S outh Florida is one of the great gay havens in America. Hell, it's one of the great gay havens of the world. But it's easy to miss the good stuff.
Understand: South Florida -- by which I mean Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties -- is basically one big city. From the red-roofed housing developments in south Homestead to the prefab luxury 'hoods north of Jupiter, SoFla is 130 miles of unbroken urban sprawl. Each town is a universe unto itself. Some of the burgs are full of what used to be called Florida crackers -- folks with sawgrass scars and intimate knowledge of gator behavior, who make their livings in and around the primeval Everglades swamp. Those burgs do not incubate much in the way of gay life. Another of the burgs might in fact be the gayest place in the whole world -- and if you're not from here, you probably have never heard of it.
Hotel Gaythering | Courtesy of Hotel Gaythering
The gayness is as a component of South Beach's glittery, sweaty, pansexual gestalt.
Art Mural in Wynwood, Miami | Sergio TB/Shutterstock
Gift shop in Wilton Manors | Flickr/Roman F Follow
Wilton Manors is an extremely wholesome-feeling burg. Sort of like Mayberry R.F.D. but with Speedos.
Sebastian Street Beach | Stocked House Studio/Shutterstock
You'll find a strip club called Le Boy, specializing in adorably malnourished twinks.
Island House Key West Gay Hotel & Resort | Island House Key West Gay Hotel & Resort
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1. Club Boi 1437 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (Miami Beach)

If you’re looking for a nightspot that ditches electronic music for Latin hits, hip-hop, R&B, and old school rap, head to Miami Beach’s Club Boi. The nightclub’s roster of events packs a punch, including the crowd-favorite, high-energy weekly Sexy Saturdays. Though the club caters mostly, but not exclusively to Latin and black men, it’s open to everyone of course, so make Club Boi a stop on your next night out.

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2. Score Bar 1437 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (Miami Beach)

Get ready to shoot, score, and win at Score Miami, a nightclub in Miami Beach that prides itself on being one of the hottest, most energetic spots in the city. Situated on Washington Avenue, Score’s space is lit up with rainbow spotlights and a massive disco ball, lending a truly universally flattering glow to the well-coiffed men on the dance floor. If you’re seeking a spot to see and be seen, make Score next on your Miami nightlife bucket list.

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3. Twist 1057 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (Miami Beach)

Twist has two stories, three dance floors, and seven bars, which are numbers you should get behind… literally. The massive nightclub on Washington Ave. is the apex of gay bars on the beach, with abundant drink specials, beats bumping, and shirtless buffs packed shoulder-to-shoulder in every nook and cranny. Grab a drink at one of the many bars and dance until dawn on one of the dance floors, just don’t leave without a trip to the back cabana, the “Bungalow Bar,” for a dance from the go-go boys. And remember, as they say at Twist, “Never a cover, always a groove!”

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4. Palace Bar 1200 Ocean Dr, Miami, FL 33139 (Miami Beach)

The first and only gay restaurant and bar on Ocean Drive, the Palace has been an Art Deco District institution for decades. The menu, divided into appetizers, sandwiches, flatbreads, burgers, salads, entrees, pastas, and sides will fuel you during both weekend drag shows and weekly dance parties, and highlights include blackened mahi, shrimp and tilapia livornese, and Cajun fettucine with peppers and sautéed chicken. Signature cocktails are whimsical and innovative, including the Tiffany Fantasia, with pear vodka, lychee puree, and lemonade, the T.Lo with Tanduay Asian Rum, raspberry puree, pineapple juice, and soda water, and the Melissa Hilton with peach vodka, peach schnapps, cranberry juice, and pineapple juice.

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5. Azucar NightClub 2301 SW 32nd Ave, Miami, FL 33145

It’s been said that nights at Azucar Miami are sweet as sugar, and you’ll understand why after a couple of drinks at this premier gay Latin nightclub in Miami. Whether you’re shy on the dance floor or like to shake it out for everyone to see, you’ll find a home at this spot, which serves as a gateway to the nightlife scene in Little Havana. Azucar Miami jam packs its schedule with cabaret nights, drag shows, and, of course, drink specials, promising a good time every time.

