Thanks to the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau of Greater Fort Lauderdale recognizing years ago that the gay community was a good investment, Fort Lauderdale has become one of the premier gay destinations in the world. With more than 30 gay guest houses, tons of gay owned restaurants, gay bars, and nightclubs, as well as top notch entertainment
Thanks to the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau of Greater Fort Lauderdale recognizing years ago that the gay community was a good investment, Fort Lauderdale has become one of the premier gay destinations in the world. With more than 30 gay guest houses, tons of gay owned restaurants, gay bars, and nightclubs, as well as top notch entertainment throughout the year, you won’t find a more gay friendly destination. At the heart of Gay Fort Lauderdale is Wilton Manors. Wilton Drive is chocked full of gay and lesbian owned businesses and continues to grow year after year.
Over the past decade and a half we have seen the formation of one of the liveliest gay neighborhoods in the state. With an openly gay mayor, out city council members, and a booming gay population, Wilton Manors is the place to be in South Florida if you are gay. There is so much to do in the island city of Wilton Manors that this list is hardly comprehensive, what follows is some of my favorite things to do in town, great places to stay, and restaurants that are not to be missed.
The Cabanas Guesthouse: With a blend of fun and the sophistication, The Cabanas Guesthouse & Spa has left no stone unturned. This beautiful waterfront resort is the only all-male gay guesthouse that is centrally located in Wilton Manors, the heart of Gay Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Cabanas provides a secluded environment while still being just minutes away from the greatest shopping, dining, entertainment and nightlife that South Florida has to offer.
The Cabanas Guest House, 2209 N.E. 26th Street, TheCabanasGuesthouse.com
Ed Lugo Resort: This upscale resort caters to special travelers who are looking for more than an ordinary hotel and they will customize their service to meet your needs. Ed Lugo Resort offers luxury suites in the center of Wilton Manors. The heated pool, waterfalls, beautiful landscaping, and 500 count luxury sheets make Ed Lugo Resort the place to relax.
Ed Lugo Resort, 2404 NE 8th Ave, EdLugoResort.com
The Manor Inn: This gay-owned, smoke-free establishment is dedicated to making your Ft. Lauderdale visit enjoyable and memorable. Located just 250 yards from the center of Wilton Manors, The Manor Inn is centrally located to all the rest of Ft. Lauderdale’s many attractions.
Offering a variety of private rooms with bath and kitchenette, this facility is immaculate; the landscaping is lush; the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed. The beaches are just a ten-minute drive away, but, why not spend some time relaxing by the clothing-optional pool and Jacuzzi?
The Manor Inn, 2408 NE 6th AVE, WiltonManorsinn.com
Since it’s Stonewall Summer Pride this weekend, check out our full schedule of events that will happen on Wilton Drive. City officials will close “the Drive” on Saturday and Sunday and there will be a parade as well as a great lineup of performers.
Wicked Wilton: Wicked Wilton is the premier Halloween event in South Florida. It will all take place on the Drive on October 31, 2013. Thousands of party goers will fill the streets and businesses up and down the drive. In 2012, crowds exceeded 20,000. There is no better place to see and be seen! From Ghosts & Goblins, to Witches, Aliens and just about everything else you can dream up, and a lot you can’t. WickedWilton.com
Monthly Art Walk: Come and enjoy an evening of fun in one of South Florida’s most eclectic and easy-going neighborhoods. South Florida fine artists will be displaying paintings, photographs and sculpture at the various business locations. Have an early dinner in one of the great restaurants then take a stroll. Enjoy the works of art, discover a new place to shop, people watch, ride the free trolley and make new friends. Wine and cheese and other treats will be served in many of the participating businesses. The Island City Art Walk takes place the third Friday of each month, 7 – 10p.m., November through April.
