Learning the Ropes

How Recon Killed Leather Bars


I was lucky... I came out at the final peak of the leather bars in the mid 80's... The original LA Eagle, The LURE in NYC, the Loading Dock in SF... even Missie B's in my hometown of Kansas City. The current generation of leathermen will never know what they've missed. They've traded efficiency for community, frequency of sex for quality.

I'm usually so glum when I go out to the Cuff or the Seattle Eagle. Those bars are skeletal shadows of their former selves.
Another loss is the community wherein you could literally learn the ropes, and know someone was knowledgeable and accountable. There's lots of online info, but hands-on is just better for some things. Still miss GMSMA, and (@1) the Lure before the meatpacking district got trendy; glad Chicago still has Hellfire and there's the weekly New York Bondage Club.
Meh. Recon is hardly the best place to meet up with guys since they got rid of their videochat feature. Most people I know simply abandoned their accounts on there and moved to places like fetishmen where they could actually talk to someone face to face via webcam and not look at just a static ad. Leather bars have always seemed rather too tame when I have been to them. They need to be more invested in their kink community rather than being just another dance club, neighborhood bar. I think the real decline is because the leather bars are unable to completely construct a kinky atmosphere because too many non-kinksters fleeing the twink and straight girl infested clubs had to go to places where the reputation for kinky sex scared away the twinks and bachelorette parties. Thus, a leathr bar becomes merely a less judgmental neighborhood bar, without any real kink environment. What Seattle needs is a more hardcore leather bar, with a liberal policy to kinky display and performance, that won't become just another bland hangout.
One other thing that's changed: police enforcement of public indecency laws has shot way up in most cities. A lot of leather bars have been blackmailed (threatened with the loss of their liquor license) into policing their customers' behavior.

The first time I ever was introduced to flogging, or bondage, or watersports, or hot wax, or even fisting was in a public scene, often a demonstration scene, in a leather bar. Hell, my favorite bar in Nashville, of all places, had a sling set up in the back room.

There was a time that if the police dared to raid a leather bar (or a bathhouse) then the entire community would be up in arms about it, the city politicians would respond and the cops would be reined in. But now we have decided we want to be the nice married faggots next door with the two-and-a-half dogs. So we don't give a damn about the community any more.

There is still a leather scene in most cities, but it's largely gone underground. One nice thing about buying a house is putting in a dungeon in the basement. And people do throw parties there.

But it makes it a hell of a lot harder to newer guys to break into the scene. Back in the day, all you needed was the courage to open that door to that darkly lit bar.
Couldn't agree more. Recon is a very mixed proposition. I have made friends and discovered new kinks I didn't consider before. The biggest problem with Recon NKP, bear411 etc. is that people claim to be all pervy but when the hookup planing starts they flake out. Man up and put out or say this is all just fantasy cyber chat. I'm getting too old to put up with this.