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FIND OUT INSIDE WHO YOU PICKED AS YOUR FAVORITES THIS YEAR

Read and share online! sfgn.com/bestof2015

and the winners are...

Best Bar Best Restaurant Best Drag Queen Best City Best Burger And More!

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SOFLAGAYNEWS

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SOUTHFLORIDAGAYNEWS


MODERN DANCE Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Fri & Sat, Jan 22 & 23, 2016 @ 8PM

Paul Taylor Dance Company

Fri & Sat, Feb 26 & 27, 2016 @ 8PM

Lim贸n Dance Company

Fri & Sat, March 18 & 19, 2016 @ 8PM

Pilobolus Dance Theater

Fri & Sat, aPril 1 & 2, 2016 @ 8PM

4200 Congress Ave (I-95 Exit #63, west 1 mile)

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Best Of LGBT South Florida

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Best Of LGBT South Florida // SFGN.COM

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intro

Best Of 2015

SouthFloridaGayNews.com

BEST OF SOUTH FLORIDA • 2015

SFGN’S 2015 BEST OF

2520 N. DIXIE HIGHWAY • WILTON MANORS, FL 33305 PHONE: 954-530-4970 FAX: 954-530-7943

And the winners are... I n September we asked you, our readers, to vote for your favorite restaurants, hangouts, and charities — from your favorite burgers and desserts to the Best Place to Meet a Guy, or Girl. We received more than 15,000 votes in more than 75 categories. Some of the establishments continue to win year after year like Humpy’s for Best Pizza, Sebastian Beach for Best Beach and Wilton Manors for Best City — all three of whom have won five years in a row. Others though are new to our list like What the Pho for Best New Restaurant and Le Patio for Best Kept Secret.

This year we had divisions for our readership in Palm Beach County and Miami-Dade to showcase LGBT friendly establishments outside of the Wilton Manors area. Remember folks these are your opinions — not ours. Don’t agree with the winners? Well then make sure to vote in next year’s contest. Only those votes that came with valid email addresses were counted and duplicates were discarded. So without any further ado here are this year’s winners… — Jason Parsley

Thanks to all of our contributors for this special issue...

Andrea Richard, Denise Royal, Dennis Jozefowicz, Dori Zinn, Jesse Moneatgudo, Jillian Melero, John McDonald, JW Arnold, Lynnette Cantos, Alexander Adams, Natalya Jones, Michael d’Oliveira, Christiana Lilly

PUBLISHER • NORM KENT NORM.KENT@SFGN.COM CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER • PIER ANGELO GUIDUGLI ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER / EXECUTIVE EDITOR • JASON PARSLEY JASON.PARSLEY@SFGN.COM

Editorial

ART DIRECTOR • BRENDON LIES ARTWORK@SFGN.COM DESIGNER • CHARLES PRATT INTERNET DIRECTOR • DENNIS JOZEFOWICZ DENNIS.JOZEFOWICZ@SFGN.COM EDITORIAL ASSISTANT • JILLIAN MELERO JILLIANMELERO@GMAIL.COM ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR • JW ARNOLD JW@PRDCONLINE.COM

Sales & Marketing

DIRECTOR OF SALES & MARKETING • MIKE TROTTIER MIKE.TROTTIER@SFGN.COM SALES MANAGER • JUSTIN WYSE JUSTIN.WYSE@SFGN.COM ADVERTISING SALES ASSOCIATE • EDWIN NEIMANN EDWIN.NEIMANN@SFGN.COM ADVERTISING SALES ASSOCIATE • CINDY CURTIS CINDY.CURTIS@SFGN.COM ADVERTISING SALES ASSOCIATE • JIM ALBRIGHT JIM.ALBRIGHT@SFGN.COM SALES ASSISTANT • DEVON WOODS DEVON.WOODS@SFGN.COM DISTRIBUTION SERVICES • BRIAN SWINFORD NATIONAL ADVERTISING RIVENDELL MEDIA 212-242-6863 SALES@RIVENDELLMEDIA.COM ACCOUNTING SERVICES BY CG BOOKKEEPING

Best Of 2015

publisher’s editorial

PRINTING BY SUN COAST PRESS Copyright © 2014 South Florida Gay News.com, Inc.

THE ‘BEST OF’ CELEBRATES SUCCESS Norm Kent AND SELECTIVITY W

elcome again to our annual ‘Best Of’ Issue, which I hate passionately, from our fluffy logo to the arbitrary and capricious determinations of who is the best at anything. My anger is nothing new. Each year, we do this. Each year, the section grows. And each year, we piss more people off. Really. Remember, when you say a few are the best at something you are reminding everyone else they are not. You make more people unhappy, then, well- gay. Let’s face it. This is not scientific polling we are using. Our selections are based solely on your votes. A lot of people who did not vote are kicking themselves now, but it is not like voting on the best pizza is as important as selecting the next presidential candidate, though you will get a lot more satisfaction out of a good pizza pie. Speaking of which, don’t anyone dare tell me that anyone makes a better pie than Franco and Vinny’s on East Sunrise Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, who have been doing it the same location with the same owners for 40 years. We all have our passions and our favorites. Some people rub jelly on their belly. It’s to each his own, a cornucopia of free

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will. Today’s paper represents your determinations, not my predispositions. Disagree with the choices and selections? Tell us why. Don’t dis the other guy, just write back and tell us why your guy should have won. And damn, vote next time. So here we go again, running an issue that delights the few and pisses off the many. At least I can say this as a publisherif you won it means your community appreciates you; that people put your name and business out there for recognition and achievement. And thus, we salute the winners, particularly Crunch, my favorite gym. Of course, they asked me NOT to say I actually even work out at a gym. Don’t want to damage their reputation. However, Greek theologian that I am, may I respectfully point out that I admire all of you who simply go out and work your hardest and do your best everyday. That is all that can be asked. It doesn’t matter if you are a janitor or a judge. Be proud of who you are and the work you do. In closing, I still hate ‘Best of Issues.’ They seem to be unfair to so many of you who work so hard to be proficient and the best at what you do.

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staff picks

Best Of 2015

Staff’s Picks

Throughout this issue the readers have chosen their favorites. Here’s a list of our favorites. Enjoy.

Best Deal on Great Wine Naked Grape’s Happy Hour 2163 Wilton Dr. Wilton Manors 954-563-5631 NakedGrapeWineBar.com

Best Brunch for a Large Group Dapur

(there’s something for everyone)

1620 N Federal Hwy. Fort Lauderdale 954-306-2663 DapurKitchen.com

Best Ice Cream Wilton Creamery 2301 Wilton Dr. STE C-4 Wilton Manors 954-565-1183

Best Place to Take Visitors Stonewall Gallery 2157 Wilton Dr. Wilton Manors 954-763-8565

WiltonCreamery.com

Best Place for a Sweet Tooth Out of the Oven

(The crumb cake is to die for)

2290 Wilton Dr. Wilton Manors 954-616-8596

Best Mid-Week Break Dance lessons at Scandals Saloon 3073 NE 6th Ave. Fort Lauderdale 954-567-2432

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Best Of LGBT South Florida

Fall 2015

Best Italian Market Paesano Italian Gourmet Food Café 2645 E Oakland Park Blvd. Fort Lauderdale 954-396-1700

Best Kale Salad 13 EVEN 2037 Wilton Dr. Wilton Manors 954-565-8550

Best Place for $1 Burgers

Best Branzino La Dolce Vita 3331 NE 33rd St. Fort Lauderdale 954-565-5707

Best Smoke Shop Smoke This Too 2242 Wilton Dr Wilton Manors 954-565-1006

LaDolceVitaFlorida.com

photos: facebook

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Best Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich Quality Diner 1417 NE 26th St. Wilton Manors 954-564-2858

Tuesday gay night at Bar Louie in Boynton Beach

1500 Gateway Blvd #100 Boynton Beach 561-853-0090

SmokeThisToo.com


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Clairiss

Best Hairstylist C

Hair by e Meneses Francy

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Tie!

Empire Stage & Island City Stage

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3 Time Winner!

Best Live Theater

hile there’s plenty of large performing arts centers for one to go to, it’s Empire Stage and Island City Stage that have the hearts of theater lovers. Empire Stage was purchased six years ago from the Soul Theatre by David R. Gordon and other producing partners, and ever since, it’s been pumping out productions in conjunction with Island City Stage, which rents the property and produces its own works part of the year. “I feel like I’ve been jettisoned into the Westside Theatre,” Gordon says, describing the black box theatre and the ones he’s performed in up in the Big Apple. Over the past four seasons Island City Stage, the LGBT-centric company has staked out a solid place in South Florida theater community. The

company, led by artistic director Andy Rogow, swept the 2014 Carbonell Awards with a profound production of Dan Clancy’s “The Tinekeepers.” The play, about the relationship of two German concentration camp prisoners--one Jewish, one gay--was revived the following fall in Boca Raton. But rather than rest on its laurels, the company followed that success with a critically-acclaimed season featuring not one, but three regional or world premieres. The highlight of the season was the heart-wrenching premiere of Michael McKeever’s “Daniel’s Husband,” perfectly timed with the Supreme Court’s landmark marriage equality decision. This season, Island City Stage is offering more edgy, thought-provoking plays that LGBT audiences flock to, so get your tickets now. — JWA

Best Clothing Store Unfortunately SFGN’s winner this year for Best Clothing Store, Town Clothiers, has closed down. So instead we’ll list two runners-up to shop at instead!

Macy’s

Ball Sportswea

r

2252 Wilton Dr. 954-564-0777

Multiple Locations anors Closest to Wilton M t Lauderdale The Galleria at For d. 2314 E. Sunrise Blv Fort Lauderdale 954-537-2300 www.Macys.com Fall 2015

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2T Winnime er!

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1140 N. Flagler Drive Fort Lauderdale 954-678-1496 EmpireStage.com IslandCityStage.org

— NJ

ok

MoJo’s

said. “Who wouldn’t want that?” Indeed, who wouldn’t? Hair by Francy is located at located at 3337 NE 32 St. in Fort Lauderdale. Joe Sansone won SFGN’s award for Best Male Hairstyle. He works at Mojo’s, 2348 Wilton Dr. “Joe’s the man. Been coming here for 2 years and always get the same service. Shave and a cut,” one reviewer on Yelp said. “The man takes his time, is patient and comes from a long family line of NYC barbers. He takes his job seriously and is very professional. He always welcomes me with a smile and a hug and we catch up and I always feel at home here.”

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Joe Sansone

lairisse Meneses started hairdressing more than 30 years ago. Before working at Hair by Francy, Meneses worked for Paul Mitchell Systems as an internal educator in both Central and South America. It was here that her inspiration grew into what she now uses today for her clients. “I love doing makeovers,” she said. “Color, cutting and styling is my ideal goal with every client.” Meneses urges new customers to stop in for a consultation of no charge to look “younger, sexier, modern and glowing.” The hairdresser adds a tidbit about her favorite treatments. “Glossing and anti-frizzing treatments allow the hair to look fresh, healthy and shiny,” she

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1201 NE 38th S t. Oakland Park 954-440-0046 FunkyBuddhaB rewery.com

WomenInNetwork.com 4 Time Winner!

2 Time Winner!

ith almost 30 years of existence, Women In Network have solidified themselves as a South Florida staple among professionals. “We are a philanthropic, social, and educational organization,” said Trish Stypka, WIN President. WIN has won Best Group for Women three years in a row, and Stypka believes in the work the organization is doing. All members get discounts to WIN events and there are currently no chapter dues, so becoming a

— JM

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member actually saves you money. On the first Wednesday of every month, WIN hosts an event around town, with anything from art receptions to cheering on the softball team to theater showings. They also partner with organizations like Women With Pride, ARROW, and ArtsUnited. WIN is free and open to anyone who wants to join, not just women. Looking to be part of WIN? Visit WomenInNetwork.com. — DZ

Best Dog Groomer W

2155 North Dixie Hwy. Wilton Manors 754-223-4776 WiltonsManor.com

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meet up “Proud to be Funky” happens at the Buddha the first Tuesday of each month from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. the neighborhood brew house is also kid and dog friendly. Children are allowed in the taproom with their parents until 8 p.m. Dog bowls are available out on the patio. For budding craft beer enthusiasts, Buddha offers tours of their brewing facility every Saturday and Sunday at 2, 3, and 4 p.m. as well as Thursdays at 7 and 8 p.m. Tours are $5 per person and get you a pint glass to keep and beer samples along the way.

