From Andrew Collins, About.com
One of the world’s premier gay resort destinations, Fort Lauderdale has been transformed over the past 15 years with a beautifully redeveloped beachfront, the addition of dozens of gay resorts and bars, and a vibrant rejuvenation of its downtown area. The adjacent inland community of Wilton Manors is similarly gay-friendly, with much of metro Fort Lauderdale’s top gay bars, plus great shopping and dining. Here’s a visual tour of the region.
Stork’s Cafe & Bakery, Wilton Manors
With a pair of locations in very hip areas, Stork’s Cafe & Bakery (2505 N.E. 15th Ave., 954-567-3220) is a favorite gay hangout, coffeehouse, breakfast spot, dessert purveyor, and sandwich shop for both Fort Lauderdale’s swanky Las Olas Boulevard crowd and the GLBT bunch in Wilton Manors – pictured here is the dessert case filled with delicious cakes and treats. Both location have indoor and outdoor seating and great people-watching.
The Cabanas Gay Guesthouse and Spa is an all male gay guesthouse located in the heart of Wilton Manor’s, the gay area of fabulous gay Fort Lauderdale. The tropical settings of palm trees, lush foliage, secure off street parking and of course the IDEAL location make this clothing optional gay guesthouse unique and special.
Ramrod Bar, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Just a short drive south of the main gay-nightlife action in Wilton Manors, Fort Lauderdale’s super-butch, totally cruisy Ramrod Bar (1508 N.E. 4th Ave., 954-763-8219) is a bit less about leather these days than it might have been back in the day (you’ll even spot some clubby twinks these days), but it still draws plenty of rugged, buffed guys not only in leather gear but uniforms, Levi’s and black t-shirts, and other such gear. The crowd ranges anywhere from bearish to rock-hard-pecs, from college- to post-retirement age. But the median group in here is about 35 to 50. This is basically just your dark, industrial-chic cruise bar, where the men are men, and the porn plays on the TV monitors. There’s nothing subdued or discreet about this place, and you’ll often see guys gettin’ busy inside or out on the quite pleasant patio.
Although Ramrod is in Fort Lauderdale on N.E. 4th Avenue, this is actually just a continution of Wilton Drive as it runs south – the bar is about five-minute drive south of Georgie’s Alibi and some of the other popular gay hangouts in Wilton Manors.
Georgie’s Alibi, sports and video bar, in Wilton Manors
With additional locations in Palm Springs (as well as Azul Restaurant) and St. Petersburg, festive Georgie’s Alibi (2266 Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors, 954-565-2526) anchors the tres-gay Shoppes of Wilton Manors and is one of South Florida’s most successful, popular, and fun-loving gay nightspots. It’s attractive space with a cafe serving quite good burgers, salads, and light food, dozens of video monitors showing both music and sports, a sizable patio, and a full slate of events featuring visiting entertainers and promotions. Georgie’s pulls in a mix of guys of all ages and styles, plus more than a few women, and the staff is friendly and easy-going. This is pretty much your “must” in Fort Lauderdale, if you only have the time or inclination to visit one gay bar. That being said, you can walk to a number of other bars, shops, and restaurants in the “family”-friendly commercial district of Wilton Manors.
Gay and Lesbian Community Center of South Florida
In western Fort Lauderdale just southwest of Wilton Manors, the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of South Florida (1717 N. Andrews Ave., 954-463-9005) has been a fixture in the community for more than 15 years. It’s an excellent resource for learning about organizations and social groups serving the GLBT community in metro Fort Lauderdale, and it also hosts a number of events, provides health and referral services, and helps promote awareness on behalf of the community throughout South Florida.
Java Boys coffeehouse, Wilton Manors
Located at what might just be the world’s gayest strip mall, the Shoppes of Wilton Manors, Java Boys (2230 Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors, 954-564-8828) is a cozy little coffeehouse and tearoom that’s pretty much always filled with local gays and lesbians – in fact, on many afternoons it’s as cruisy in here as it is a few storefronts away at Georgie’s Alibi bar. There’s plenty of room to kick back and lounge away the afternoon, and free WiFi is available.