes:
San Francisco was once a thriving haven for sexual deviants, didn’t you know? It still is, but in a somewhat more tame way than in the 1970s heyday of leather bars, hanky codes, glory holes, and bathhouses. SoMa was home to some of the nation’s biggest and baddest bathhouses up until 1983, all of them places where men could find casual, anonymous sex, either in public or private rooms (for a small rental fee), and typically with disco playing over the sound system. Then what became known as The Bathhouse Crisis began, during the early days of the AIDS epidemic, and all of them were forcibly shut down by the health department within a few years.
Donald Abrams, who ultimately supported the closure of the bath houses but who is gay himself, said, “I saw both sides of the issue. The gay community had achieved a lot of liberation and a lot of prominence in San Francisco over the seventies and on into the early eighties, and I thought that closing the bathhouses would really be a political setback.”
To walk down memory lane or to pursue through some San Francisco Bathhouses go to
Gallery: San Francisco Gay Bathhouse History, In Fliers.