Best Group For Women W

Wilton’s Manor Doggie Daycare, Resort & Spa

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he Funky Buddha has made its mark on the South Florida craft beer scene since opening their Boca lounge five years ago. You can find their Hop Gun IPA, Floridian Hefeweizen, and seasonal specials in bars, restaurants and on supermarket shelves throughout the area. But if you don’t visit the Oakland Park taproom – open noon to midnight seven days a week -- you’re missing out. Opened in 2013, in the developing Culinary Arts District, the 54,000 sq. ft. location is great for groups. It packs in crowds of 20-40 something singles and couples, with cozy seating to spare. Gay

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Best Gay Friendly Straight Bar T

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Funky Buddha Brewery

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oof! When it’s time to treat beloved Fido to a spa day or give your four-legged buddy a place to board while you’re out on vacation, turn to the professionals at Wilton’s Manor Doggie Daycare, Resort & Spa for the best pet grooming and playground experience on the island. The walls are lined with elegant photographic dog portraits, this 3,000-square-foot facility boasts cagefree grooming; a 900-square-foot indoor playground; K9 grass; and streaming doggie cameras. Pet parents can remotely keep an eye on their fur-babies while they paw around at this daycare. Opened five years ago, the owner

attributes much of the business’ success to their in-house seasoned groomer Jodie Arrington. With more than 20 years experience under her belt, she can do the haircuts on dogs like a champ. Clients are welcome to bring photos of what they would like done, and can expect nearly impeccable and identical results. Since Wilton’s Manor Doggie Daycare, Resort & Spa is not simply a groomer, customers can drop off their dogs for the day or week and have grooming and boarding services taken care of without having to book two appointments. — AR


broward county 4 Time Winner!

Best Happy Hour W

Village Pub

ondering where to get your night started? The experts agree, Village Pub is the place to be. For the fourth consecutive year, Village Pub was voted best Happy Hour by readers of the SFGN. Centrally located in the gayborhood Village Pub is home to two bars staffed by friendly and knowledgeable bartenders, a staging area for drag shows and special events, a pool table, videos, dance floor, free wifi and outside patio seating for patrons to keep an eye on foot traffic.

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2283 Wilton Dr. Wilton Manors 754-200-5244 VillagePubWM.com

The Alibi’s $3 Long Island Iced Tea Thursdays 9 p.m. 2266 Wilton Dr. Wilton Manors 954-565-2526

Best Of 2015

“People feel at home when they are at Village Pub, and this creates a sense of ownership of the bar among our guests,” said owner Greg Phelps. “We often hear the Pub referred to as ‘my bar’ by our regulars and even those who only visit from time to time are made to feel welcome. Village Pub always strives to live up to its motto: Familiar Faces....Fresh Ideas!” Village Pub offers a 2-4-1 Happy Hour Monday through Saturday until 9 p.m. — JMD

Best Cocktail or Drink F or as far as anyone can remember, Long Island Iced Tea Night at Georgie’s Alibi has been a local tradition. And the world famous drink gets top honors this year. Many places have tried to imitate the Thursday night gathering, but you just can’t beat the original. And when you walk into the bar, you’ll see hundreds of people enjoying the libation in giant mason jars. (I’ve seen

the blue and brown varieties.) They sell so many of them, the bartenders have them lined up on the bar waiting for you. And at just $3, you can see why they are so popular. And while you’re enjoying your drink, you’ll be listening to the latest hits, as Billboard reporting VJ Barry Browder mixes up the music as good as the drinks! — DJ

Best Bar for Cocktails I

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2184 Wilton Dr. Wilton Manors 754-223-3619 InfinityLoungeF L.com Facebook.com/In finityLoungeFL

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Infinity Lounge

nfinity Lounge is the local favorite that everyone seems to talk about when it comes to serving the best, over the top cocktails. Our readers not only chose Infinity in the top spot, but they raved about specifics: Lemon Drops, Cosmos, Berry Martinis, different varieties of Mojitos and Margaritas, and so much more. Infinity Lounge is known for creating libation with fresh ingredients, served with a smile, all in a cozy industrial-chic atmosphere. It’s high-end, without the attitude. They even infuse their own vodka. (Try the cucumber if they have it available, it’s very refreshing!) Along with their cocktails, they also carry many wines and craft beers. Happy Hour is every day from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., plus other specials. Check their Facebook regularly for updated specials and highlighted drinks! — DJ

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Best Of 2015

5 Time Winner!

Humpy’s

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2244 Wilton Dr. Wilton Manors 954-566-2722 HumpysPizza.c om

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Best Pizza

umpy’s Pizza has won every single year since the contest started, so there’s a strong likelihood there is literally nothing compared to Humpy’s. Owner Steve DeJong attributes it to all fresh ingredients, like the housemade pizza dough, chopped vegetables, and cupcakes. Yes, the cupcakes. But more on that later. “We’ve always done traditional stuff that everyone loves but we try to offer interesting pizzas so any time you come in, you have 10 different pizzas to choose from,” DeJong said. “Pizza appeals to big kids and little kids alike.” While pepperoni still reigns supreme, the Margherita pizza isn’t far behind, with fresh basil, mozzarella, and tomatoes. DeJong’s

favorite is actually the wild mushroom pizza: fresh mushroom blend on a white pizza with caramelized onions. But what about dessert? Humpy’s makes their own cupcakes daily, and now offers 14 different flavors, including seasonal options (get the pumpkin spice while you can!). “Just like our pizza, we focus on them being fresh, so we’d rather make them in small batches and have them run out,” he said. “When they run out, they run out.” Want more than a few? You can place your order in advance to get the flavors you want. And yes you should definitely ask for the red velvet. — DZ

3 Time Winner!

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2T e Winnim er!

Rosie’s 2449 Wilton Dr. Wilton Manors 954-563-0123 RosiesBNG.com

Multiple Winner!

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t’s the second year in a row that Rosie’s has won Best Restaurant and the third year in a row they’ve won Best Burger. Why do people love Rosie’s so much? “We’re really a fun environment,” said Paul Ditty, Director of Operations at Rosie’s. “People come here and feel like they’re on vacation.” When it comes to the “best burger,” Ditty said there are actually a few really popular choices. All burgers are inspired by names, like the 2014 Burger Battle competitor Dee Fibrillator: applewood bacon, panko-crusted

Pink Submarin

e

2041 Wilton Dr. Wilton Manors ThePinkSubmar ine.com 954-566-2219

Best Restaurant & Best Burger

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fried velveeta cheese, Sriracha ranch mayo and roasted garlic. Or the 2013 contender, the Anita Mojito: a prime burger drenched in mojo marinade and topped with swiss cheese, shaved ham, sliced pickles and dijon mustard aioli. Not in the mood for beef? They have a house made chicken burger and a quinoa pinto burger for vegetarians. But Ditty’s favorite goes far beyond the burgers. Some days he’ll chow down on the Kaling Me Softly salad: kale, quinoa, Granny Smith apple, dried cranberries, and candied pecans topped with grilled chicken,

strawberries, and creamy goat cheese. The best burgers may exist at Rosie’s, but that’s why they’re also the best restaurant: the supreme options span far beyond the sandwiches. Don’t forget the infamous Sunday Brunch, with everything from pulled pork pancake tacos to chicken and waffles and Bloody Mary’s. After one visit, you will no longer question why everyone loves Rosie’s so much. — DZ

Best Sub

est subs on the Drive, baby. When asked which sandwich to pick off the menu, the service staff takes a moment to reflect. Each one has a special character to please the palate. The most unique option, hands down though, is the Captain; a sandwich featuring sweet sliced ham, oven gold turkey, layered with tomatoes and topped with warm mac-and-cheese, offering eaters a medley of nice comforting bold flavors. For a diet friendly choice, go for the Skipper, the eatery’s lightest sandwich that is loaded with veggies and light on the cheese. On Wednesdays, locals can head to Pink Submarine for the homemade old school Sloppy Joes special. Serving lunch and late lunch daily.

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— AR

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Best Of 2015

Best Place to Workout CruncAhndrews Ave.

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3500 N Park Oakland -1221 2 5 6 4 5 9 om Crunch.c

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tarted by two brothers named Marc and Paul Delisle, Crunch has been in Oakland since August, 2014. However, its deepest roots go back to 1989 where it was originally an aerobics based business that formulated in the basement of a Manhattan building. Not your average gym, Crunch has equipment that cannot be found in most local gyms. This includes the Hoist Rock-It line and the Octane elliptical pieces. “We also differentiate ourselves through our classes, tanning and hydro-massage which is included with our peak memberships for less than a dollar a day,” said General Manger Stephen DiGuardi. Also at Crunch is a Combat Training Center (CTC) and full section dedicated to Crossfit-esque equipment. When asked why people should join, DiGuardi stated that Crunch is a “no judgment” gym that allows for a premiere workout in a friendly and clean environment. To top it off, we are by far the best value in the marketplace.”

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— NJ

Thanks you Awesome Customers Great Baristas Best Coffee Shop Fall 2015

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Best Of 2015

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Best Spa

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Salt This Way

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2286 Wilton Dr. Wilton Manors 754-223-2302 SaltThisWay.com

s the spa name suggests, Salt This Way is a specialty spa focused on the ancient and natural healing powers of salt therapy, also known as halotherapy, which dates back to Hippocrates. For those not in the know, halotherapy holds powerful detox and cleansing properties that can remedy ailments involving the skin, respiratory system, mind and well-being, as well as boost and build the immune system, among many other health conditions. The recently opened Salt This Way has serious bragging rights as it is the largest in the country specializing in halotherapy, and is the only spa in the U.S. that has salt chambers, sauna bed like equipment that allows clients

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hances are Le Patio won SFGN’s Best Kept Secret because it’s so tiny you may actually miss it. As the “smallest, cutest restaurant in Wilton Manors,” owners Jean Doherty and Vero Leroux have been serving up some of the best food in South Florida since 2008. If you can actually find the tiny spot, you could try the Shepard’s pie — whipped potatoes are layered on top of ground beef, onions, carrots, and peas. Maybe try the house made lasagna with béchamel sauce

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e. 2401 NE 11th Av Wilton Manors 954-530-4641

Sunshine Cath

edral

3 Time Winner!

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1480 SW 9th Av e. Fort Lauderdale SunshineCathed ral.org

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— AR

Best Kept Secret

Le Patio

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to completely disrobe and undergo highly concentrated treatments featuring Himalayan salt. Among its many services and amenities, the yoga salt rooms are a unique option to try. The yoga workshops are equipped with machinery that emits medical grade salt mist into the room, which provides clients a way to relax, heal and soothe their bodies. Salt therapy, in the U.S., is considered an alternative medicine, so new clients are advised to speak to their doctors to have any medial conditions properly diagnosed. Gift certificates and salt retail products available at Salt This Way.

Best Of LGBT South Florida

Fall 2015

instead of ricotta. Try a fan favorite, like the French onion soup or the Gratin Macaroni—also made with béchamel sauce. There are even non-traditional French options, like chicken quesadillas or any variety of raviolis. But pace yourself, you’ll want to save room for the coveted crème brûlée for dessert. The nice wine list also has many French favorites. Open for dinner at 5:30 daily, closed Mondays — DZ

Best Spiritual Center

unshine Cathedral bills itself as a “seven day a week church that affirms the sacred value of all people.” “Sunshine Cathedral MCC is a different kind of church where the past is the past and the future has infinite possibilities. We are a community committed to learning, to growing, to loving, to sharing. We hold a variety of beliefs, and individual beliefs are likely to change over time. We affirm that each of us is a divine child of God, intrinsically good and blessed to be a blessing to our world. There is no flaw in you,” writes Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins, senior minister, on the church’s website. Along with the spiritual, the church

also offers opportunities for community service, outreach and social interaction through food collections for the poor, mental health services, performing arts entertainment, picnics, senior daycare, speaker series and more. But, beyond the spirituality, beyond the services, beyond the social events, beyond the role Sunshine Cathedral plays in the community, the pastors and layman preach personal truth. In a sermon that touched upon National Coming Out Day, Watkins said Sunshine Cathedral asks members of the LGBT community to “live into their truth and be bold about it.” — MD


broward county 3 Time Winner!

