Eros, a gay men's sex club located in San Francisco, is well-regarded throughout the LGBTQ community for being safe, open and accepting. Hosting special events by and for trans people as well as famous for its kinky contraptions and other toys, Eros is well known as an LGBTQ safe space that's also accepting. But many may not realize its long history here: Eros has been operating in San Francisco since 1988 with many different locations being operated before relocating in December 2021 to its current spot.
Eros was a longstanding presence in the Castro, established in 1992 to offer safe sexual exploration and education specifically tailored for gay community needs. Additionally, this business served the local community through art gallery exhibitions, classroom lectures, legacy business grants from San Francisco City government, extended lease agreements with their tenants, art gallery exhibitions and many other community services.
As COVID-19 spread, public health restrictions made it impossible for clubs like Eros to remain open. Since 1984, New York City had rules regulating bathhouses and sex clubs; during an epidemic that killed entire generations of gay men locally due to AIDS, this topic of intense debate. Subsequent rule changes saw many bathhouses and clubs close.
As the virus began to recede, some local politicians began pushing for loosening of some public health restrictions. District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman introduced legislation in February 2020 that lifted some of these regulations and it was ultimately passed by the Board of Supervisors in July 2020.
But an issue remains. Since adult businesses such as sex venues are considered adult businesses by the city, some areas do not permit their operation. Eros is working with Mandelman on passing a new law which would include bath houses in its planning code and allow them to operate only within areas overlapping existing LGBTQ cultural districts.
Eros is currently working to pass legislation in time for it to open sometime next year, in time for their move to its new home in Tenderloin. Rowe anticipates creating a club that pays tribute to tradition while adapting it for contemporary tastes - multiple locker rooms and video pits are planned, along with semi-private spaces; additional events including bear nights, black light parties and cruising nights will take place here as well.