Picture this: You’re a gay man in 1970s Los Angeles, strolling down Sunset in the early evening, trying to plan out your itinerary for the night. Where should you begin? At The Detour for a bit of S&M? A few drinks at Hardware? What about The Male Box on Manzanita? Or perhaps you’ll just want to turn the corner and head to the Bunkhouse on Santa Monica, which promises “a western look…with a leather taste.”
Whatever adventure you choose, your needs are likely to be well-serviced at any number of classic, campy joints lining the streets from West Hollywood to the far reaches of Santa Monica. Here we present only a few of the classic L.A. bars that are no more. Whether they bit the dust because of gentrification, ownership trouble, or law enforcement, we don’t know. We only know that what remains of these bars is the image they projected: An image created to bring L.A. gays together under one roof, for hot sex, leather love, or just a bit of company.