Are the Gays Returning to South Beach? (Fingers Crossed!)

​There was a wonderful time, not so many years ago, when Miami Beach was brimming with hot bods, the word fabulous hung in the air, and rainbow flags were flying high. Those were the good old, tasteful days when the gays ruled sunny South Beach.

At some point, sadly, they flocked north to make Fort Lauderdale's Wilton Manors the cool queer place to be. (See our January 2010 article, "Gays Leave Unfriendly South Beach for Fort Lauderdale." Let's hope such attacks are a thing of the past.) And we've been lonely ever since. We miss hearing enough Robin S.' "Show Me Love" endlessly at clubs. We want to brush up against your shiny gay muscles all over the place. We really miss you!

Lately, though, and awesomely enough, we've noticed some signs that gays might be reclaiming the real estate across the MacArthur Causeway. It's possibly on its way to revitalization, and we'll give you the top three reasons why.

12th Street Beach Shout-Outs: Recently on Cultist, we made a list of beaches people like to chill at, noting what their squatting spot says about their personalities. Like, for instance, how Third Street is a haven for hippies and surfers and if you go up to the 80s, families are the norm. We left out the homosexual contingency, and let us tell you, they made sure to let us know in the comments. Apparently, 12th Street is the place where the gay men gather to bronze their toned chests.

Palace Bar and Restaurant Was Bumping on Memorial Day: Remember when the Clevelander was a place for the boys? Ocean Drive was definitely a comfy destination for gay men. After the Clevelander became guido-land, there weren't enough spots facing the Atlantic that were specifically queer friendly. Luckily, Palace Bar with the magical tagline: "Every Queen Needs a Palace" looked packed this Memorial Day weekend, and continues to have a full schedule of events with flare and pizzazz.

It's pride central down there. They've got drag nights like every night of the week (see a roundup here), they're flying the rainbow flag high over the street, and nobody's going to mess with the lovely drag queens, mostly because they're bigger and buffer than any other bouncer on the beach.

Lords South Beach Exists: The biggest reason it seems the gays are retuning home is because of the rise of Lords South Beach. It's a gay hotel. We repeat, a gay hotel. The place touts itself as "an appropriately oriented hotel." We get it, oriented. With a huge photo of Liz Taylor on the wall of one of the rooms, there's no question who Lords' audience is. With parties like Sunday's Cabana Boy Pool Party and Wednesday Game Nights - which includes perhaps a bit of spin the bottle or flip cup - we know the fabu fun is back. There are also nights devoted to what appears to be show tunes with performers like Glenda Grainger who we saw sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" at Senior Idol. Who needs Wilton Manors when we've got Glenda?!

Come back, friends of the awkward hag, we need a pal with good taste, a steady perspective on men, and, we need you gays, you know how to have a good time. Show me love, gays. Show me love.

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Liz Tracy has written for publications such as the New York Times, the Atlantic, Refinery29, W, Glamour, and, of course, Miami New Times. She was New Times Broward-Palm Beach's music editor for three years. Now she plays one mean monster with her 2-year-old son and obsessively watches British mysteries.
Contact: Liz Tracy