Best place for gay men of a certain bent to smoke, cruise, and maybe even get their Wescos polished New York 2007 - The Eagle
Despite AIDS, changing fashions in sex and sexuality, and the West Side real-estate boom that continues to devastate area nightlife, crowds of he-men still flock to New York's sole serious butch bar, The Eagle, to drink, drug, pose, shoot pool, tease the bootblack, buy a cock ring or other sundry, and perhaps even find love—or its approximation. If you missed the recent screenings of William Friedkin's boneheaded, vastly entertaining film Cruising (1980) and/or are too young to remember the original Eagle (or the Lure, or the Mineshaft), then this establishment is the closest you'll likely get to the rampant machismo and the leather/S&M culture that for a time defined the meatpacking district— and, by extension, a generation of gay men looking for role models other than fluttery florists and Franklin Pangborn. Saturday night is when the wannabe cops, truckers, cowboys, and other tough-guy fantasists gather in full force here; it's particularly festive on holidays and special-events weekends, such as the recent Mr. Eagle competition. A fetish dress code (leather/rubber, uniforms, jockstraps, gas masks, etc.) is strictly enforced on Thursday nights, and early evenings on Sundays are often bearish and lively—especially after the bar-sponsored rugby matches and softball home games. The real attraction, though, is the Eagle's roof deck: a zillion square feet of landscaped decking with lots of bench seating and seductive nooks. There's a full bar, plus a stunning view of the massive, streamlined Starrett-Lehigh building just down the block.