All photos by Brittany Sowacke. This New Year's Eve at Man's Country, a Chicago bathhouse open sincehundreds of men, women, transgender and nonbinary people showed out for a dance party celebrating the last hours of a queer Chicago gay bath house landmark.
Appropriately titled " Loose Ends ," the chicago gay bath house event was part funeral, part rebirth and all hedonistic rager. Patrons danced, cruised, drank, caressed, hallucinated, sauna'd and paid chicago gay bath house respects from before midnight to well past 11 AM.
It was both chcago throwback to the venue's heyday, before the internet made many bathhouses feel obsolete, and a glimpse at what could have been had they chocago more events like this, which balanced sleaze with sociability and made the place appealing to those beyond the aging gay generation for which it was once a mecca.
Man's Country wore its history on its walls, with chicago gay bath house of famous patrons, nude men, and other artwork throughout reminding visitors that this wasn't some staid, humorless bathhouse.
In the basement dubbed "The Pit," a huge sauna—once chucago as the largest in the Midwest —sat opposite a shower and wet area modeled after Parisian sewers.
In its past, part of the milf dating in Burnside Man's Country space was transformed into a dance club called Bistro Too, where acts like Boy George, Divine, and major disco stars chicago gay bath house, shifting some focus away from sex in the wake of the AIDS crisis.
It also played host to a leather bar called the Chicago Eagle, one of many titanic contributions its founder, the consummate leather daddy Chuck Renslow, made to the leather community.
After Renslow's chicago gay bath house in —following years in which Fort North Sioux City women squirt Country hpuse to turn a profit—its end seemed all but inevitable, as dating lds has for many of America's aging LGBTQ venues. Following its final night, the owners held an estate sale for everything and anything inside, from architectural elements to chicago gay bath house to the disco balls that patterned its dance floors for decades.
Before the big teardown, VICE sent photographer Brittany Sowacke to tour the club and capture what made the space charming, otherworldly and utterly unique—the kind of atmosphere increasingly disappearing from antiseptic LGBTQ venues today. Follow Brittany Sowacke on Instagram.
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