Fans of darts, pool, and Foosball, as well as those who enjoy watching pro sports on TV, make up the clientele at this mixed gay and lesbian hangout in Wilton Manors with 16 flat-screen TVs. Sidelines Sports Bar (2031 Wilton Dr., 954-563-8001) draws members from area LGBT sports clubs and teams and is a welcoming, friendly place, whatever your interests.
Slammer (321 W. Sunrise Blvd., 954-524-2625) is a 21-and-older hotspot (it's absolutely packed on weekends into the wee hours) for men of all ages and types looking to meet up and get laid. Guests pay $23 for a one-time membership or $31 for three months, and can bring their own liquor. The club opens at 5 pm on weekdays, and 8 pm on weekends, and keeps going strong until morning. There's a live DJ on weekends, and the amenities here favor fans of kink: glory holes, mazes, slings, and similar paraphernalia.
A compact little neighborhood bar in the Oakland Park part of town, Smarty Pants Bar (2400 E. Oakland Park Blvd., 954-561-1724) is said to be the oldest bar in the city. It's a pretty quiet, relaxed spot catering to an older bunch. There's a great jukebox.
Scandals, which is nearby in Wilton Manors, The Stable (205 E. Oakland Park Blvd., 954-565-4506) is a randier, smaller, and more guy-oriented place that's popular for its Tuesday-night underwear parties and Friday karaoke. It's a great little neighborhood bar, and the Saturday drag shows bring in sizable crowds.
The dining and nightclub options in the sleek and snazzy W Fort Lauderdale (401 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., 954-414-8200), which is a five-minute walk from more than a dozen gay resorts around Fort Lauderdale Beach, are favorite see-and-be-seen hangouts among gay A-listers and fashionable tourists. The main restaurant, Steak 954 is a chic dining room serving three meals daily and is especially popular at night for creatively prepared dry-age steaks and fresh seafood. The giant aquarium in the center of the room adds a fun vibe to this high-end restaurant. At the trendy bar, Whiskey Blue, enjoy fine cocktails in the seductive interior space or - if you can find a seat (good luck on weekend evenings) - on the breezy open-air balcony which looks across A1A toward the beach and ocean. This design-driven space (with elements by everyone from Frank Gehry to Isamu Noguchi) is one spot in town where you might want to dress in something stylish.
During the morning and afternoon in Wilton Manors, there are few business more packed with gay and lesbian patrons than Stork's Cafe & Bakery (2505 N.E. 15th Ave., 954-567-3220), a cheerful and attractive little restaurant whose owners also operate GLBT-popular Esmeralda Trattoria, Tapas, and Wine Bar (3325 S. University Dr., 954-473-4460) in the nearby community of Davie. Stork's has made a name for itself serving decadently delicious, made-from-scratch sweets, including lemon-blueberry biscuits, chocolate bread pudding, Viennese finger cookies, rustic pear tarts, and white chocolate-raspberry cheesecake, so if it's a devilish snack you're after, head here - excellent coffee and tea drinks are served, too. But this is also a fine option for savory breakfast and lunch fare, including sandwiches, soups, and salads. You can dine indoors or on the lovely patio.
Tap 42 (1411 S. Andrews Ave., 954-463-4900) doesn't have an especially strong presence in the gay community, but it is a favorite of craft beer lovers and fans of gastropub cuisine. On tap is an astounding range of microbrews from across the country, plus several from Europe (Bell's Two Hearted, Harpoon IPA, Lagunitas IPA, Dogfish 60 Minute IPA, Rogue Dead Guy, Delirium Tremens, Lindeman's Framboise Raspberry Lambic, Left Hand Milk Stout, and many more). There's also a good cocktail list, and creative lunch, brunch, and dinner fare: tuna-watermelon sashimi, smoked fish dip, kale Caesar salads, Black Jack Porter meat loaf, and similar dishes that pair nicely with beer.
This sprawling nightclub west of downtown has one major thing going for it: Torpedo (2829 W. Broward Blvd., no phone) is open after-hours (from midnight till 5:30 am), making it a top pick for late-night and early-morning dancing.
Among the many gay lounges and popular restaurants in the region, comfortable and friendly Tropics (2000 Wilton Dr., 954-537-6000) stands out as one of the top venues for the older-50 set. It's highly regarded as a piano bar, presenting some of the most talented cabaret performers in town, every night of the week. Tropics is also a longtime favorite in the community as a restaurant, with the kitchen serving quite tasty Continental-inspired food, including prime rib au jus, New York strip steak, crisp roast duckling, and similarly traditional fare.
A low-keyed neighborhood bar with a friendly staff in the middle of Wilton Manors, Village Pub (2283 Wilton Dr., 754-200-5244) is a good bet for its seemingly endless happy hours (Monday through Saturday, 11 am until 9 pm). Lots of regulars enjoy the Twisted Tuesdays, when comedy and showtunes air on the several video screens.