Ironmonger Row Baths

 
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Mid-20th-century Turkish baths with a £17m upgrade
Long before the proliferation of out and steamy gay saunas such as Chariots and Sweatbox, London's East End Turkish baths were a haven for many a gay man semi-privately enjoying the fleshy company of the towelled and flip-flopped, straight or gay. Built in 1931 and originally a public wash house but later transformed into a Turkish bath, the current incarnation is an altogether more stylish and modern thing following a major reinvention in 2012, complete with pools, gym and spa facilities and restored Turkish bath. Not gay-specific, but of gay appeal. Check website for men-only and women-only times. Also linked to York Hall (Old Ford Rd, Bethnal Green) and Marshall Street Baths/Leisure Centre (Soho). Tube station: Old Street. This entry was generated by a GayCities user.

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    • freshlyroasted
      freshlyroasted Over a year ago
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      Things aint what they used to be
      This used to be great gay friendly but mixed old fashioned turkish bath. Then it closed for more than two years and has come back as an expensive and rather nasty spa-type joint. They have put up tasteful new tiles. You must wear swimming costume - who ever heard of that in a turkish bath? - and the customers are not allowed to give each other a schmeiss in the time honoured way of central European steam baths. (A schmeiss is a massage with soap either with the hands or a rafia brush). The rather nice mix of people - that cut across class and race boundaries - no longer go there, just aspirational posers. A great venue has been ruined with too much public money.

    • Recent refurbishment has transformed famous venue
      These baths date back to the 1930s but underwent a substantial upgrade in 2012. The swimming pool is one of the best and biggest in central London, there's also a Turkish Bath (spa) and a gym on two levels. The gym is very geared towards cardio work, one floor is entirely cardio equipment and the other is devoted to half cardio. This means that the free weights area is very small and the machine weights area is also quite compact. I've only used the gym a couple of times and it's a nice, airy, space but the small weights area is restrictive. For me the best thing about Ironmonger Row is the Turkish Baths, there are two steam room, two saunas and three (progressively hotter) warm rooms (Hammams) plus a plunge pool and a relaxation area. Men only days are limited, just Tuesday all day and Thursday night. The rules state that swim suits must be worn at all times though men often go nude in the steam rooms, sauna and hot rooms, just wearing a towel or swim suit to walk between them. It's never that busy and the majority of men who use it are gay so it's friendly. Watch out for their special offers and discounts

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