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Back in 2500 BC, when the first public baths were built, it’s conjectured that aside from cleanliness, its purpose was spiritual. To the Romans, it was social. But you may not be too familiar with bathhouses in the modern era. The new Williamsburg spa, Bathhouse, was grown from the same concept that has been evolving for thousands of years. This one, however, is far more luxurious.
Wellness in all its forms has been firing up across the country, and Travis Talmadge and Jason Goodman are right on top of the trend with their newest Williamsburg venture. Bathhouse is home to a range of amenities that cater to athletes and wellness enthusiasts looking to recover after a tough workout or just enjoy a day off from the gym.
The November 2019 opening manifested when the duo saw whitespace in our emerging wellness culture. “There are great aspects of other bathhouses, but they’re not made for the modern peak performer and lifestyle enthusiast,” explains Talmadge. “Spas are an antiquated experience that don’t satisfy the human need for social experiences and aren’t focused on proven methods of recovery.” Thus, Bathhouse, a labyrinth of modern of self-care services constructed in the 1930s Dr. Brown’s soda factory, became the solution.
Bathhouse offers an array of wellness treatments and amenities catered toward athletes in particular. You can treat yourself to a massage, stretch sesh, or scrub, and afterward, you can head over to their saunas, steam room, thermal pools, cryotherapy, sensory deprivation tank, and heated marble hammams for max zen time.
“Everything Bathhouse offers is focused and designed around best practices for performance and functionality,” says Goodman. “They’re all simple, straightforward high-quality treatments.”
Goodman’s favorite? The Bathhouse Experience, which is a 15-minute stretch, 60-minute signature Bathhouse massage, and 15-minute scrub with access to all the public amenities. According to the co-founder, you’ll leave “feeling like a million bucks.”
Bathhouse also has an on-site restaurant for when you’ve been massaged, stretched, and steamed to your limit and need to regain the strength it takes to hit the streets of Brooklyn again. Chef Nejc Šeruga has pulled together a menu of fine dining options for this purpose using northern and eastern European cuisines.
“We were inspired by the bathhouse cultures of Europe and wanted to offer the food you crave after a thermal circuit,” says Talmadge. “The menu is meant to be functional, but also delicious.”
Talmadge raves about the confit duck leg, which is actually a recipe from Slovenia, Chef Šeruga’s homeland.
When you walk into Bathhouse, you’re invited to feel the history and modernity of the concept simultaneously. “Sexy, yet highly functional,” as Talmadge phrased it. Think low lighting and minimalist vibes — you know, the way you dream your 400-square-foot apartment could look if you had enough cabinet space to store your cereal out of your guests’ line of sight. Dim and moody, industrial and historic, the public baths and treatment rooms allow you to escape. And the open, airy, light-soaked restaurant—serving a rather paleo-leaning menu for lunch, brunch, and dinner—rejuvenates both body and mind.
For now, co-founders Talmadge and Goodman are just looking to spread the word about Bathhouse. But in the future, they’re aiming for something a little more grandiose.
“There was a time in history when urban environments were full of amazing bathhouses,” says Goodman. “Unfortunately, that’s not still the case. We want to return to that glory in a fun, modern way.” Though, don’t expect its next development to take centuries.
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