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6. Club Aqua 2991 Coral Way, Coral Gables, FL 33145 (Coral Gables)

Club Aqua -- formerly known as Club Body Center upon its inception in the '70s -- is Miami’s last remaining old-school gay sauna and bathhouse in Coconut Grove. The “Clothing Optional Facility” has everything you know and love about a bathhouse: gym, sauna, jacuzzi, spa, pool, tropical gardens, maze (that’s right, I said tropical gardens and a maze). Every day brings with it a different special, like free beer on some nights, DJs and male dancers the next, and poolside buffets when you get hungry. And there men, lots and lots of men.

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7. stork's 2505 NE 15th Ave, Wilton Manors, FL 33305 (Fort Lauderdale)

If all candidates for office opened bakeries, perhaps our country would function a little more sweetly. Okay, probably not, but considering that smile-inducing, sugar-high-inspiring Stork’s Bakery was opened by a one-time candidate for Congress, forgive us for thinking pastries can solve our politics. In any case, head to Stork’s for cakes, cheesecakes, pies, pastries, and tarts that will make your heart skip a beat. And if you’re craving “real” food (Mama once told you that cookies aren’t a meal), there’s that too. Try a salad, sandwich, or soup to feel extra satisfied.

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8. Le Patio Restaurant 2401 NE 11th Ave, Wilton Manors, FL 33305 (Fort Lauderdale)

Is there anything more romantic than a teeny tiny restaurant with an outdoor garden patio of wrought iron chairs and wooden tables lit by purple string lights? Combine the atmosphere and the European comfort food of Fort Lauderdale’s Le Patio, and you’ve got yourself the perfect date spot. Start with a cheese plate and work your way through the menu to the crowd-favorite lobster ravioli served in a heavy cream sauce, eventually ending with the crème brulee that will leave you with sweet dreams for days.

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9. Rumors Bar Lounge 2426 Wilton Dr, Wilton Manors, FL 33305 (Fort Lauderdale)

Rumors Bar and Grill is one of the few Wilton Manors spots that offers a BYOB option. That’s right, Build Your Own Burger. Add sautéed peppers, sautéed onions, garlic aioli, jalapeno jelly, mushrooms, and crispy onions to a blend-of-beef patty for the ultimate experience. If burgers aren’t your thing, opt for a mac & cheese with braised short rib, avocado fries with sriracha aioli, fried Brussels sprouts, or nachos to line your belly before diving headfirst into the cocktail menu of margaritas, wines, and beers.

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10. Progress Bar 2440 Wilton Dr, Wilton Manors, FL 33305 (Fort Lauderdale)

Progress is a breath of fresh air in a Wilton Manors strip heavily dominated by dive bars. This LGBTQ spot operates on the ethos of progress and unity, evident in the sleek and sophisticated décor like low ceilings, stone elements, and chrome lighting fixtures that make the space decidedly intimate. Come here for a drink or two with friends or make it your night-out destination, an experience enhanced by the club’s up-and-coming DJs and ultra talented dancers.

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11. Rosie's Bar & Grill 2449 Wilton Dr, Wilton Manors, FL 33305

It’s time to finally have a reason to order dessert for breakfast. Rosie’s Bar and Grill, a gay restaurant in Wilton Manors, offers a Sunday Funday brunch on its tropical patio. Sitting below vibrant umbrellas and paper lanterns, start with something “Big and Fluffy,” like a stack of s’mores pancakes loaded with milk chocolate and topped with marshmallow fluff, and then continue with a “Big ‘Dict,” Benedicts served on big, flaky biscuits. If you’re into “Omelet Porn” (don’t worry; there’s no discrimination here) try the cheeseburger omelet with beef, Cheddar cheese, tomato, onion, and pickles. Wash it all down with a Bloody Mary or three, and get dancin’ to the beat of the DJ.

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12. Galanga Thai Kitchen & Sushi Bar 2389 Wilton Dr, Wilton Manors, FL 33305 (Fort Lauderdale)

Restaurants on The Drive in Wilton Manors have a responsibility to be as exciting and hip as the various clubs, condos, and stores in the vicinity. Galanga Thai Kitchen & Sushi Bar fulfills its responsibility in its hip chalet-like house on Wilton Dr. with a romantic, contemporary atmosphere (perfect for a date) and famously attractive staff (perfect for finding a date, perhaps?) to prime its patrons for a wild dance party down the street. The food proffer includes authentic Thai and Japanese cuisines, with dishes like pad Thai, curries, familiar sushi roll favorites, and sashimi.

