San Francisco’s liberal attitude extends to its sex clubs, famous worldwide. Whether you’re into dressing up in latex, whips and chains or just a voyeur who wants to take it all in, you’ll find that just about anything goes in North Beach.
Power Exchange, currently at 78 Otis Street describes itself as a “place space” for those into all “preferences and exotic sensibilities”. A multi-tiered warehouse style venue, the top floors are strictly gay, while lower levels feature a more mixed crowd, welcoming straight, lesbian, and bisexual customers. Give up your clothes and your inhibitions at the door’s clothes check. This club has a dungeon for S&M enthusiasts as well as themed rooms where you can get down ala prison inmates or emulate love in the times of Cleopatra. Once patrons work up a thirst, they can head to the juice bar. Power Exchange also hosts themed nights such as couples only night every fourth Friday of the month or the San Francisco Men’s Spanking Party, which occurs every second Sunday of the month for example. Women enter for free and free condoms are available in abundance. Power Exchange is open Thursday through Sunday.
Twist is a swinger’s club in the North Beach area which provides a more classy alternative to Power Exchange and caters mostly to couples into alternative sexuality. Twist offers a safe and non-judgmental haven for voyeurs and exhibitionists. The club is modern and pleasing to the eye, adorned with artwork and flat screen televisions broadcasting tasteful pornography. There are three main levels, the lobby, the mingle and dance room which plays techno, and the upstairs where the real action takes place in smaller rooms partitioned by glass walls or sheer curtains. Twist is a private party occuring on Saturday nights and available by invitation only. To be considered for the invitation list, contact the venue through their website, http://www.twist-sf.com well in advance of your trip. Single ladies enter free here as well, while couples are charged cover. Single males are not allowed.
The North Beach area of San Francisco has contributed much to the history of strip clubs. The very first topless bar in the U.S., The Condor Club, opened its doors here in 1964. Located at Broadway and Columbus, the venue had a brief stint as a restaurant before returning to its original status as a topless bar.
The Lusty Lady bears the distinction of being the only cooperatively owned peepshow style venue in the world. When the venue opened in the 70s it originally played only 16mm peepshow films, but added live dancers in the early 80s. The club unionized in 1997. Today, coin operated pornography booths are available in addition to the live dancers. Once a year, the venue offers Play Days where a behind the scene glimpse of the club’s workings is given and visitors can meet the dancers.
San Francisco’s spirit of sexual liberation continues to this day in its openness toward human sexuality. A visit to these venues is a unique glimpse at what remains of the summer of love.