Stork’s Bakery & Coffee House

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2505 NE 15th Av e. Wilton Manors StorksBakery.com

Best Of 2015

Best Dessert At least once a week, Jessica Chesler makes her way across town to Stork’s Bakery & Coffee House. “They always have something interesting there,” she says, but “I love the lemon white chocolate mousse tart. The texture is perfect. The crust on the tart is like a nice contrast to the fluffiness of the filling.” That perfectly-textured lemon white chocolate mousse tart is one reason why Stork’s was voted Best Dessert. But dessert lovers have much more than mousse as reason to visit Stork’s. The bakery’s long list of dessert items includes Carrot Cake, Mom’s Chocolate Fudge Cake, Framboise, German Chocolate Cake, French Chocolate Cake, Banana Walnut Torte, Storkberry Mousse Cake, Classic Red Velvet Cake and Tiramisu Cake.

Pumpkin also makes its debut at Stork’s in the form of “pumpkin bars, pumpkin spice coffee, pumpkin bisque soup, pumpkin Danish and “pumpkin anything,” the bakery promises. For those looking for something to eat with dessert, Stork’s also sells six different specialty coffees, espresso, gourmet sandwiches, soups and salads. Stork’s also offers catering. And all the menu offerings can be enjoyed inside or outside in Stork’s patio area. “They’re always friendly and the atmosphere is more of a European café – nice, laid back service,” Chesler said. Monday to Friday: 6:30 a.m. to 12 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday: 7 a.m. to 12 a.m. — MD

Best Coffee Shop

— LC

Courtyard Café

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2211 Wilton Dr. Wilton Manors 954-563-2499 WiltonManorsCou rtyardCafe.com

4 Time Winner!

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Dr. 2230 Wilton s Wilton Manor 28 954-564-88

wall intimidate you as Java Boys’ relaxing coffee shop environment and extensive menu are their strong suits. Four accommodating lounge chairs by the entrance work perfect for guests who want to finish up business deadlines or unleash their creativity by sketching or writing on their notebooks. It’s so welcoming that guests chime in with one another over social commentary from what’s playing in the televisions based on the Netflix queue. The outdoor area is more popular toward the night as groups gather by the bar stool tables and chairs to drink, smoke, and connect with the Wilton Manors community.

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Java Boys

While waiting for one of the baristas to complete your coffee order, awards decorate the corner wall for guests to gawk over as they add extra cream or sugar. Clearly, Java Boys does not shy away from winning Best Coffee Shop from numerous publications – and ours is no different, as it is SFGN’s winner for the third consecutive year in a row. Java Boys is not only a hit with the locals at Wilton Manors, but even LGBT celebrities from coast to coast. Next to the awards are autographed photos of celebrities like Lisa Lampanelli and Margaret Cho, who have made their way to the coffee shop. However, don’t let the star-struck awards

Best Breakfast

elicious food, generous portions, healthy alternatives, great service served at decent prices. That’s why Wilton Manors Courtyard Café won best breakfast. For under $10, diners can enjoy an egg, with bacon or sausage and a choice of chunky home fries, grits, tots or toast. (Does breakfast get any better than that?) If that’s not enough to get your taste buds excited, one of the most popular combos is “The Mess.” It consists of two scrambled eggs mixed with bacon, sausage, ham, American cheese and a

Fall 2015

side dish. The servers here are always friendly and personable. You may also be surprised at how quickly your food arrives after you order. While the Courtyard is located in the heart of Wilton Manors, its patrons are a mix of everyone in South Florida. At any time of day or night, you’ll find young, old, straight, gay, black or white patrons. It’s no wonder why the voters chose Courtyard to win Best Breakfast. — DR

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Best Of 2015

What The Pho 2033 Wilton Dr. Wilton Manors 754-779-7769

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Best New Restaurant

f What The Pho were a meme, they’re officially considered viral. The restaurant has only been opened since September and they’ve already won Best New Restaurant according to SFGN readers. Owner Huey Nguyen is happy with the business so far, and has a long history of working in the business. “I used to manage my family restaurant in Miami for almost 12 years,” Nguyen said. “I fell in love with this area and the people around here and it felt right to open [the restaurant] here.” Turns out Nguyen’s feelings can go a long way. Once he got the place, he opened for business a month later. On a recent Tuesday, they ran out of food. Since

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Fall 2015

they don’t pre cook anything, when the restaurant runs out, they’re legitimately out of food. The fan favorite? His special, of course. The Huey Special comes with lemongrass chicken with curry, grilled shrimp, a spring roll and veggies. “It’s light and tasty,” he said. It’s his favorite, too. Nguyen believes in ultimate customer satisfaction. “I believe in customer service more than the food,” he said. “I treat the customer like I want to be treated when I go out.” Just make sure they still have some food left when you get there. — DZ


Fall 2015

Best Of LGBT South Florida // SFGN.COM

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broward county

Best Of 2015

Jason

G

ts Bar

ym Sports Bar is a new hangout on the Drive, but Jason is an old pro at serving up good times. In a signal of his people skills, readers of the SFGN voted Jason best male bartender this year. Jason has a friendly smile, warm personality and a build that certainly fits the jock profile of Gym Sports Bar. “I take a few minutes to get to know my customers and try to get everyone talking,” he says when asked his bartending technique. A native of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Jason has more than a decade of experience

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isa Radwan loves what she does and readers of SFGN do too. Radwan was voted Best Female Bartender in Broward County. Radwan, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., is a veteran of the gay bar scene, starting her career at George’s Alibi more than a decade ago after moving down from the north to escape the cold. “It’s never dull,” she says of her time behind the bar. “I enjoy what I do and I love taking care of my customers.”

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Best Of LGBT South Florida

Radwan can be found working happy hour at the Village Pub in Wilton Manors where she enjoys getting folks’ night off to a good start. “The after work crowd is fun to be around and we do a great job at the pub of creating that atmosphere,” Radwan said. Radwan is married to her wife, Suzanne. The couple has been together for 15 years and live in Fort Lauderdale. — JMD

Best Guesthouse A

The Cabanas

SFGN.COM //

in the bartending and food service industry. He has worked in Provincetown, Mass., New York City and Fort Lauderdale. “I’ve waited on Oprah, Lindsey Lohan and Beyonce,” he says, just to name a few. At Gym Sports Bar (2287 Wilton Drive), Jason does his best to make the patrons feel welcome. “People don’t come to a bar to sit by themselves and don’t say anything…I won’t let them,” he laughs.

Best Bartender (Gal) L

Village

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Best Bartender (Guy)

Fall 2015

re you looking for a day away from the office? A Sunday Funday with friends? Or weekend getaway close enough the nightlife of Wilton Manors? Look no further than Cabanas Guesthouse. “We go the extra mile to provide services for your every need,” said owner Norman LaChance. That extra care comes in the form of a full service spa. Amenities at this European styled spa include body rubs in a relaxed, comfortable environment. Licensed massage therapists are trained in Swedish and deep tissue as well as hot stone, reflexology and Swe Thai.

Facials, body wraps, hair removal, manicures, pedicures and more are offered in the spa which is part of the Cabanas Guesthouse complex. Located on one of Fort Lauderdale’s many famed canals, the guesthouse grounds are lush with pools, a Jacuzzi and steam room and plenty of room to roam in a clothing-optional climate. Cabanas’ capturing best guesthouse honors by readers of the SFGN is significant since Royal Palms on Fort Lauderdale Beach held the honor for the last four years. — JMD


broward county

Best Support Group

Best Of 2015

Tie!

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likely never meet or interact. The program brings in professionals from the medical field as well as other health care organizations to speak about lab tests, diet, mental health and sexual choices. Co-factors of the LIFE program encompass the body, mind and spirit. “Each man gleans bits and pieces of information and what others have experienced to incorporate into their own lives and strengthen their immune systems,” Grisby said. In-takes for cycle 22 of the LIFE program will take place soon, said Grisby, with a start date scheduled for the last Tuesday in January 2016. — JMD

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t’s been a good year for Latinos Salud. You might call it the little organization that could. Competing with much larger and better funded healthcare organizations, Latinos Salud was awarded a new million dollar contract from the Centers For Disease Control this summer to be used in HIV prevention. The organization, created in 2008 to provide a safe space for Latino gay guys, hosts a weekly “Positive Social” at its Wilton Manors location. This group was voted best support group, along with Pride Center’s LIFE program, by readers of SFGN. “As the name suggests, the group members wanted this to be more than a ‘support group,’” said Latinos Salud

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f you are HIV positive there is a place to express yourself in a safe and confidential environment. Facilitated by the Pride Center, through the Pals Project, LIFE program brings 45 men together for 18 weeks to learn and support one another. “Each participant has one thing in common with everyone in the room -- they are dealing with the HIV virus,” said Jeff Grisby, LIFE coordinator. “That commonality forms the base for long term friendships and sometimes relationships.” LIFE stands for Learning Immune Function Enhancement and has become a success in Wilton Manors bringing together men who would otherwise

Life Program

Executive Director Stephen Fallon. “The positive social serves those living with HIV and their allies. Each week, the group focuses on a new topic, with the facilitator sharing inspirational stories, tips for healthy living, and leading cultural exchanges. Meetings often include home cooked buffet meal with culinary recipes the world over.” The group meets Tuesdays evenings from 7-9 p.m. at 2330 Wilton Drive. Group meetings are primarily conducted in Spanish. There is a companion group “Un+ed” offered bi-weekly on Wednesday nights at the Latinos Salud office in Miami Beach. — JMD

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hris Tunkus is used to being the best considering he’s the highest rated therapeutic massage therapist on MasseurFinder.com. With only 3 years in the business Tunkus already has almost too many clients. He no longer does outcalls because he’s just too damn busy. “I got into the business because I wanted to give the massage I always wanted to get,” he said. What’s even better is Tunkus’ prices, at $65 he’s one of the lease expensive massage therapists around. It’s no shock that Tunkus takes home SFGN’s prize for Best Massage Therapist – when you combine quality with the right price you can’t go wrong.

Fall 2015

His strong hands and strokes are sure to relieve your tension and put you at ease. “Felt extremely comfortable from the moment Chris greeted me and immediately fell at ease. I have gotten many massages before, and at more expensive rates. This is by far the best massage I’ve ever had,” said one reviewer. Another commented, “I’ve had a lot of tension in my neck and back. Chris did an amazing job! It was the best massage I’ve ever had. Deep, without being painful. Chris has big powerful hands and really knows how to work out tight, tense muscles. The salon has a great atmosphere, very clean, very professional.” — JP

Best Of LGBT South Florida // SFGN.COM

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Best Of 2015

broward county

Best Artist/Musician Tie!