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13. The Manor 2345 Wilton Dr, Wilton Manors, FL 33305 (Fort Lauderdale)

The Manor is the pinnacle of Wilton Manor. It’s equal parts nightclub, event space, and ultra lounge housed in a two story space, culminating in a gay and lesbian funhouse… though fun mansion would be a more accurate depiction of the labyrinthine complex. The Manor features a combination of vintage and modern styles, with crystal chandeliers hanging alongside disco balls, a lavish VIP room with plush couches, and fog machines and rainbow confetti filling the air on the sweaty, sticky dance floor that you can’t seem to break away from… not even for bottle service in VIP.

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14. To The Moon 2205 Wilton Dr, Wilton Manors, FL 33305

To The Moon is an otherworldly treasure trove of over 12,000 colorful, collectible confectionary items, including hard-to-find candies from 1806 to today, 70 types of chocolate-covered snacks, over 100 types of black licorice, 90 varieties of dark chocolate, and hundreds of international grocery items like German pretzels, Dutch wafers, and British crisps. And if that’s not enough of a mouthful for you, add in some decidedly adult novelties sprinkled throughout the Wilton Manors store, and then reevaluate your opinion.

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15. Georgie's Alibi Monkey Bar 2266 Wilton Dr, Wilton Manors, FL 33305 (Fort Lauderdale)

With a name like Georgie's Alibi Monkey Bar, you pretty much know exactly what to expect, right? Right. The gay bar and restaurant in Wilton Manor is one of the area's busiest spots, maybe because of the award-winning burger, maybe because of the generous happy hours, but probably because of the late night transformation from burger joint to dance club Georgie's makes when the lights go down. Expect a line out the door and down the street, people travel to Georgie's Alibi Monkey Bar to be serenaded by the drag queens and the divas, for the nonstop dancing, and yeah, that award-winning burger, they're here for that, too.

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16. Tee-Jay Thai Sushi 2254 Wilton Dr, Wilton Manors, FL 33305

Before hitting up gay club Georgie’s Alibi at the Shoppes of Wilton Manors, stock up on raw fish and Thai specialties at Tee-Jay Thai Sushi. Perhaps somewhat envious of Georgie’s club aesthetic, Tee-Jay brings amps up the Asian dining experience to new, flashy levels with the glow of purple and blue neon lights, jellyfish-shaped lamps at the sushi bar, and sleek wooden furniture. Start with Thai dumplings, which come light and silky, and fill up on tuna tataki, Thai-style chicken fried rice, and aromatic chicken panang curry with peanuts, coconut milk, bell peppers, and a hefty amount of spice for a kick in the pants.

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17. Hunters 2232 Wilton Dr, Wilton Manors, FL 33305 (Fort Lauderdale)

The team behind Hunters Palm Springs has expanded its gay club empire down south, where Hunters Fort Lauderdale occupies a coveted spot in the Shoppes at Wilton Manors. The energy is contagious here, so come ready to tear up the dance floor beneath laser lights and a spiked disco ball that could potentially injure (read: impale) if gravity has its way. But you’re at Hunters. Your Moscow Mule is divine, your favorite song is blaring on the speakers, and all is well. Don’t be afraid to live on the edge.

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18. Java Boys 2230 Wilton Dr, Wilton Manors, FL 33305

In Wilton Manors, there are few spots where you can sit down for a drink that isn’t beer, wine, or a cocktail. Luckily, Java Boys is here to serve with the espresso you’ll need to wake you up after a night on the strip, as well as some delicious pastries to fuel (and fill out) your beach bod. With muffins, scones, pies, and even fried empanadas on offer, this cozy spot is a destination for both breakfast and lunch seekers.

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19. Ramrod 1508 NE 4th Ave, Wilton Manors, FL 33311 (Fort Lauderdale)

If you’ve ever spent time in Wilton Manors, it’s likely you’ve seen leather-clad men cruise by you on 4th Ave., but it’s even more likely that you’ve been to Ramrod, one of the longest running gay clubs in Fort Lauderdale, with an affinity for leather. Enter and enjoy edgy music and erotic videos in a medieval dungeon-like space, with gargoyles, griffins, and cast iron jail doors hanging from the ceiling, and a smoke machine clouding up the small room. There’s a bar on the back patio for those that shy from the sweaty dance floor inside, and for those that dare show up sans leather, you’re encouraged to stop by Leatherwerks, the on-premises leather and fetish store, which just so happens to be the best in the area… or just take off your shirt.

