Tribe Seattle — the men’s club formerly known as Basic Plumbing — has shut down on 10th Ave after 17 years on Capitol Hill:
Thanks to Jeff Hennes from Doghouse Leathers and the Cuff for alerting us to the closure. Hennes also helped us fill out some of the history of the bathhouse as he remembers it:
BP had opened about 1995 in the Villa Apts Building on Pike before it was remodeled. This leaves Club Z and Steamworks as the only two private men’s clubs.
We’ve left messages with management and Vernon Anderson, president of the corporation that ran the club, to see what else we can learn about the decision to shut down. A check of city records shows no new projects underway or violations at the address.
Over the years, the 10th Ave location for the unmarked sex club had become more and more a juxtaposition between an older, grittier Pike/Pine and the new era including neighbor Elliott Bay Book Co. down the street.
The building Tribe/BP called home has been owned by the same landlords since the ’90s. It remains the home of the Comet and The Lobby Bar. We reported in August on change coming for the retail spaces in the neighboring building on E Pike as restaurant Ballet and art space Square Room were told they would be losing their leases. Ballet has worked out a month to month deal to stay until the next project is ready to move in or Ballet finds a new home. The Square Room has since closed its storefront. UPDATE: Square Room says it didn’t lose its lease, exactly. See comments, below.
CHS never ventured inside Tribe so we’ll have to turn it over to this first person account posted on Yelp of all places describing the club. It’s written by an apparently disinterested party but gives you an idea of what you’d find behind the red door on 10th Ave:
As it so happens, late one night I escorted a friend who wanted a bit of fun. True to the virtues of friendship, he paid my entrance fee and bought me a membership.
Basic Plumbing isn’t like other bathhouses where you disrobe and walk around in a towel or nothing at all. Quite the contrary, you just walk around and around and around and around in semi-darkness wearing the clothes you came in with.
The labyrinth-like rooms and pathways are all situated on one floor. Along one corridor are a series of short stalls; I’m assuming this area is perfect for gay midgets or men who simply want to have a seat on their knees. I seem to remember a lounge area where you can surf the web or purchase a soft drink. God knows when I’m at a bathhouse I always want a Mountain Dew when I’m chatting with friends on MySpace.