Music, in Ohio, McClain knew at an early age that she was destined for the stage. Her 2010 scripted cabaret show called “Lady Swigs the Booze,” debuted at the world famous Stonewall Inn in New York City, and has since catapulted her performing arts career to high levels where she continues to perform in the Big Apple. When she’s not entertaining in NYC, you can find her in Wilton Manors at venues such as Georgie’s Alibi. — AR

2 Guys On A Mic

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954-567-2432 ScandalsFla.com

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usical duo Tony and Gloria are true party starters. This duo knows how to entertain a crowd with their renditions of fusing Jazz and Standards interlaced with contemporary influential sounds. Tony performs as the lead guitarist and rounds out the act’s sound while adding the rhythm and bass touches. Gloria, a fierce vocalist, takes her numerous influences and belts it out into a sound that is unique and mesmerizing. The duo has landed big time gigs at clubs such as New York’s Joe’s Pier 52, a renowned Broadway nightclub, and as far away as spots in St. Marten, France, and, of course in funky town Key West. Perhaps

2 Time Winner!

Fridays 7 p.m. & Sundays 9 p.m. Scandals Saloon 3073 NE 6th Ave. Wilton Manors

754-200-5244

Fall 2015

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ennifer McClain has rocked and swoon South Florida audiences for nearly two decades. She came onto the South Florida entertainment scene in the late ‘90s, having performed cabaret shows and karaoke nights almost five nights a week. At her lively performances, Jennifer Tonight, audiences can expect McClain to dish out fun banter and belt out humorous Broadway tunes and slow, sweet sultry numbers as well as popular anthems with sappy lyrics. A graduate from the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of

Tony & Gloria

Jennifer McClain

the most politically correct performance of this duet’s career was when they took to the lawn at the White House While these show stoppers are all the buzz on the Islands, they don’t have a Facebook page. But would-be fans can catch them in the act on Wednesdays and Sundays. See them Wednesdays, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Alibi’s in Wilton Manors. Call 954-565-2526. Also see them on Sundays, 7 to 11 p.m. at Tropics Piano Bar & Restaurant, 2000 Wilton Drive, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954537-6000. — AR

Best Karaoke DJ

hen it came down to finding the best karaoke in town, DJ’s Ricky and Andy, a.k.a. “2 Guys on a Mic” got the most votes, versus an actual place. (They won last year for Karaoke Fridays at The Stable, which is now closed.) They’re quite well known in Broward, as they have hosted many karaoke nights and events all around town over the years, and still do. Their computerized karaoke system has a catalog of over 100,000 songs, so you’re bound to find something to sing, no matter how obscure you think it might be. And because it’s computerized, there are no little slips of paper or song numbers. The system can keep track of your singing history, and is easy to use. Fridays at 7 p.m. are probably the most

unique karaoke experiences in town, since it’s outside under the stars on Scandals Saloon’s patio, and is themed as “Bearaoke.” It’s a wide-open space, plenty of seating, and lots of friendly people. Also at Scandals Saloon, after the tea dance on Sundays, karaoke starts at 9 p.m. on the dance floor. They also host a session at Village Pub on Wednesdays starting at 9 p.m., where they utilize the great stage lighting system to make you feel like a star. If you’re into karaoke, or just want to try it for the first time, you might want to try these very unique and fun experiences. As Andy will always tell you, “It’s not a competition,” so don’t be shy, give it a try! — DJ


Thanks for voting for The Gateway 5 years in a row!

2015 WINNER BEST MOVIE THEATER 2014 • 2013 • 2012 • 2011

(954) 763-7994 • ClassicGateway.com 1820 East Sunrise Boulevard • Fort Lauderdale, FL Always something going on at the...

Shawn & Nick’s

MONDAY BURGER MADNESS

FREE Soda or Iced Tea with any Burger. Not only do you have 12 of the Courtyard Classics. Just for Monday night we added 14 more! Grand Total of 26 Burgers (4pm-11pm)

TWO FOR TUESDAYS (5pm-11pm) Dinner for two with Appetizers $22.00. Chicken Carbonara on Pasta, Homemade Meatloaf, Yankee Pot Roast, Lemon Pepper Haddock, Mushroom Swiss Chicken, and Jack Daniels Shrimp. PRIME RIB TUESDAYS (4pm-11pm) A Succulent juicy 8oz. slow roasted to melt in your mouth! Served with au jus & your choice of mashed potato or rice & vegetable. Only $13.95

“Thanks for voting us Best Breakfast! Now come try our delicious dinners.

2-4-1 WEDNESDAY DINNERS (5pm-11pm)

211 WILTON DRIVE WILTON MANORS, FL 33305

Fall 2015

954-563-2499 WWW.WILTONMANORSCOURTYARDCAFE.COM

Best Of LGBT South Florida // SFGN.COM

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Best Of 2015

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Hunters Best Bar, Best Place for

2232 Wilton Dr. Wilton Manors 954-630-3556

Karaoke & Best Place to Dance Multiple Winner!

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t Hunters Nightclub, spirits are always elevated which creates a great place to dance. “There’s a conversation that starts around 9 p.m. between our dee-jays and the people in the club and those words often lead to flirtatious sounds and a fun mix that carries on throughout the night and into the early morning,” said Bruce Howe, General Manager of Hunters Fort Lauderdale, explaining why the club was also voted Best place to dance by the readers. Located in the heart of the gayborhood, Hunters presents themed nights for a variety of tastes from karaoke on Mondays and Tuesdays hosted by Don Casteel (They also won for Best Place for Karaoke) to disco dances to the wildly popular “Fur Fridays.” The music of most dance nights is a mix

of deep house, pop and classic disco from the Studio 54 era. DJs who spin tracks in Hunters include DJ Sol, DJ Robbie Leslie, DJ Richie Rich and DJ Freddy Arends. It is not uncommon for confetti to fall from the ceiling as patrons dance the night away. “Love is always in the air here,” says Mark Hunter, co-owner. Hunter moved from Chicago a little over two years ago to open what he calls a “boutique nightclub” with his partner, Patrick Volkert. The couple, who claim 33 years of experience in the nightclub business, have also opened a sister nightclub under the same name in Palm Springs, Calif. Their guidance in remodeling the club has been top of the line, says Howe. “We have learned from the very best in the business,” Howe said.

And patrons have taken notice. On most weekends, there is a line waiting to enter the club. The bar, voted best in Broward County by readers of SFGN, includes Sal’s Starlight Lounge hovering above the dance floor. It is a space devoted to the late Sal DeFalco, who helped open the nightclub. DeFalco, voted best bartender in last year’s contest, recently died. He was known for being a part of the Studio 54 club scene in New York during the 1970s – when disco reigned supreme. Sal’s legacy lives on with photographs of the bartender throughout the club. Hunter and Howe say they are blessed to have an outpouring of community support and their business model is a success because of a dedicated team of management, bartenders, DJs, door men and bar backs.

Hours:

4 p.m to 2 p.m. Mondays throug h Thursdays 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. Fr 3 a.m. Saturday idays, 2 p.m. to s 12 p.m. to 2 a.m

. Sundays.

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“Fur Fridays,” for example, started as a themed night for bears and quickly turned into a can’t miss occasion for all. Such an evolution is a sign of a good thing, says Hunter. “We’re accepting of everybody.” Hunter said. There is a quieter lounge side of the nightclub for those who are not in the mood to dance, but yet still would like to meet friends for cocktails and conversation. Hunters is a non-smoking, 21 and over nightclub and there is no cover charge. And with three SFGN Best Of awards behind its belt this year alone it’s a must visit club. — JMD


broward county

Best Of 2015

Best Sports League eur t a m A a orid ation l F h t u o S oci s s A c i t Athle ball.com ft SFA A ASo

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t’s official. Gays love pitchers and catchers. Softball is the sport of choice by readers of the SFGN with the South Florida Amateur Athletic Association voted the best sports league. Founded in 1994, the league has grown into 26 teams that compete during spring and fall seasons in a variety of skill levels. “It started as a safe haven for gay people to play softball without ridicule,” said League Commissioner Abe Hasbun. Games are played on Sundays at Mills Pond Park, 2201 Northwest 9th Avenue, in Fort Lauderdale. Skill levels range from A to D and no one is turned away from participating. This year a new “masters” division has been implemented for people over the age of 50. “It’s really like a family,” Hasbun said. “I’ve made friends for life through softball.” League representatives travel the country to compete in tournaments in addition to hosting the annual Hurricane Showdown in late November. — JMD

Fall 2015

Best Of LGBT South Florida // SFGN.COM

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broward county

Best Of 2015

Ron’s Barbershop

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1200 N.E. Fourth Ave. Fort Lauderdale 954-999-0365 RonsBarberShopFL.com Hours:

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To The Moon

Sun – Thurs 9 a.m. – 11 p.m.

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Fri & Sat 10 a.m. – 1 a.m. 22

he Classic Gateway Theater is a fan-favorite among cinema snobs, pop culture enthusiasts and SFGN readers, as it’s the fifth consecutive year it has won Best Movie Theater. The Gateway is one of the prime movie theaters within Fort Lauderdale where guests can watch independent and foreign films that aren’t as accessible as their mainstream theater chain counterparts. Even so, the Gateway does premiere occasional Hollywood blockbuster films based on

Best Gift Store W

ToTheMoonMarketPlace.c

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Best Of LGBT South Florida

place boasts such a warm and social atmosphere that it’s not uncommon for the cliental to linger and hangout for a while, you know, to talk about life and what not. Owner/manager Ron and his staff can snip and cut your hair into various styles, including fades, flat tops, shaves, military cuts and so on. — AR

Best Movie Theater T

1820 E. Sunrise Blvd. Fort Lauderdale 5 Time 954-763-7994 Winner! ClassicGateway.c om

2205 Wilton Dr. Wilton Manors 954-564-2987

ot ten bucks and need a new hairstyle or just a quick cut? Head to your friendly neighborhood spot, Ron’s Barbershop for your much needed haircut at an alarmingly affordable rate. Not only are Ron’s rates reasonable, the quality and attention to detail that the well-trained barbers provide is an ample reason to keep coming back. In fact, the

Fall 2015

alking into To the Moon can cause some sensory overload. But Wilton Manors’ resident candy-man, Antonio Dumas is there to guide you through. Literally. I heard him before I saw him, directing me to a front counter obscured by an eye-high rack of lollipops when I walked in. As a first-timer, he gave me the lay of the land. Then snuck us a sample of his latest confection, salted caramel and chocolate covered popcorn. Among the highlights, To the Moon offers more than 70 chocolate covered items. I came for the chocolate dipped potato chips. And I will come back for the chocolate dipped potato

critical acclaim and popularity. It is also well-known for its midnight screenings of the cult classic “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” every year for Halloween. Most recently, the Gateway theater hosted the 7th edition of the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (MiFo) LGBT Film Festival by renting a single theater room from Oct. 9-18 so attendees could watch LGBT documentaries, spotlight films and narrative features. — LC

chips. They have more than 100 types of black licorice alone. We bought some blue raspberry instead. In addition to novelty items, collectibles, and greeting cards, they also carry an assortment of pantry items, snacks and spreads from abroad. Just browsing one aisle I spotted the much maligned vegemite and marmite, a truly inspiring Heinz currywurst ketchup, and some tried and true Hungarian paprika. The gift basket possibilities are endless. To the Moon also won SFGN’s Best Place to Shop 2014, and Boca Life’s Best Candy 2015. — JM


Fall 2015

Best Of LGBT South Florida // SFGN.COM

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The Angels Still Sing Christmas Eve December 24th, 2015 Lessons & Carols: 4:00PM Worship: 7:00PM & 9:00PM

Rev Dr Durrell Watkins, Senior Minister Walt Lawrence & Stephen Lewis Center for Worship and the Arts 1480 SW 9th Avenue Fort Lauderdale, Florida 954.462.2004 - www.SunshineCathedral.org

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Fall 2015


Sunshine Cathedral is grateful to those who voted us “Best Spiritual Center” Sunday Morning Worship 9:00AM & 10:30AM

1480 SW 9th Ave Fort Lauderdale FL 33315 (954)462-2004

www.sunshinecathedral.org

Fall 2015

Best Of LGBT South Florida // SFGN.COM

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broward county

Best Of 2015

Best Place for Trans Folks L

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2312 Wilton Dr. Wilton Manors 954-764-5150 SunServe.org

ocated in Wilton Manors, SunServe is a non profit social services agency specializing in the LGBTQ community of South Florida. According to Ariana Lint, who was the Director of Transgender Services for SunServe until mid 2015, the agency offers mental health, case management, therapy and group discussion services to over 200 transgender people in South Florida alone. “We are trying to help transgender people have a better quality of life,” she said. Every Wednesday SunServe offers a ‘Safe “T” Transgender/Gender Non Conforming’

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SFGN.COM //

Best Of LGBT South Florida

Best Non-Profit

he Pride Center in Wilton Manors is a one-stop shop for so many community enrichment events, workshops, educational programming, and overall a safe place that celebrates, nurtures and empowers the LGBT community. For more than two decades, this organization has served Broward County where the second to the largest same-sex couple population resides in the U.S. At its 30,000-square-foot office and six acres of property space, clients can experience a bevvy of extensive offerings at this nonprofit, including

hen times are tough and people with HIV can’t make ends meet or put food on the table, Poverello is there. Founded by Father William Collins in 1988, the Poverello Center has provided life-saving food and basic essentials for low-income, Broward County residents living with HIV/ AIDS ever since. Operating one of the oldest and largest specialty food pantries in the region, Poverello serves nearly 2,600 individuals each year, providing them with food for nearly 1.5 million meals. The agency also runs a food bank and a fitness center for its

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— AA

language classes, dance workshops, health expos, and panels on family planning and parenting skills for samesex couples. Be sure to check the Pride Center’s event calendar to find out what’s to come and how you can get involved. The center hosts roughly 60 group meetings a month, featuring support and social educational groups with a focus on women, seniors, youth, men, transgender, recovery, health, spiritually and so on. —AR

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2056 N. Dixie Hwy. Wilton Manors 954-561-3663 3 Timeer! Winn

support group from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. where anyone can drop in and talk and meet new people. In addition, on the first and third Wednesday of every month the agency hosts a trans men support group from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. where guests who identify as trans men can visit to share concerns in a safe place. With tons of support for the trans community as well as providing a safe haven for them to come to, SunServe is the winner of SFGN’s Best Place for Trans Folks.

