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Fort Lauderdale Gay Bars Guide - Wilton Manors Gay Bars Guide

Plus Several Gay-Friendly Restaurants and Cafés


Here's an alphabetical guide of the best bars and nightclubs, plus a few gay-popular restaurants and cafés, in Fort Lauderdale as well as the neighboring city of Wilton Manors, which has quite a few of Broward County's GLBT establishments.

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1. Bill's Filling Station, Wilton Manors - gay bar

For eons located in Fort Lauderdale proper, Bill's Filling Station (2209 Wilton Dr., 954-567-5978) relocated several years ago to the heart of Wilton Manors - it was a move that gave what had been a fun but low-keyed bar a new lease on life. Now Bill's and its adjoining Mustang Lounge is one of the most popular neighborhood gay bars in South Florida, with a very strong following among guys of all ages, with a crowd that tends toward bears, regular Joes, and generally quite friendly, attitude-free guys. It's a fun place to watch videos and TV (e.g., Ru Paul's Drag Race), listen to cabaret in Mustang Lounge, catch some very campy drag entertainment, and enjoy the attractive drink specials. The second Saturday of each month, there's a very popular Levi's and Leather Cruise Night.

2. Boardwalk Bar, Fort Lauderdale - gay bar

photo by Andrew Collins
What's not to like about a bar whose website menu lists "Naked Guys" right at the top? Yup, Boardwalk Bar (1721 N. Andrews Ave., 954-463-6969), which fringes Wilton Manors, is all about dudes who happen to perform nude - the club often draws actors from Fort Lauderdale's prolific gay porn industry. If you're more into regular guys off the street, check out Wednesday's amateur strip contests. This is a classic gay stripper bar, with pole dancers, lap dances, and all the usual fun. It's a clean and nicely kept place, but the cover charges and spendy drink prices are a turnoff for some. Hey, it's all about the entertainment at this place.

3. Castle Lounge, Hollywood and Wilton Manors - gay bars

In the southern Broward County city of Hollywood, a 15-minute drive south of Fort Lauderdale and a 30-minute drive north of Miami, the original Castle Lounge (1322 N. Dixie Hwy., 954-865-6346) is a great option if you're looking to hang out, dance, and socialize in this part of South Florida. It's also an especially popular and welcoming venue for the are's trans community, and the bar's fetish nights on Thursdays bring in a loyal crowd. In 2013, a second Castle Lounge opened in Wilton Manors (840 E. Oakland Park Blvd., 954-840-9683), offering a similarly trans-friendly space in the region's most concentrated LGBT community.

4. Club Boom/Atomic, Wilton Manors - gay bar

photo by Andrew Collins
In the same scene-y shopping center as Georgie's Alibi and Java Boys Coffeehouse, Club Boom (2232 Wilton Dr., 954-630-3556) - also sometimes called Atomic - is a two-level space with a sleek and stylish video bar up top, and a decent-size dance floor on the main level. This is one of the better places in great Fort Lauderdale for dancing and otherwise cutting loose on weekends. The crowd on the dance floor is mostly the usual sea of shirtless, tanned, and cut guys in their 20s and 30s, and but there are always plenty of exceptions to the rule - women, straights, older guys. Boom employs some of the best DJs in the area, and the Sunday T-dances are lots of fun, as are the Studio 54 retro dance parties. From the upstairs bar, you get a very nice view of all the moving and shaking down below on the dance floor.

5. Club Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale - gay bathhouse

photo by Andrew Collins
Club Fort Lauderdale (110 N.W. 5th Ave., 954-525-3344) is part of the well-established "Clubs" bathhouse empire (there are others in Columbus, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Orlando, and St. Louis) and one of the nicest gay bathhouses you'll find in the United States. It's an expansive, clean, well-maintained facility that's attractively designed and centrally located in downtown Fort Lauderdale. It's little wonder that Club Fort Lauderdale has such a loyal following. The layout and amenities are typical of these kinds of places, with locker rentals and rooms (including rather swanky cabana units), and there's a grotto-inspired steam room that's extremely popular.

6. The Clubhouse II, Fort Lauderdale - gay bathhouse

photo by Andrew Collins
The other men's bathhouse in town, the Clubhouse II (2650 E. Oakland Park Blvd., 954-566-6750) is also open 24 hours and has the typical amenities for such a place: sauna, steamroom, lockers and private rooms, a video lounge, and so on. In comparison with the bigger and more popular Club Fort Lauderdale, this establishment between the Oakland Park and Lauderdale Beach areas is more popular with the leather and bear community, and it also tends to draw a somewhat older crowd.

7. Courtyard Cafe, Wilton Manors - restaurant

Breakfast and brunchers in Wilton Manors are the biggest fans of Shawn & Nick's Courtyard Cafe (2211 Wilton Dr., 954-563-2499), a bright and cheery gay diner that's open 24 hours on weekends and until 11 pm other times. It's quite a lively and campy scene late in Friday and Saturday nights, and beer and wine are served, along with all your usual diner classics: baked haddock, bacon-avocado burgers, Monte Cristo sandwiches, and some seriously delicious breakfast fare. The salmon eggs Benedict and homemade biscuits with sausage gravy are particularly good.

8. The Cubby Hole, Fort Lauderdale - gay bar

photo by Andrew Collins
Billing itself the "best little butch bar in Fort Lauderdale," the Cubby Hole (823 N. Federal Hwy., 954-728-9001) is a favorite of the city's very enthusiastic bear community. Certain theme nights, like the two-for-one drinks specials doled out on Wednesday night to any attired in boxers or briefs (or boxer-briefs, one supposes), are extremely well-attended. A cruise-y mood prevails in this fun hangout that doesn't take itself too seriously.

9. Corner Pub, Wilton Manors - gay bar

photo by Andrew Collins
The Corner Pub (1915 N. Andrews Ave., 954-564-7335) is a chipper little neighborhood gay bar near the main drag in Wilton Manors, drawing a fairly local bunch for cheap happy hours, to shoot pool, and listen to tunes on a pretty good juke box.

10. Depot Cabana Bar, Fort Lauderdale - gay bar

In the Oakland Park area just east of Wilton Manors and north of the beachfront gay resort area, Depot Cabana Bar (2935 N. Federal Hwy., 954-537-7076) is a fun hangout for poolside revelry. It's adjacent to the super-cheap America's Best Inns & Suites Fort Lauderdale North, serves reliably good bar food from the same team behind Wilton Manors's gay-popular Courtyard Cafe, never charges a cover or day passes, and has karaoke, drag shows, and poker nights. Expect a friendly, welcoming crowd, with a good mix of guys in their 40s, 50s, and up, and a pretty loyal following among bears and cubs. It's a fun option if you want to combine playing around in the pool and mingling with new friends.
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