Perth Steam Works to relaunch with an all-new look

LGBTIQ+ venues are finally emerging from lockdown limbo, and Perth Steam Works is ready to return with an all-new look this Saturday.

A fixture of Perth’s LGBTIQ+ community for 25 years, Perth Steam Works found a new owner in Michael Drummond earlier this year, and the new team have overseen massive renovations to the space while the doors have been closed as per COVID guidelines.

Bringing his experience as a successful business owner in the security sector, Mike sat down with us for a chat about the renovations, and the venue’s plans for the future, and how he came to take over the beloved queer men’s space.

“A friend of mine owned Steam Works and had been trying to sell it for a while and was struggling to find someone that was willing or able to pay, and one fateful day I was driving down the freeway and I just happened to ring him and he said, ‘I’ve shut it!’,” Mike recalls.

Mike explains that by the end of the phone call, the pair had reached an agreement and he drove straight over to remove the venue’s closed signage.

“The venue was closing and I didn’t think it should, it’s been here for 25 years and hopefully it’s here for 25 more. It just needed some love and we decided we were the ones that could do it!”

Like most local businesses, Steam Works was hit by COVID-19 restrictions, seeing a total shutdown shortly after Mike’s takeover. While Mike explains it was a difficult period, the team were committed to use the time to totally revamp the venue and take it to a new level.

“I had no idea of how many hidden expenses existed… and then of course COVID hit. We knew we were going to do renovations, we always knew we were going to do the deck but obviously with all of that time on our hands, it was such a great opportunity to do more.”

“We’ve been shut now since March which has been hard. Even before the business was shut, every single cent the business was making was being put back into renovations, and just little things turned out to cost a lot of money. We wanted to do as much as we possibly could in that time, so yes it has been hard financially, but hopefully when people come back they’ll see the difference and support the venue even more.”

The space has an almost entirely new look. While some favourite fixtures remain, Mike and his team have given the space a total refresh from tiling to lighting, the spa to the sauna – even custom made soaps for the shower area. Not to mention the brand new outdoor space that brings something extra special to the venue.

“The outdoor deck is probably the biggest highlight, and then there was a complete renovation of all the major facilities,” Mike said.

“The steam room, the sauna, the spa, the showers, the lockers, those are the core facilities … we’ve done all of them!”

Aside from the renovations, Mike is aiming to bring new patrons into the venue with a new range of events and parties to give the space a contemporary vibe.

“Every Thursday we’ve changed to Naked Thursday all day. We used to have Naked Night which was really popular, but the day time customers felt like they were missing out so we’ve now made it all day. We’ve got an Underwear Party coming up on Friday 11th September, we’ve got a Halloween Party coming up on 31st October – and that’s going to be wild. We’ve got DJs, lighting rigs, coffins, skeletons… it’s going to be epic.

“We’re also working through what the plans are going to be for the rest of the year. Obviously New Year’s Eve is going to be huge… we’re definitely keen to get more into events and the social side of things. It’s not just about coming here to find someone for sex.”

Perth Steam Works will also continue to host its free on site testing clinic, recommitting to their partnership with the WA AIDS Council (WAAC). Run by the team from M Clinic, the service offers non-judgmental, confidential STI testing and treatment.

“Sexual health is a huge part of what we do and being proactive in this area by partnering with WAAC to offer free testing is something we are very pleased to have been able to continue and grow,” Mike said.

“Being able to continue to offer free sexual health testing as a result of this new partnership with WAAC is a great outcome.”

Mike ensures us that health concerns are a top priority for his team, laying out the venue’s COVID-19 precautions as well as their sexual health initiatives.

“We were ideally waiting for Phase 5, saunas and bathhouses were allowed to open in Phase 4, but because of renovations it just made sense to hold out. Obviously the date keeps changing so we’ve just decided to open with the current restrictions, the main restriction being 2sqm per person. Our venue is 800sqm, and we have a capacity of 100, so we have four times the required space under the COVID restrictions.”

“Our cleaning regime here has always been hospital grade and it has to be. We have cleaning staff at all times going around cleaning and sanitising, as we always have. That’s going to be stepped up with additional shifts for that. We’ve got hand sanitising stations all over the venue and we have a full COVID plan, so I’m comfortable we’ve covered all of the bases. It’s no different to going to the gym!”

Perth Steam Works is set to reopen on Saturday 1st August from midday. For more information head to

Leigh Andrew Hill

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