Fall 2015

more than 6000 clients, as well as a thrift store open to the public. 2015 is the second consecutive year Poverello has been voted Best HIV/AIDS Charity. “With nearly 30 years of service to those in Broward County living with HIV/AIDS, Poverello is honored to, once again, be voted the Best HIV Charity in SFGN’s Best of 2015,” says Lj McHugh, Poverello CAO. “Thank you to everyone who voted for Poverello. We are proud to continue to receive the community’s support and recognition.” —DR


broward county

Best Of 2015

Best Local LGBT Activist Jaclyn St. James & Darran Mazaika

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Equality, Education and Enlightenment (NVEEE). St. James works in hotel management and is a female impersonator. She is involved in the Human Rights Campaign and has assisted with fundraising campaigns for both homeless and LGBT seniors. “I was a big supporter for the Matthew Shepard Foundation and organizations to stop bullying in schools and worked to stop gay suicides,” she said. Mazaika concluded with some words of wisdom. “The simplest act of kindness can change a person’s life for the better without you ever knowing it,” he said. “It’s not about how much money you raise or how much publicity you get; charity work/activism is about the impact you have on a person or society.” While St. James added, “It is very important to be an activist and fight for what you believe in, that’s what makes our country run. The people that came before us we owe all of our freedoms and liberty to and without them I think gays today would still be in hiding. So stand up and fight! It only takes one person to start.” —NJ

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he category for local LGBT activist is tied for the year, and with good reason. Both Jaclyn St. James and Darran Mazaika have both been recognized for their work striving for LGBT equality in the community. In addition, both do not consider themselves activists. “I am just an ordinary everyday person who strives to help others that are less fortunate or need a helping hand,” Mazaika said. St. James agreed: “I never thought of myself as an activist until I looked up the true meaning and realize I guess I am. I never set out to do it, it just came naturally.” Mazaika first started doing charity work in college by volunteering for the local police department as part of the Special Olympics Torch Run. “Ever since being part of that Torch Run and seeing how a simple act of kindness can mean so much to a person or an organization, charity work/ activism has been a part of my life,” he explained. He is a criminal investigator for Wells Fargo Bank and organizations/charities he participates in are Out To Protect, Cops 4 Causes, the Miami AIDS Walk, the SMART Ride, and the National Voices for

Best Local Celebrity me all along,” she explained. And so it happened. In 2008 in a Wilton Manors’ Starbucks, Jaclyn was born. It was a tossup between Caress and Midge, but Jaclyn won as the “spelling was more contemporary than Jacqueline.” As for the last name, St. James, it was on a picture in the local Starbucks. St. James is comprised of four people: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana and St. James’s mom for her “undying love and support.” You can catch St. James on the Hunters dance floor Sunday nights. — NJ

.

aclyn St. James, originally named Shawn Hadden, leads a double life. By day, she is in hotel management and by night is a female impersonator. “I started my female impersonation thing way back in grade school, running around my room pretending I was Olivia Newton-John,” St. James said. “I so wanted to be her, but as I got older I found out that being a woman wasn’t for me but that I also missed wearing heels and make up.” It was spooky Halloween when St. James found her calling. However, she was hindered by stage fright. “So I chose to be a socialite and be amongst my peers in a persona that had always been inside

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Jaclyn St. James

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Best Of 2015

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4245 N. Federal Hwy. Oakland Park LaBamba123.com Hours:

a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sunday to Thursday: 11:30 . to 11 p.m. a.m Friday to Saturday: 11:30

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Best Mexican

ith menu offerings like Tijuana Steak, Flautas Rancheras, Pollo en Mole, Enchilada Verde, Crab Chimichanga, Chiles Rellenos, El Loco Burro and more, La Bamba might have been chosen as “Best Mexican” based on the face value of its menu alone. But to really judge a restaurant, you’ve got to dig deeper than what’s written on its menu. Just ask the customers. “I LOVE THIS PLACE! I used to come eat here when I was in high school, college, drunk etc. no matter what time or day, this place is the best for Mexican-Spanish food. Only thing I didn’t like was that on some nights I had to park down the street because the parking was full, but it’s all

worth it,” wrote Airusiam Ramukla on La Bamba’s Facebook page. “Busy, noisy, and lots of fun! Generous portions. You won’t leave hungry. Plan on a wait to get seats on some nights,” wrote David Bruce Bridgeo. The positive reviews don’t end with the main dishes. “Best Margaritas!” wrote Carolina Aponte. La Bamba has over a dozen margaritas to choose from, including the El Don Margarita, the Golden Margarita and, for a limited time, the “Tacoween Pumpkin Margarita.” Mojitos, sangria and cervezas. But on Monday nights La Bamba is the place to be with the gays flocking there every week. — MD

Red Cow, Smoked & Fired

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Best BBQ

ust stepping out of your car, you can smell the smoked meats of Red Cow from the parking lot. The smell is promising, and the delivery does not disappoint. Inside, the look has been described as “saloon chic.” Picture red chairs, lacquered woods, and corrugated steel accents. As polished as the interior is, this is no dainty date night joint. These are some hearty barbecue portions. The appetizers are easily enough for four people. Starter prices range from $4 for the chili dusted pork rinds to $13 for the smoked fish dip. We of course, started with cocktails. Their “Smokey & the Bandit” smoked tequila margarita, the Sweet ‘T’ with lemonade and sweet t vodka,

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1025 N. Federal Hwy. Fort Lauderdale 954-652-1524 RedCowFTL.com

Mon-Sat from 11:30-10 p.m.; Sun. from 9:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. (Sun. brunch till 1:30 p.m.); Happy Hour is Mon – Fri 4-6 p.m.

Tee-Jay Thai & Sushi Fort Lauderdale 5975 N Federal Hwy. 954-771-4447

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Best Of LGBT South Florida

Fall 2015

and the True Grit, with Maker’s 46 and ginger beer. Followed by an order of the light and fluffy skillet cornbread and crispy, tender maple bacon wings. For $23 we shared an Eat More Meat combo -your choice of three meats and two sides. We chose the jalapeno cheddar sausage, the pulled pork, and the pork spare ribs with deviled eggs and mac and cheese. We had plenty leftover to bring home, but not before having a slice of chocolate pecan pie a la mode. These were some calories well spent. Red Cow also won Broward-Palm Beach New Times Best BBQ 2014. — JM

Best Asian

ee Jay Thai and Sushi’s Wilton Drive location is just next door to the Alibi. The interior leans a little toward nightclub trendy, slate gray with purple and chrome accents. But there are fun touches, like the jellyfish lamps over the back bar, and the center-piece aquarium. The Thai and Japanese menu is extensive and the dishes are beautifully and simply presented. Hot appetizers range from $5 to $9. Two of the more unique are the age nasu, a delicately fried eggplant dish drizzled with miso, and the Thai fries, made with coconut battered boniato root. Sushi and sashimi

appetizers cost between $8 and $17. Beyond their sushi and sashimi rolls, seaweed or seafood salads, tom yum or miso soups and panang or masaman curries Tee Jay serves some ambitious entrees. The hot and spicy fish is served fileted off the bone in nuggets, but presented with the head on. I also love any place that will bring you a full spice tray – chili oil, dried chili and vinegar chili sauce-- to customize your heat level. My only regret was that we didn’t have a larger party so we could try more dishes. — JM


THANKS FOR VOTING US BEST GIFT STORE S, D R A C G N I T E E R G , Y D N CA S, E I T L E V O N S, T E K S A B GIFTS, ORIGINAL

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the Moon o T 2205 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors, FL 33305 (954) 564-2987 ToTheMoonMarketplace.com Fall 2015

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Herbie James

2 Time Winner!

Best Local DJ

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e’s completely unstoppable. And South Florida can’t get enough of him. With his own unique style of music, affectionately known as “Herbicidal,” he mixes soulful house music, progressive and tribal, into a sound that people come from all over to hear. Herbie James takes the top spot again. Why should we be surprised? He’s been consistently a local favorite for years! James’ first residency was at the famous Marlin Beach Hotel in 1991, where he played 12-hour sets Thursday through Sunday. “At the time, the hotel had installed an incredible Renkus-

Heinz sound system,” James recalls. “I have some really fun stories of those days.” Since then, James has grown into a local icon, playing sets for many local and national venues. That status is reinforced every year, winning accolades since the old days of the “Sleazy Awards,” (a long gone but not forgotten in-the-biz charity event,) to our very own “Best Of,” and just about every survey in between. Herbie’s current DJ Residence is at RamRod bar, 1508 NE 4th Ave., Friday nights starting at 10 p.m. But keep a look out for him, he also plays special events and guest appearances throughout the year. — DJ

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“We’re a place that all facets of the community can come,” Corman said. “We offer events for everyone and we have such an eclectic crowd that everyone comes in and gets along.” The bar hosts events that benefit pets, the transgender community and AIDS research. Looking for a day to come in? Every night has a different special — Wednesday is College Night with $1 drinks and drafts, Daisy Deadpetals performs on Friday, and there’s even a $13 taco buffet on Tuesdays. Don’t forget Sunday brunch when Evan Grushka is performing. — DZ

Best LGBT Event of the year “I t’s like gay Mardi Gras meets Halloween.” That’s how Hollywood resident Minnie Perez describes Wicked Manors, Wilton Manors’ annual Halloween street festival. “My advice is go.” Every year Perez goes to Wicked Manors, she expects “lots of fun and lots of drag.” And this year didn’t disappoint. With traditional costume contests, plenty of bars and the less traditional “South Florida’s Fiercest Drag Queens” contest, Wicked Manors has something for all tastes. Cash prizes are available for winners of the costume contests. But expect some company. Estimates of attendance are between 20,000 and

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t’s been almost two years since Rumors opened its doors and it’s been about that long since they’ve been a local favorite. With their daily drink specials and entertainment a few times a week, it’s no wonder they are one of the community’s most well-loved hangouts. “When New Moon went out of business, we opened our doors and had the same clientele,” said Brendan Corman, Rumors Owner and General Manager. Ladies night is Thursday with Karaoke and 2-4-1 all day long. Ladies even receive 15 percent off their food bill after 9 p.m. It’s no wonder they were voted best bar for lesbians and best offline place to meet a date for girls.

