Being gay in Miami is hard to match. The weather's gorgeous. The nightlife is amazing. And the pool parties never stop.
However, an exodus to Wilton Manors up in Broward has left the gay bar scene in Miami on the decline. "Part of it has been a migration more than anything," says Stache Bar co-owner Alex Laos. "There is no bar culture here in Miami."
Others, like Eros Lounge manager Carlos Rojas, believe that it's mostly due to the recession and a lack of planning from bar owners.
Yet despite these shortcomings, Miami's still a total gay playground. And anything can happen at a local gay bar, from meeting your next boyfriend (or girlfriend) to enjoying a delicious Sunday brunch with a beefcake in a top hat and bowtie.
Just check out Miami's ten best gay bars.
10. Eros Lounge
Located right on Biscayne Boulevard in North Miami, Eros Lounge shoots for a billiards bar feel, even though there's just one table. Still, it's spacious like a pool hall, with a 360-degree bar, couches for lounging, seven flatscreen TVs, and a dance floor.
Open every day from 3 p.m. till 3 a.m., Eros has a two-for-one happy hour -- featuring premium ($10) and call ($8) liquors, as well as tap and bottled beers ($4 for domestics, $5 for imports) -- that ends at 9 p.m. On Sundays, there's a Tea Dance with live DJs from 5 to 10 p.m., not to mention a Herradurra margarita special.
A nice little getaway from the South Beach hubbub, Eros also has free parking, free WiFi, and a small food menu that includes paninis and gyros.
9. Stache Bar
If you're looking for a nice, friendly, low-key joint, hit Stache Bar on Normandy Isles. It's only been open for two months. And already, Stache has a solid local following. This bar's all about comfort and intimacy. Just head for the cozy patio bar and enjoy half-price well drinks and domestics during the 5 to 9 p.m. happy hour. Come here, grab a bar stool, and relax.
8. Mova Lounge
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There's a party at Mova each and every night of the week. And if you're a service industry worker, check out S.I.N on Tuesdays for $6 premium drinks all night long.
The best part: There's never a cover at Mova.
Downtown's definitely got some prime party spots. Like Discotekka at Mekka.
Hit the disco every Saturday for a house party. And then come back on Sunday for the Drag's A Bitch drag ball, hosted by DJ Daisy Deadpetals with performances by Justice Divine, Erika Norell, Melissa Hilton, and Athena Dion. Admission is free for everyone until midnight, then guys pay $20 and girls pay $10.
If you can't make it to South Beach, step into Discotekka.
6. Magnum Lounge
A piano bar with delicious food and shirtless waiters, Magnum Lounge earned Miami New Times' award for Best Fried Chicken in 2010.
Within walking distance of Eros Lounge and a short drive from Swinging Richard's strip club, Magnum is a very popluar place. Open every day except Monday, this place gets packed, so table reservations are highly recommended. Call before you come.
Every gay bar needs some kind of awesome spectacle. So it's no surprise that Score on Lincoln Road has high theater in mind.
Described by Circ X founder Diana Lozano as "Rocky Horror meets Cabaret Voltaire," Madame Monsters on Monday nights screams decadence. It would truly make John Waters proud. And another killer party: Score's Latin-themed Planeta Macho on Tuesday nights.
For the most raging gay nightclub at 4 a.m., check out Twist on Washington in South Beach. Upon first entering, you'll walk into a bar with a pub feel to it. There will be tap beers, a quiet atmosphere, and down-to-Earth bartenders. But that's a far cry from the shirtless bartenders and dance craze to be found on the second floor.
In all, seven bars fill this mansion, including a courtyard bar. So when all of the other gay spots are dying down and clearing out, Twist will still be packed. P.S. Look nice,
because there's a dress code.
3. Cha Cha Rooster
But why settle for a pool when the hotel is only a block away from the beach? Because it's a pool party, duh!
2. Club Sugar
Finding a place to park on South Beach is a total pain in the ass, especially on the weekends, and some of the aforementioned locales have expensive cover charges that don't add up to anything except the price of admission. That's why Club Sugar just one block off Miracle Mile is a fun place to escape from SoBe.
It's certainly not glossy. But you honestly can't beat
two-for-one drinks on Friday nights until midnight. Or a small Saturday
night cover that includes free drinks until 11:30 p.m., not to mention Speedo-wearing twinks strutting their stuff, waiting for you to take a picture with them.
1. The Palace Bar
Aside from being the first and only LGBT bar on Ocean Drive, the Palace Bar has sidewalk drag shows all weekend. Plus, there's a Sunday brunch (voted Best Sunday Brunch by Miami New Times in 2010) with unlimited mimosas and Bloody Marys, followed by the Tea Dance drag show from 6 to 10 p.m.
French-trained chef Don Wharton runs the kitchen, whipping out menu items such as burgers, tacos, salads, ribs, seafood, and pasta ranging from $8.95 to $20.
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"Location is definitely a plus. The atmosphere too. Lots of hot boys and hot
girls," says Ely Conroy, food and beverage director at The Palace. "It
gets kind of crazy here. Really crazy."