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20. Mona's Cocktail Lounge 502 E Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304 (Fort Lauderdale)

Mona’s Bar is what you’d imagine a real-life Fort Lauderdale Barbie dream beach house to look like if you nixed the teeny furniture, poured a whole lot of booze, and planted it on the side of Sunrise Boulevard. The cocktail bar (and its hot pink exterior) has a loyal following of locals who prefer this out-of-the-way gay dive to the Wilton Manors strip, and with popcorn and chocolate pretzels on offer as bar snacks, it’s not hard to understand why. Stick around long enough to play the bar’s signature train game -- every time the train rolls by, you might win yourself a free drink.

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21. Cubby Hole 823 N Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304 (Fort Lauderdale)

You’ll enter The Cubby Hole through, you guessed it, the back door. The smoke-filled hallway lined with Christmas lights will lead you to a bar that’s packed with tens of men (and a few ladies), and depending on the time of week, patrons will either be stripped down to their skivvies (there are weekly drink deals for that) or fully clothed. Come with your girls or your boys and down a couple of cheap cocktails as you move to the music of the 90s jukebox. You have entered the self-proclaimed Friendliest Bar in Fort Lauderdale, and yes, that is indeed porn playing on the flat-screens around the bar.

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22. 321 Slammer Club 321 Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311 (Fort Lauderdale)

You’ll need a membership to enter 321 Slammer, but that shouldn’t turn you off. With public and private play areas, slings, and glory holes, the space is darkly sexy with amber and dark red hues throughout. Wall decals of men of all shapes and sizes line the mazelike hallways, leaving what goes on behind these closed doors only to your imagination. The bar is BYOB, so bring your finest booze and your worst behavior.

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23. LeBoy 1243 NE 11th Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304 (Fort Lauderdale)

LeBoy is: where the boys are, never a cover, always a good time. LeBoy took a new approach to the strip club, turning it into an upscale establishment for entertainment and hospitality alike. The 2,500sqft space features choreographed performances, VIP rooms, an outdoor patio, and most importantly, male models. And this isn’t one of those strip clubs with questionable food, rather one of those few strip clubs with food that’s actually good. Pizzas, burgers, hot dogs, quesadillas, and the like are served on the patio, which is the perfect primer for watching male models flaunt their flawless bodies when they take the stage each night.

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24. The Funky Buddha Brewery 1201 NE 38th St, Oakland Park, FL 33334 (Fort Lauderdale)

Funky Buddha Brewing is home to big flavors, meaning that in a peanut butter and jelly beer, you’ll actually taste the roasted peanuts and fruit jam as you sip. Flagship beers include Hop Gun IPA and Floridian Hefeweizen, which pair perfectly with the cheese board, soft pretzel, Floridian spiced olives, and pork sandwich, which are all made in-house and served at the brewery. The space is industrial-chic with flecks of wood and chrome imbued in the walls.

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25. Lips Restaurant 1421 E Oakland Park Blvd, Oakland Park, FL 33334 (Fort Lauderdale)

Lips Restaurant is a show palace, where drag queens and divas dazzle during dinner theater in a space self-described as "Ken and Barbie's dream house on acid." A longtime West Village, New York City favorite, Lips extended its flashy entertainment to Fort Lauderdale, putting on shows beneath grand chandeliers and disco balls. There's no cover for the coveted seats at the bar, just a two-drink minimum, so order a couple kitschy-named cocktails, sit back, and prepare to be dazzled.

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26. La Te Da 1175 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040 (The Keys)

Key West was one of America’s original gay havens, but the island’s explicitly gay subculture has merged with the area's general funk and fun. It's evident at places like the historic La Te Da, a cabaret and piano bar set in an iconic hotel that once housed Cuban exile José Martí. Now, you’ll find Baptist housewives from Tennessee yucking it up with drag queens over martinis poolside -- it’s all gay, all straight, all pansexual, all the time.

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