30,000. All packed into a closed-off Wilton Drive. “This year’s theme was Once Upon A Drive. Fairy tales both good and bad and whatever you’re feeling for that night,” said Roger Roa, director of development for Pride Center, the organization, which has run the event for the past three years. And it wouldn’t be a Pride Center Wicked Manors without the Flash Mob performing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” And all the fun benefits the programs and services provided by Pride Center, the organization running Wicked Manors. — MD


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Lips

t’s a Saturday night just before 6 p.m. and Lips is about to open. Outside there are a few cars in the parking lot – ladies preparing to start their night of partying. They are in their 20s, 30s, 40s and older. They are of every color and stripe. But they have one thing in common. They came to Lips to have a great time and they won’t be disappointed. “They are here for birthdays and bachelorette parties. No matter what, everyone is always celebrating something and we’re the best place to do it,” Sean Engler of Lips said. The performers at Lips know how to

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Misty Eyez & Daisy Deadpetals

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keep their patrons entertained and coming back for more. They have the highest heels, wildest wigs and lashes for days. The best drag acts in Fort Lauderdale perform six nights a week and Sunday brunch. Shows include Gospel Brunch, Dragalicious Show, Bitchy Bingo, Diva’s Glitz and Glamour Review. On Saturdays, Misty Eyez and Daisy Deadpetals, who tied as your choices for Best Drag Queen both perform. Shows are recommended for guest 16 years old and up, drinks are served to those 21 and over.

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The Pig Dance packs the place with beefy hunks, hairy men, leather enthusiasts and rough trade. The back patio area is notorious for guys cruising for a hook-up. It is not uncommon for complete strangers to become fast friends at Ramrod. Quite simply, it is a throwback to a time when gay bars were an underground scene – dark, edgy and private. The action usually picks up later in the evening and during the early morning hours as Ramrod tends to be the last stop on an out of towner’s bar hopping tour. So turn off the computer, make your way to Ramrod and meet your guy the natural way.

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rindr just not coming through for you? Scruff eating up your data plan? Too many old tricks lurking on Adam4Adam? How about giving the old fashioned way a try. Welcome to Ramrod – winner of SFGN’s Best Place To Pick Up A Guy Offline. Yes, at Fort Lauderdale’s longest running leather, Levi and uniform bar the chances of you picking up a guy are very good indeed. This is where one can find men ready for action and not afraid to cop a feel. Ramrod hosts a monthly “Pig Dance” on the first Saturday. This themed night also takes home its own prize from SFGN this year – Best Regular Event.

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hen it comes to Drag Queens, Misty Eyez is royalty. Misty Eyez has emceed at such prestigious events including the Fort Lauderdale Gay Pride Parade and Stone Wall Street Festival every year since 2005 and also at the Wicked Manors Block Party since its inception in 2007. She has also attracted new fans with online persona on YouTube with her “ASK MISTY” Advice - where she answers viewers questions and “Misty Minute” Tutorials - where she gives away Drag Secrets. SFGN voters named her Best Drag Queen for the three years running. This year, she’s tied with Daisy Deadpetals. But there’s no shade or bitchiness about sharing the title this year. “Being recognized by the community I love and

Fall 2015

call home is an honor and privilege,” Misty Eyez said. “Daisy is my sister. What better person to share this distinction with than someone I love and admire.” Daisy Deadpetals is also a force to be reckoned with. She is one of the most popular and entertaining queens on the scene. She also keeps very busy. She recently performed at the 2015 Pride Fort Lauderdale. She continues to perform at the region’s longest-running drag show Life’s a Drag. Both Misty Eyez and Daisy Deadpetals are among the favorite performers at Lips, which SFGN readers voted 2015 Best Drag Show. — DR

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s former Wilton Manors mayor John Fiore is fond of saying, there’s no gay way to fix a pothole. The same may be true when it comes to making money. But there is at least one way to tap into gay customers – the Gay and Lesbian Business Exchange (GLBX). Founded in 2009, the GLBX is a council and part of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce. With 160 members, both from within and without the LGBT community, it meets every first and third Wednesday at 8 a.m. at the Chamber. “We founded the GLBX because felt that

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right to work, live, marry, and raise families. In so many ways, from our city government and businesses to neighbors and visitors, life in the Island City is better here and we welcome everyone to experience it. I am so privileged to serve this proud city’s amazing people as their commissioner!” Recent controversies about crime, parking, traffic problems or businesses closing down on Wilton Drive have not kept the Drive from maintaining its status as the “Main Street“ of queer South Florida. In fact, LGBT-owned or LGBT-friendly businesses have done so well here that they have spread east onto North Dixie Highway. — JGM

Best Beach

ike the City of Wilton Manors (see “Best City to Live”), Fort Lauderdale’s Sebastian Street Beach has been voted the best in its field each and every year since SFGN began its annual “Best of” issues (2011). Though the section of Fort Lauderdale Beach that lies across from the intersection of A1A and Sebastian Street seems no different from other sections of the Beach, its population sets it apart from that of its neighbors. As one crosses onto Sebastian Beach from an adjacent beach, women and children practically disappear, and men’s bathing suits get noticeably shorter. (Sadly, men’s bathing

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the gay and lesbian business community was lacking representation. In the beginning it was a little bit of a challenge, but through the years we’ve gained a tremendous amount of support within the Chamber,” said Geph Scarr, chair of the GLBX. To Non-LGBT members of GLBX, Scarr said the value of his group is clear. “We can offer them something. We all need business relationships. We’re not just an exclusively gay organization. Everyone is a potential customer or client.”

Best City to Live

roward County’s “Island City” has been voted the “Best City to Live” in each and every year since SFGN began its annual “Best of” issues (2011); and 2015 proves to be no exception. “WilMa” remains South Florida’s “gay village;” an ideal place for LGBT people to live, work and play and one of the most gay-friendly retirement cities in the U.S. It is also a popular destination for LGBT tourists from around the world. “Wilton Manors is the most LGBT-supportive city I know,” City Commissioner Justin Flippen proudly said. “We are home to the Pride Center, Stonewall Gallery, and a vibrant entertainment district. The city officially hosted marriage equality wedding ceremonies on Valentine’s Day at City Hall. We consistently adopt policies and resolutions asserting our

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attire on Sebastian have gotten longer lately.) Sometimes a clueless straight might saunter into Sebastian Beach, only to discover to his or her dismay Sebastian’s unique demographics. In addition to its central location and its eye candy appeal, Sebastian Beach is conveniently close to many of LGBT guesthouses and resorts, which only serves to draw gay and lesbian tourists from around the world. Longterm couples, groups of friends and sex tourists alike frequent Sebastian Beach for its combination of sub-tropical climate, sandy beach, warm waters – and hot men. — JGM


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ack has been social networking before any of us heard of Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Having won best Social & Networking Group in 2011 and 2012, Mack is tops when it comes to bringing together ‘Gay Owned- Straight Friendly’ businesses. Founded by Donald Harvey and Dan Oropesa ten years ago, the group’s Power Lunch and Mack Mixers have brought countless business owners together and helped untold numbers of deals get done. The Power Lunches take place once a month in a different venue each time. Same for the

Mack Mixers, which take place in the evening, always in Fort Lauderdale. While their events are always fun, the main focus is on professionalism. They provide much more than a place to exchange business cards. Attendees are encouraged to form friendships and real business bonds. That’s probably why sexual orientation doesn’t matter. As for winning Best Social Group in 2015, Harvey and Oropesa want to thank the South Florida businesses who help make their lunches and mixers such a success. — DR

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aul Stanley has worked at Out of the Closet for nearly eight years, which is about how long the store has been open in South Florida. “The oldest store is Wilton Manors, it’ll be eight years in January,” Stanley said, who started working there about a month after it opened. “Biscayne Bay store opened less than two years later, and the Sunrise [Blvd.] store is four years old.” What brings people back? The great choices. “We have a good selection of merchandise that gets donated to us and we have good prices,” he said. “But when it comes down to it, it’s really the cause.” The thrift store profits benefit the AIDS Healthcare Foundation — the organization that owns Out of the Closet. It’s the only retailer where proceeds go to HIV/AIDS medical care. With its clinic access and free testing, it’s so much more than a thrift store. — DZ

Galleria Mall – Fort Lauderdale

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he Galleria Mall offers a variety of high-end shops, elegant dining and modern styles for the fashionforward Fort Lauderdale consumer. The star attraction of the beachfront area has once again made its mark on the city, winning in the SFGN category of Best Mall for 2015. The Galleria is a one-stop-shop for most locals in the beachfront area and is also a popular tourist destination, thanks to its offering of a classy shopping experience. From featuring upscale department stores such as Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Macy’s to trendy stops like the Apple Store, Sephora and most recently Free

People, the Galleria’s clientele is one that seems eager to be seen in the trendsetting movement. Decorating the front of the mall is an assortment of fine dining options: Blue Martini, Truluck’s and Capital Grille, thus giving you plenty of options to empty your wallet while you fill your senses in a day. This year the Galleria hosted the Men of Style launch party, an event that introduced their 2015 honorees to recognize their leading men in support of great community organizations. — LC


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hen you’re a barista, it is vital to master a variety of skills. A juggling act, baristas need to move fast with efficiently while keeping customers happy and ensure that all café operations are running smoothly. While this specialty occupation doesn’t get enough cred, Brad from Stork’s Bakery & Coffee is a shining example of possessing serious coffee-making and customer service friendly know-how. He can steam a smooth and fluffy latte; remember his customers’ names, wants

and needs, and how they like to have their beverages served. That’s why Brad wins SFGN’s barista of the year award. Since 2011, he’s been at Stork’s and possesses a reputation of being dependable, reliable, and friendly. He takes time to truly connect with the customers, chatting with them about their lives. Be sure to stop by and say hello. Stork’s is open daily from 7 a.m. to midnight. — AR

Best Sports Team

rian Zilka manages a team of sassy softball champions with a reputation that precedes them. “We certainly stand out,” Zilka said. By “we,” Zilka is referring to the Felicias, a pink cladded team that has taken the local South Florida leagues by storm. Sponsored by Progress Bar, the Felicias are a championship team of mostly gay softball players who travel the country raising spirits with their looks and winning games with their skills on the diamond. “It’s a group of close knit friends who use softball to build each other up,” Zilka said. “We like to have fun,

but we also really enjoy the charity side of it.” The team participates in numerous community events ranging from Pride festivals to fundraising walks to end Alzheimer’s. Members often don tutus, heels and wigs – all in the color of pink -- in honor of one of the team’s founders, the late Bob Melilo. “There is substance to our shenanigans,” Zilka said. The team of 17 players recently participated in the Gay Softball World Series, placing in the top 25. They are scheduled to take the field again in Fort Lauderdale for the annual Hurricane Showdown, Nov. 27-29. — JMD

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Best Bar “N

ever a cover - Always a groove” is the mantra of Twist - a gay nightclub that is a staple and a “must go to” for South Beach’s vibrant nightlife and winner of this year’s Best Bar in Miami Dade County. With seven full bars and multiple rooms on two floors, customers can hit the dance floor, video bar, garden bar, bungalow, and enjoy the go-go dancers. DJs work the decks for different vibes throughout the complex, from hip-hop to Latin to EDM. For drinks, every day, Happy Hour is from 1 to 9 p.m. with two-for-one specials on everything, as well as two-for-one call and domestics from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Thursdays. — AA

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Best Place to Dance F

Score

or years Score has been shaking things up in Miami Beach. For years, the club was nestled in the middle of happening Lincoln Road on Miami Beach. Then three years ago, owners Luis Morera and Billy Kemp moved the club onto Washington Avenue into a larger venue space. The move didn’t deter customers, and they’re still keeping the club packed for

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Best Burger

t Burger and Beer Joint you can put ketchup on your burger. But with condiments like jalapeno relish, spicy garlic mayo, pesto tarragon remoulade and sour cream (literally just a small taste of what’s available), why would you? But condiments are just the icing on the cake of one of South Florida’s best burger menus, now three-time winner of Best Burger in Miami-Dade. At Burger and Beer Joint, the burgers make up the bulk of the menu – half pound bulk per most burgers. All – Hotel California, Paradise City, Dear Prudence, Freebird, The Rooster, Stairway to Heaven and more – named after classic rock tunes. And customers, on the restaurant’s Facebook page, like calling out their favorite burger. “Mustang Sally is the greatest thing I’ve ever tasted,” wrote

Travis James Graves. “I always have a Sympathy for the Devil,” Stefan Flasdick. Customers don’t even need to like beef to enjoy a burger at Burger and Beer Joint. The Turning Japanese is 5 ounces of seared rare ahi tuna, avocado, watercress, jalapeno relish, spicy garlic mayo, onion bun and jalapeno-cheddar sauce. Going one-step further, meatless lovers can try the Dear Prudence, a marinated portobello cap, roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella, arugula, pesto, ciabatta bun, roasted garlic bulb and country ranch. — MD

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he original Pizza Rustica can be found on the corner of Washington Ave. and 9th Street in the heart of South Beach. A hole-in-the-wall located within the strip plazas, Pizza Rustica is rustic—just like its name. The original location is a casual walk-up eatery convenient for guests who want to stop by for a quick bite after the beach. On their glass display, you’ll see they carry a variety of specialty pizzas like their Smoked BBQ Rotisserie Pulled Pork and Mega Meat, alongside simple ones like cheese

Best Of LGBT South Florida

and pepperoni. An average cost for a slice and bottled drink ranges around $5-10, depending on specialty toppings and tip. This award-winning pizza franchise not only serves up quality pizza, but also gives back to the community with contributions to organizations such as Pridelines Youth Services and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Winter Party Festival. It is also the second consecutive year that it has won SFGN’s Best Pizza for Miami-Dade County. — LC

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EDM, hip hop, live DJ sets, or Latin night, fit with drag queens and muscle boys flooding the dance floor. So it’s no wonder this place won SFGN’s Best Place to Dance this year. Plus, it’s not unusual for celebs to be seen here – when Ricky Martin was in town for a show in October, he made a special appearance at Score.


