Sydney’s loss is Melbourne’s gain. A while back, Sydney lost its leather bar and the Sydney Sleaze Ball, a major annual leather dance party, within a couple years of each other. That left Melbourne as Australia’s kinkiest city standing. But Melbourne was already doing quite well for itself, thank you very much. It doesn’t hurt that being further south than Sydney Melbourne has better leather weather. (Down Under, the weather gets cooler the further south you go.) But more than anything, what Melbourne has that Sydney doesn’t is the Laird.
The Laird is a male-only bar that has been catering to leather & fetish men and bears since 1980. It has three individual bars, a massive beer garden, and accommodations upstairs. (In Australia, many bars and pubs, including the Laird, are called hotels because a former law required such places to provide accommodations.) So if you’re staying at the Laird, you can entice guys in the bar to come up to fuck several times a night, you whore.
The Laird hosts several community events throughout the year. You’ve got two chances each year, summer (February) and winter (August) to make Code Black, a dance party with a fetish dress code that’s strictly enforced. August’s Code Black is part of AWOL – A Week of Leather and Fetish. AWOL kicks off every year with the Jock Party, which is followed by a week of workshops, exhibitions, the Laird Leatherman Competition, and more events for horny fetish men. Every October, the Laird hosts the Northside Bizarre, a mini version of San Francisco’s Folsom Street Fair. The neighborhoods on Melbourne’s northside, by the way, are where most gay fun is to be found.
There are more places to go whoring in Melbourne than just the Laird of course. You can get your rocks off on the northside without bar small talk at Wet on Wellington. This sauna is equipped with slings and a variety of playspaces. What makes it particularly “wet” is the 25-meter lap pool. Plenty fur gets wet on Bear Tuesdays. Other saunas around Melbourne are Subway Sauna, in Melbourne’s CBD, and Bay City Sauna and Peninsula Sauna and Spa, both further down the coast. Every Wednesday is fetish night at Bay City.
Melbourne is definitely the place for men who love to dance in their gear. WoofClub is the party for macho men (and men only) in leather, rubber, and other fetish-wear. The only thing you can’t wear at WoofClub is cologne. Man-scents only, please! For something more all-inclusive but still sexy as fuck, there’s Leather Nation. Everyone is welcome at these dance parties, but streetwear is not.
So you need to pick up some new gear to show off when you go out, right? Look no further than Eagle Leather. This fully stocked shop is located around the corner from the Laird. Around yet another corner is Mannhaus, where you can find all sort of butt toys and other perversions. Melbourne also has a couple of high-end shops selling fetish apparel to a pansexual market. One is Lucrezia & De Sade, also located on Melbourne’s northside. The other is Marquis de Sade, located a bit outside central Melbourne. (Hmm, I’m sensing a theme with the shops’ names. I guess that’s to make it easier for straight people to find them.)
Really though, you barely need to leave Melbourne’s northside at all during your visit. For something a little more charming than a room above the Laird, stay at the logically named 169 Drummond Street, a gay B&B in 19th-century mansion. But you’re a pig so you might want something down and dirty. The Gatehouse is just the place for you. Accommodations at this guesthouse for men only come with a sling. For sustenance, grab a casual bite at Bomb Cafe or some pub fare at the Park Hotel. (Remember the whole pub/hotel thing?) All of these fetish-friendly establishments are walking distance to the Laird or just a little further out. A bit further north you can find Barber Black Sheep, an adults-only barbershop recommended by local fetish men.
If what you’re really looking to do is hang out in your rubber with like-minded folks, check out Melbourne Rubber, an inclusive group for all lovers of latex. Are big and hairy men your thing? The guys of VicBears can’t wait to meet you. And they’d especially love to have you join them for BearFEST, their annual festival coinciding with Midsumma. Midsumma is Melbourne’s biggest gay event—a pride fest put on every January and February. You know, mid-summer!
In Melbourne, winter is summer, up is down, and the further south you go, the colder it gets. But there’s one thing that won’t fuck with your head in Melbourne. The men are hot and ready to play!
For more information or where to find fetish fun in Melbourne and Sydney too and cities in North America and Europe, check out my website Leathermen Travel at www.leathermentravel.com.
The Laird www.lairdhotel.com
AWOL – A Week of Leather and Fetish www.aweekofleather.com
Northside Bizarre www.northsidebizarre.com
Wet on Wellington www.wetonwellington.com.au
Subway Sauna www.subwaysauna.com.au
Bay City Sauna www.baycitysauna.com.au
Peninsula Sauna and Spa www.peninsulasauna.com.au
Leather Nation www.leathernation.com.au
Eagle Leather www.eagleleather.com.au
Lucrezia & De Sade www.lucreziadesade.com.au
Marquis de Sade www.marquisdesade.com.au
169 Drummond Street www.169drummond.com.au
The Gatehouse www.club80.net/gatehouse.html
Bomb Cafe www.bombcafe.com.au
The Park Hotel www.theparkhotel.com.au
Barber Black Sheep www.facebook.com/barberblacksheepaustralia
Melbourne Rubber www.twitter.com/MelbRubberMen