Flex, the LA Gay Bathhouse, Has Re-Opened

Flex Spa, gay bathouse
Flex Spa Los Angeles

Flex Spa, one of LA’s better known gay bathhouses, reopened Saturday afternoon after being closed for two and a half months.

In a post on its Facebook page, Flex’s management said: “We greatly appreciate all the support from our patrons as we continue to work through issues with the city. Due to these ongoing permitting matters, some temporary restrictions are in place. But they won’t interfere with your having a good time.”

Flex Spa is located at 4424 Melrose Ave. in Silver Lake. It is unclear why the City of Los Angeles closed Flex. Fleck & Associates of Cleveland, owner of the bathhouse, didn’t return several calls from WEHOville.com. No one is answering calls at the Flex Los Angeles location.

The closing of Flex in May came on the heels of the closing of Hollywood Spa in Hollywood, announced in February. Peter Sykes, owner of Hollywood Spa, said traffic at his bathhouse had declined. He attributed that in part to a cultural change, which he said is having an impact on gay bathhouses across the country.

“You don’t have to be in the closet as a gay man,” he said. “You can go to the supermarket and play with the bananas and get a date.”

Others have noted the popularity of so-called “hookup” apps like Grindr and Scruff, which gay men use to meet other gay men on their mobile phones for casual sexual encounters.

Bathhouses where gay men met to have sex have existed in the United States since at least the 1920s. A movement to close them began in the late 1980s during the height of the AIDS epidemic. Advocates for the closure said the bathhouses were places gay men met to have unprotected sex with strangers. Opponents said the bathhouses were the perfect venue for educating gay men about the consequences of unprotected sex and were an important gathering place in a city where many were hostile to gay people.

Flex is part of a chain established by Charles Fleck of Cleveland. Fleck, who died in 2012, created a chain of Flex spas in Cleveland, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Phoenix. He turned Flex Cleveland into the world’s largest bathhouse with hotel rooms, indoor and outdoor pools and a bar. Fleck argued that bathhouses were an important tool in fighting HIV and brought AIDS service organizations in to offer testing. He also insisted that his spas distribute free condoms.


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Creative Guru
Guest

I’ve been to Flex many times in the 90’s. I always found it entertaining and I met a few cute guys there. I’m sure a city official doesn’t like gay people, so they’re trying to run them out of town or make them go broke from paying attorney fees. There’s nothing wrong with this establishment. If it catered to straight people, the city would have their Xmas parties there.

Greg
Guest
Greg

I’ve never met a real man who referred to fat, ugly or trolls. It just isn’t in a confident man’s vocabulary or point of view.

In many of the most hot masc cruise venues in the world the scary guys keep the A-gay fuss pusses out, who chase away the real men worse than their dreaded trolls.

Blisscape
Guest
Blisscape

AMEN Brother SYNN! JHNNY if it’s not your scene, why vent your neg opinion? The Flex IS like every other gay social venue on the planet: ‘fat, uglies, HIV + & druggies’ … also happy, healthy, free & beautiful guys of all ages, races and body types. THAT’S what makes the FLEX one of the very few decent bath houes left to hang at. It’s not just another white dominated WEHO sink hole full of attitduy a-holes who still believe they comprise the ‘majority’. Drug use is present in MANY areas of the community: bars, gyms, social events, etc. Like… Read more »

Me Chilled
Guest
Me Chilled

So happy they re-open. I love that place, clean and fresh air, I come to sun bath and get lucky sometimes. I don’t do drugs and I don’t mind people doing it, I just don’t *hang out* with them, that’s simple, finding your own happiness

Synn
Guest
Synn

“they should close it … all fat uglies, HIV + & druggies”

Congrats, you just described every gay bar/club in the city… or country… or heck, planet.

Let’s not BE the judgmental little you-know-whats that every gay guy pretends to hate. If you’re into this kinda thing, then go there, and if you’re not, then don’t. Where’s the problem?

jhnny
Guest

they should close it … all fat uglies, HIV + & druggies … put the dump to rest after all ..

John Smith
Guest
John Smith

What effect does closing the whirlpool and sauna have to do with policing the drug problem?

hlwdnow@gmail.com
Guest
hlwdnow@gmail.com

All the Druggies will be happy again, this is one of the worst bathhouses for drugs, just as bad as the Hollywood Spa was, every time I have gone there everyone that comes to my room asks if I’m partying, that’s why I don’t go anymore, there are some in there selling. The management doesn’t seem to do anything to control the problem. the word I have heard is they are having a police permit issuing problem & the whirlpool & Steam Room are closed for now, they will probable get closed again when the police see how bad the… Read more »