Plato's Retreat was a swingers' club catering to heterosexual couples and bisexual women.
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The first was the former location of the Continental Bathsa gay sex club that was briefly in fashion with the chic and culturally adventurous, such as Bette Midler. InLarry Levenson, a high school friend of Al Goldstein and a former fast-food manager who was selling ice cream at Coney Islandwas introduced to the swinging lifestyle by a woman he met at a bar. The hotel used to house the Continental Bathsa gay bathhouse where singer Bette Midleroften accompanied by Barry Manilow on a baby grand piano, first became a national figure. Plato's Retreat was a "members-only" establishment that was legally not a public business.
This meant that members had to follow the club's rules. Levenson did not allow men unaccompanied by a female to enter. This of course blocked male homosexuals, and he also prohibited male-male sexual activity between the men that did get in. Woman on woman sex, however, he encouraged.
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Unaccompanied women were welcome, often at a discounted rate, or free. Once a woman left a room after a sexual encounter, her male companion had to accompany her within two minutes. This rule was intended to control the male—female ratio. Alcohol was forbidden. Drugs at the time alcohol was not considered a drug and paid sexual services were also forbidden,  but the prohibitions were not enforce, which would have been difficult at best.
In later years prostitutes did frequent the premises  and there was "rampant" use of drugs most often quaaludes by patrons. According to a advertisement in SCREW magazine, the club offered, besides a heated swimming pool, a steam saunawhirlpool bathsdisco dancing, free bar and buffet, "cozy living rooms and lounging areas", a "variety of swing areas", and a backgammon lounge.
During its heyday, Plato's Retreat was considered the world's most infamous sex club,  popular with celebrities, porn starsand well-to-do couples. The clientele was described as "an assortment of kinky types from the suburbs : dry cleaners and their wives, or fat men in toupees with their heavily made-up girlfriends.
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InLevinson opened Plato's West, on Yvar Avenue in Los Angeles, but the venture, "a failed attempt at franchising", was not successful and lasted only six months. InPlato's relocated to West 34th Street. In closing the gay bathhouses while allowing the heterosexual swingers' clubs — most notably Plato's Retreat — to remain open, the city found itself in violation of the newly adopted anti-discrimination law. The Health Department, with Koch's approval, reacted by ordering the heterosexual clubs, including Plato's Retreat, to close as well. The club's Manhattan location was shut down on New Year's Eveostensibly for violating public-health ordinances.
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After serving his sentence, Levenson worked in various jobs, such as cab driver. He died in after a quadruple bypass heart surgery. The descendent of Plato's Retreat was Plato's Repeat. It first appeared in in a listing of adult establishments in Miami, a "very unique pvt club". It was an on-premises heterosexual swingers' clubopen Monday through Sunday from eight p.
Saturday night was for couples only.
InPlato's Repeat closed, The Fort Lauderdale building reopened in as a gay men's sex club under the name " Slammer", keeping the same bring-your-own format. In the s, there are reportedly numerous on-premises swingers' clubs operating in South Florida. InJoe Thomas released a disco single"Plato's Retreat,"  with lyrics referring to the club.
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Lincoln Type Swingers club Opened Closed Plato's Retreat was a swingers' club catering to heterosexual couples and bisexual women. New York City portal Human sexuality portal. Tales of Times Square. Feral House. The New York Times.
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