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Best Of 2015

Best Non-Profit Pridelines 9526 NE 2nd Ave. Miami 305-571-9601 Pridelines.org

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stablished in the 1982 in response to anti-gay crusader Anita Bryant’s “Save Our Children” campaign, Pridelines’ founders also focused on saving children and teens – from the stigmas and social isolation imposed on them because they are part of the LGBT community. The goal, said co-founder Dr. Marilyn Volker, is to create an environment where LGBT youth can develop friendship with similar individuals and feel safe and accepted as members of a community. “I would love Pridelines to be that for every student to ever walk through that door. To find a place of safety and also a range of role

Fall 2015

models and acceptance that says we are a community that values our own differences,” Volker said. To successfully complete the goal of helping LGBT youth, Pridelines offers various services. “We often encounter youth during a moment of crisis. They’ve just come out to their parents or they become homeless. We broker services for them like mental health counseling or family counseling, stabilize their housing situation. Often, a year later, we’ve been able to rebuild their relationship with the family,” said Luigi Ferrer, director of programs and grant development. — MD

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Best Of 2015

Ray from Palace Bar

bs. Hair. Skin. Ray seems to be the complete package. It’s no wonder why SFGN readers voted him as SFGN’s Best Bartender in Miami. But it’s not just his looks that keep his customers coming back for more. He knows how to pour a damn good drink too. “I think being a good bartender is knowing and having your clients’ drink before they get to the bar, but also listening to them,” he said.

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ucked away on the bay end of Lincoln Road, Miami’s uber-popular shopping destination, Hotel Gaythering is just emerging on the South Beach scene. And it’s not just a hotel anymore – it’s a part of the community. “Trivia Night is a night of no fuss fun, where locals get together and enjoy a weekly game where they share laughs and innocent competitive banter. It was started by neighbors looking for a place to play board games and have a beer. After joining the neighbors a couple times, I decided to make the night official as ‘Gayme,’” said coowner Alexander Guerra. “After a few Gayme nights it was evident that we needed to make the night inclusive

to all bar patrons and after playing trivia at gramps (in wynwood) we knew that was what we wanted to do.” Originally constructed in 1958 as an art deco apartment complex, Hotel Gaythering has 25 large rooms with interiors inspired by French designer Phillipe Starck. The ‘gaythering’ begins around the first floor bar, coffee shop and library where guests are sure to encounter friendly and cute staff while mingling with other patrons. The hotel’s library is a great place to take a shot of espresso and scan through big picture books, including cult classics such as “Tom of Finland” and the “Big Penis Book.” It’s co-ed in the spa area, where an aroma steam room, cedar sauna, hot tub and mud lounge await.

1200 Ocean D r. Miami Beach , FL 33139 305-531-72 PalaceSouthB 34 each.com

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perfect transition from sunny sojourn to midnight madness, courtesy of some of the Beach’s most popular DJs. So it’s no surprise that The Palace has taken home the trophy for Best Restaurant. In the past the Palace has won Best Of awards for Best Drag Show, Best Weekly Event, Best Brunch and Best Tea Dance. Also be sure to catch Tiffany Fantasia, who has won Best Drag Queen in MiamiDade three years in a row, regularly performing there. Now a lot of people may come for the amazing events and location but let’s not forget that the Palace is a restaurant – and a damn good one at that. — JP

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sk any real estate agent — and God knows, there are plenty in South Florida — the secret to success for any business is location, location, location…..well, The Palace, South Beach’s Ocean Drive gay bar has got that! Just across the street from the beach, The Palace offers the perfect sunny spot to see and be seen. Their Sunday brunch, dubbed Brunchic!, is one of the most popular events of the week and Breakfast Club Saturdays offer the same delicious eats if you prefer to sleep in on Sundays. The divas of The Palace are second to none, providing gender-bending entertainment into the wee hours of the night. And, after a relaxing day on the beach, The Palace’s tea dances provide the

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eaches. Boys. How could you not love Miami Beach Gay Pride? Going into its eighth year MBGP has become one of the hottest events around the state. In terms of history the PrideFest is relatively new compared to Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach County. But in terms of numbers the weekend event has quickly outpaced it’s northern neighbors attracting more than 125,000 people a year. And to top it off they’ve attracted big names like Gloria Estefan, Adam Lambert, and Mario Lopez to headline their festival generating a lot of buzz leading up to the event.

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“After just seven short years, it’s an honor to have SFGN readers name Miami Beach Gay Pride their favorite event of the year. It takes an army of dedicated volunteers and staff, the support of the City of Miami Beach and the help of all our sponsors to produce a Pride of this magnitude and this honor is shared with all of them. Thanks to everyone who voted,” said Mark Fernandes, Chair, Miami Beach Gay Pride Board of Directors. Next year’s event is scheduled April 8-10. — JP

Best City to Live

ith over 80,000 residents packed into a 7 plus square mile area, the city of Miami Beach is not only jammed with people but boasts an equally robust cultural and recreational presence to its visitors and residents alike. Defined by its trademark ‘20s and ‘30s themed architecture and immortalized as a bonafide LGBT watering hole in films like the Robin Williams/ Nathan Lane classic, “The Birdcage,” Miami Beach is everything it’s “cracked up to be” and then some. It’s a place where being LGBT is to be just another face in the crowd. On any given day, residents of this beachside

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Best Of 2015

haven can be seen soaking in the sun on miles of pristine, world-renowned beaches (complete with pride flags adorning the vintage lifeguard towers), indulge in a meal of nearly any ethnic derivation, and top it all off with a trip to one of the cities innumerable LGBT clubs such as Score and Twist among them. Miami Beach is also home to the ever-growing Miami Beach Gay Pride event that’s going into its seventh year. Each year the event continues to grow, now attracting more than 80,000 people. — JP

Best Beach

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ipped up men in speedos? Check. Ripped up men rollerblading in speedos? Check. Ripped up men rollerblading in speedos while speaking Spanish? That’s a check too. Indeed, as Hank Azaria’s character from the Birdcage put it – it’s all about the “natural heat [insert overly dramatic Spanish Accent here].’ And the good news is that come rain or come shine, 12th St. Beach is packed with men from all walks of life – many of whom happen to be Latin, buff and donning speedos – yet others who, seek simply to blend in. Be careful, though, 12th St. beach isn’t really the place to blend in. If seeking solace is your idea of the perfect LGBT beach outing, you’re likely better off somewhere else, because this place is jumpin!

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Did we mention ripped, Latin men wearing speedos and playing volleyball? Ya….when we said jumpin’ we weren’t kidding and neither were our readers, who overwhelmingly voted 12th. St. Beach the best locale to catch some rays, take a dip in the usually 75-80 degree sea water and, of course, frolic in the sands (with their choice of all kinds of men in Speedos…and not just Latinos – but definitely a lot, that’s for sure). Beaches, clubs, restaurants, regular gay themed events and even immortalization VIA film -- The Birdcage was shot only a half block away at the Carlyle hotel – making 12th St. beach in Miami an absolutely compulsory destination for the LGBT community as a whole. — JP

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miami dade

Best Of 2015

Tiffany Fantasia

Best Drag Queen

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or 12 years Tiffany Fantasia has been entertaining the LGBT community in Miami and nowadays she can be found at the iconic restaurant the Palace on South Beach three days a week. This is Fantasia’s third year in a row being voted SFGN’s Best Drag Queen in Miami. “Third times a charm! Thank you once again to everyone that voted for me!” she said. “It brings me great joy to be loved by my community. I think the readers chose me because I’m funny, professional, and free spirited, and will stand up against things that I believe are wrong in this community.” While Fantasia may come across as free-

spirited things haven’t always been so easy for the entertainer. “It’s been a struggle and a journey, but it’s been well worth it,” she said. “This business is not easy at all. And I thank your readers and the audiences for being able to entertain them for so long.” Fantasia hasn’t just made a name for herself in Miami either – last year she traveled to Curaçao in the Caribbean to host their Pride week festivities. She has also won Miami Beach Pride’s first ever “Ms. Miami Beach Gay Pride” contest in 2012.

3T Winnime er!

— JP

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Best Of LGBT South Florida

Fall 2015

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palm beach

Melissa St. John

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Penny’s at the Duke 902 N Dixie Hwy. Lantana 561-318-73 59 Facebook.com

Best Drag Queen

F

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or the second year in a row readers voted for long time iconic drag queen Melissa St. John as Best Drag Queen in Palm Beach County. St. John has been around so long that few in the LGBT community in Palm Beach County can remember a time without her. And there are no signs of her slowing down anytime soon. “I am honored yet again. It means a great deal to be voted in this category, I hold much respect for all those entertainers within the Palm Beach LGBT community to uphold and represent in what we believe,” St. John said.

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said. “They sing karaoke (Mindy and Todd) with everyone else on Wednesdays from 7 to 11 p.m. and they stay for the drag shows.” Penny’s has a no smoking policy. But there are two patios where people can take their drinks and smokes and most do without complaint. The bar has lots of specials, which can be viewed online at their Facebook page. The current favorite beverage is cinnamon whiskey called fireball. And whether you’re female or male, you’re welcome to be one of “The Ladies Who Brunch” on first Sundays at noon. — JP

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ver the past two years many burger joints have vied for SFGN’s top prize for Best Burger including Grease, Shula, Relish and BurgerFi. But this year a newbie, Brass Ring, beat out the competition. “I always get the bacon cheese burger and crinkle fries. The burgers are always cooked to perfection and taste amazing,” read one review on Yelp. Another person commented, “Their sign says it all...a joint with the coldest beer, and there is no doubt the best burger in town.” They’ve also won Best Burger from the Palm Beach Post as well.

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Best Bar

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“As a sisterhood sometimes known as ‘The Palm Beach Drag Society’ I’m honored to be recognized for the many years I’ve dedicated my life not only entertaining, but remaining on the forefront for equal rights and fundraising.” Besides winning Best Drag Queen last year, she was named to SFGN’s annual South Florida OUT50 list this year and recently was crowned Miss South Florida Illusion Classic 2015. You can catch her at HG Roosters in West Palm Beach every Saturday night at midnight.

enny’s at the Duke may be fairly new to the LGBT scene in Palm Beach County, but the bar has already made a name for itself, quickly building up a loyal fan base. The Duke opened in 1946 and keeping the name was part of the purchase agreement for Penny Johnson to buy the business. A patron suggested Penny’s at the Duke and it stuck. Then Penny laid down 9,000 pennies in urethane to physically lay claim to the name and opened the place in August 2013. Penny’s is a neighborhood gay bar with a twist. A bunch of straight customers came with the territory and have stayed to become part of the regular crowds. “They have fit right in with us,” Johnson

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Best Of 2015

— JP

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Best Of 2015

palm beach

Best Bartender Penny Johnson

Penny’s at the Duke

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enny Johnson is a many-faceted person who pulls the facets together to deserve this reward of SFGN’s Best Bartender 2015! Not only is she best barkeep for 2015, she’s also the best lesbian barkeep – probably because she’s the only lesbian barkeep in Palm Beach County And, as far as she knows, she’s the only lesbian barkeep who can juggle, although she doesn’t do it at the bar. Owner of Penny’s at the Duke, Penny has a mixed clientele including a bevy of heterosexual regulars who habituated Penny’s since before it was Penny’s. “They fit in like anybody else,” said Penny during an earlier interview about bars in Palm Beach. Born and raised in Kokomo, IN she came to South Florida after high school to attend the Art Institute in Fort Lauderdale. She and her partner, Julie Seaver, Center Director at Compass, were named to SFGN’s Out50 list in 2014. — DC

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ying with Blue Front Bar and Grill but beating out Howley’s for Best Restaurant, Rhythm Cafe carries a charm all its own. In what used to be a 1950’s era drugstore Rhythm serves an upscale menu with seasoned dishes of lamb, escargot, and filet mignon amid colorful string lights and glowing chandeliers. Maintaining glamour but accommodating budget Rhythm also offers a Tapas-tizers menu encompassing Saganaki to vegetable lentil dahl, including their offered entree options in tapas portions. The formica countertop snaking to the back of the restaurant keeps the vintage theme while sitting opposite a gallery wall flanked by booth seating. Rhythm’s fish menu is a point of pride in selection as well as preparation, and guests

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Best Restaurant

choose one of six presentations and select sides. The proper pairing of wine and food isn’t a problem with Rhythm’s considerable wine list (including ports and desserts), and diners preferring non-alcoholic drinks won’t be disappointed in ordering an espresso or cappuccino. Dessert foods include cake, pie, and cookies but a highlight is the house-made ice cream, including the earl grey, candied ginger, and callebaut belgian chocolate. Select menu items are available gluten free. — OS

Hours:

Tues. – Sat. 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. Sun. 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Best Of LGBT South Florida

Fall 2015

Blue Front BBQ Bar & Grill

1132 N Dixie H wy. Lake Worth

561-833-6651

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Although the old Floridian atmosphere showcasing tribal masks on cyan walls, zebra trim chairs, and one large wooden giraffe is something to bask in, Blue Front BBQ Bar and Grill holds its own the way a true bar and grill knows how; by branding and selling its own “world’s best” barbecue sauce, based on West Palm’s own Norris Nelson’s recipe. This makes perfect sense when considering Blue Front’s menu of traditional grill grub. Appetizers including wings, pulled pork nachos, and onion rings get things started before sandwiches and burgers or a dinner of pulled pork, jerk or barbecue chicken, or ribs. Guests can sip a Blue Front Margarita or Bloody Mary at the wraparound wood bar just off the entryway. The Nibbles & Sips menu offers flatbreads, tacos, and sliders to the bar’s cocktails, bottled, and

draught drinks. A word to the wise from bartender Brian? Step foot through the keyhole doorway around 5:30 p.m., Blue Front is known to fill up and fill up fast. Something a little calmer can be found dining on the tropical back patio as long as you don’t mind dining with tiki heads, but inside David Paladino with the Alex Darqui Trio performs on Fridays at 8 p.m. But Wednesday night is the can’t miss event at Blue Front. Every week the gays flock to the restaurant for the “The Sexy Show – Mild-2-Hot” from 9:30 p.m. to midnight featuring DJ Q and the award winning diva, Velvet Lenore. — OS

Hours:

Tues-Sun 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.


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palm beach

Best Of 2015

Lake Worth

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Best City & Beach

hile it may be many years before Lake Worth is known nationally as a hot spot for gays, it’s easily the gay friendliest city in the county. So it’s no surprise that readers voted Lake Worth as the Best City to Live — for the third year in a row. This year we added Best Beach to the list of categories and Lake Worth took that award as well. The city currently hosts Compass, the gay and lesbian center of the Palm Beaches, Lambda North, a gay 12-step recovery clubhouse, Studio 205, the only gay themed retail store in the county, and the Zoo Health Club, a gay owned gym, and the county’s annual PrideFest

takes place in downtown Lake Worth. In addition it was the first city in Florida to fly the rainbow flag to commemorate PrideFest — and that was back in 2000. “Recognition of Lake Worth as the Best City to Live by SFGN is not a surprise. You don’t have to be gay to enjoy our municipal beach, dock, golf course and parks,” said Tony Plakas, executive director of Compass. “Our center has been in Lake Worth for nearly [seven] years, and the local community has embraced us as much as we’ve embraced our new home.” — JP

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Lake Worth, FL ‎ 561-547-63 ZooGym.com 48

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ith 80 percent gay clientele it’s not hard to figure out why the Zoo Health Club in downtown Lake Worth won for Best Gym for the second year in a row. The franchise location opened up 5 years ago by Dawn Malega and her partner. “We’re a friendly gym. We don’t judge anybody here. People feel comfortable about their sexuality here,” Malega said. “We’re involved in everything,

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ore than 15,000 people attend Pridefest of Lake Worth and the Palm Beaches each year. Not only is it the longest running LGBT event in Palm Beach County, but it’s by far the largest. It first launched in 1992 and today showcases more than 140 gay friendly businesses. But the real highlight is the Sunday parade that marches through downtown Lake Worth. Next year’s event will take place March 19 and 20 from noon to 6 p.m. at Bryant Park in downtown Lake Worth.

Fall 2015

from gay pride to supporting Compass and hosting mixers. We try to support the community and they support us.” One reviewer on Yelp said: “Yes, it’s a small club but we love the friendly atmosphere & helpful staff!” The 2,700 square foot gym is 24 hours featuring state of the art equipment, personal trainers and several group classes including circuit training. — JP


miami dade

Compass

2 Time Winner!

wy. 201 N. Dixie H Lake Worth 9 561-533-969.com CompassGLCC

Best Of 2015

Best Non-Profit

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he votes are in, and SFGN readers have selected the Compass Gay & Lesbian Community Center as the best non-profit in Palm Beach County for the second year in a row. Every year, over 25,000 individuals are served by Compass, the largest gay and lesbian community center in Florida and the Southeast U.S. Support includes youth, transgender, and coming out groups as well as case management for people living with HIV/ AIDS. Compass also features the David Bohnett Cyber Center, the Joel M. Starky Library with over 2,000 books, and an LGBT-friendly business network and

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directory. Each December, Compass observes World AIDS Day with a presentation of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, the largest display in Florida. Notable events include PrideFest and the Stonewall Ball. “Compass is honored and thrilled to be voted Best Non-Profit in Palm Beach County,” says Ryanmarie Rice, Chief of Staff. “More than twenty-six years ago, a small group of dedicated volunteers founded Compass in an effort to educate, connect, and serve the LGBT community. The commitment to Compass’ mission, not only by the staff and Board of Trustees, but by our volunteers, motivates Compass to better serve our community, year after year.” — JP

Julie Seaver

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Best Social Group

Best LGBT Activist

n many ways Julie Seaver is the face of Compass in Palm Beach County, where she serves as its Center Operations Director. And anybody that knows her – loves her. Earlier this year she was named to SFGN’s annual South Florida OUT50 list. “The most notable trait that makes Julie such an appropriate recipient of this award is that she puts her mind, body and soul into every initiative, every person, and every goal we set as a community, gay or straight. She’s become the go-to-gal for solutions, ideas, and problem-solving for more than just Compass,” said Tony Plakas, CEO of Compass. “Every group, individual or family that comes to Compass knows that if Julie doesn’t have the answer, she will find it. She is not only a great part of my team,

but I consider her one of my best friends, part of my personal board of directors, and a soulmate of sorts. And that’s exactly how most people I’ve ever met that [know] her [feel] about her. She is an activist because she won’t stop until the job is done, even when she is told by her boss that she needs to stop for a hotminute and take some time for herself. I wouldn’t reward her for that behavior, but I’m damn glad the SFGN community does.” While Compass’ Chief of Staff Ryanmarie Rice added, “I’ve never known someone as dedicated to her community or her work as Julie Seaver is. She’s an activist in the truest sense of the word; she never stops working for this community.” — JP

BLAST

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BLAST (Bi, Lesbian and Straight Together) Women of WPB is one damn active group hosting more than 200 events per year. “BLAST has been so successful - 2,000 members in seven years - because it’s a community rather than an organization,” said founder Toni Armstrong Jr. “Members themselves host more than 200 events per year, based on their wide-ranging interests. Most are free, very low cost, or offered on a sliding scale. With multiple gatherings per week all listed on one simple calendar, women in Palm Beach County can easily find each other. Together we shall go far!” No wonder they won SFGN’s award for Best Social Group. Visit MeetUp.com/BLASTwpb to join the group. — JP

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palm beach Best Of 2015 Downtown Pizza 2 Time

Winner!

608 Lake Ave. Lake Worth 561-586-6448

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or what Lake Worth’s Downtown Pizza lacks in storefront stature it makes up for in slice size and deliciousness. After the aroma of baking pizza pies has got those salivary glands working, settle down inside at a table or at the four-person bar and catch the game on one of the restaurant’s TVs. Fancy yourself an outdoorsman? Claim a table out front and observe Lake Worth Ave’s bustle and passersby while enjoying wine or a brew on draft. As for Downtown Pizza’s baked yeast offerings, it didn’t win Best Of two years running for naught. Even before getting to their quality, there’s the jumbo slice sizing to deal with, sloping off of the plate’s edges when served up two at a time. Good luck trying to eat one without folding it in half, and when the crispy thin crust tears under the

Best Ongoing R Event t h g i N y a SaturdRooster’s at

Road e r e d e v l 823 Be Beach m l a P t s We -9119 561-832 .com WPB Roosters

oosters is the place to be on Saturdays. Its Entertainment Showcase hosted by Melissa St. John won Best Regular Event. Roosters also won this category last year for its Monday night bingo. Not that it needs any help drawing a crowd, but recent raffle drawings to see Ricky Martin and Janet Jackson concerts didn’t hurt. “We’re delighted to hear Roosters’ Saturday nights won the best weekly event from the SFGN readers. It’s a great night to visit us. Our $3 Long Island Iced Tea special is a huge hit and our entertainment director Melissa St. John combines new talent with seasoned performers in an ever-changing weekly show. DJ Gil Martin plays to the crowd and keeps the party going till 4 a.m.,”says manager David Hazen. Online reviews from out-of-towners describe Roosters as a fun neighborhood bar, but to locals it’s much more. Roosters recently evolved into a non-smoking bar and the change has started to attract a whole new set of customers. To accommodate everyone, the bar’s patio has been refurbished and turned it into a comfortable smoking space. — DR

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Fall 2015

Best Pizza

Thanks for voting!

weight of fresh toppings and tangy red sauce, just happily cope. Downtown keeps it classic with Margarita, White, Hawaiian and Meat Lover’s to choose from and offers hometown homage with The Lake Worth, topped with bacon, tomato, and garlic. Veggie options include the Garden Pizza and Eggplant Florentine. Other menu items include pastas, hot and cold subs, salads, calzones, and strombolis if pizza isn’t really your thing. Not up for the trek but want a taste? Downtown delivers, and calling ahead might be a good idea since the prepped pizza boxes stacked to the ceiling hint that they’ve got something good and they know it. — OS


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Profile for South Florida Gay News

SFGN Best of 2015  

SFGN's annual "Best of" issue

SFGN Best of 2015  

SFGN's annual "Best of" issue

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