Kayaking on the Middle River: The area’s premier kayak outfitter, Atlantic Coast Kayak Company, offers kayak rentals at the Richardson Historic Park & Nature Preserve in Wilton Manors. The park features an excellent launching area, a river boardwalk and pavilion. The Middle River provides one of the best urban kayaking routes in the greater Fort Lauderdale area, with great views of homes, gardens, mangroves, shore birds, and giant iguanas. Single Kayaks are $16 for one hour or $40 for 4 hours. Double Kayaks are $24 for one hour or $58 for 4 hours
Farmer’s Market– Come out to Hagen Park and try some local produce as well as other farm fresh goods. Each weekend the vendors set up their stands and bring cheeses, fresh baked bread, jams, jellies, and a lot of other quality goods to sell to residents and visitors alike. The market is set up year round on Saturdays and Sundays, 9:00am – 2:00pm.
The Alibi: Alibi is the bar that started it all in Wilton Manors. Soon the town exploded with multiple gay establishments and gay residents moving in. With the addition of creative chefs, the club won best burger in Fort Lauderdale 2 years in a row in 2010 & 2011. The new owners of Georgie’s Alibi live by the motto “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” Whether it’s dining on their completely remodeled patio, playing a game of pool or darts, or catching a show in the Manchester Room, The Alibi has got it all.
Georgie’s Alibi, 2266 Wilton Drive, AlibiWiltonManors.com
Bill’s Filling Station: Bill’s Filling Stations is just across Wilton Drive from its sister bar, Alibi. Featuring great weekly and monthly theme parties, Bill’s has enjoyed success in Wilton Manors. Don’t miss their Friday night Growl parties, where you catch one of the local species of bears on the prowl. The second Saturday of each month, Bill’s features their DILF party, a Levi, leather, and cruise night. Don’t miss the top notch entertainment performing in the Mustang lounge during the week. Check out all of their great promotions on their website.
Bill’s Filling Station, 2209 Wilton Drive, BillsFillingStation.com
Boom: Boom is a multi-level dance and video bar that is a fun, friendly, and welcoming environment to people of every persuasions. Boom is located in the Shoppes of Wilton Manors.
They have a non-smoking policy in their downstairs Dance Floor, however they offer smoking in the Video Bar or upstairs in the Love Lounge.
Boom, 2232 Wilton Drive, BoomWiltonManors.com
Infinity Lounge: Infinity Lounge is a small cocktail lounge located in the Gables at Wilton Park building. Offering classic cocktails and martinis with a twist, the intimate setting has great ambiance with custom white seating areas and twinkling chandeliers. A great place to catch up with old friends, meet new ones, wind down from a long day or wind up for a wild night out.
Infinity Lounge, 2184 Wilton Drive, InfinityLoungeFL.com
The Manor Complex: The Manor features a sophisticated yet comfortable ambience, classic tavern cuisine, and ultra lounge, night club, martini bar and a banquet/meeting facility.
Don’t miss the chance to dance the night away in the largest nightclub in Wilton Manors and on Friday and Saturday nights is packed. Friday night is Bubble Gum Fridays, an 18+ night, while Saturday is Epic Saturdays featuring Hot DJs, theme parties, productions, and recording artists in themain nightclub and in the Ivy Lounge and Patio, they feature Noche Latina Saturday, with some of the hottest Latin beats and drag shows with Latin Diva’s.
The Manor Complex, 2345 Wilton Drive, TheManorComplex.com
Rumors: Rumor’s is one of the newest bars in Wilton Manors and they are carving out their niche as a place where everyone in the community is welcome, where you can catch a great drag show, or just chill in their completely remodeled bar and chat with friends over a bite to eat. They are proud to serve Wilton Manors and want to totally immerse themselves in this community.
Rumors Bar, 2426 Wilton Drive, RumorsBarWiltonManors.com
Sidelines: Sidelines Sports Bar provides a fun, friendly and “Cheers” like atmosphere in a smoke-free environment for gay men and women who enjoy all kinds of sports. This authentic sports bar has 16 flat screen TVs, 3 pool tables, 3 dart boards, Wi-Fi access, Buzztime Trivia and Texas Hold ‘Em Poker, and other video games.
Sidelines Sports Bar, 2031 Wilton Drive , SidelinesSports.com
Village Pub: The Village Pub is another of the newest bars on Wilton Drive and since they opened in late 2012, they have been a big hit in the Island City. Their slogan is Familiar Faces…Fresh Ideas, they hope to continue offering new twists on established ideas. With great DJ’s and shows throughout the week, stop in and check them out.
Village Pub, 2283 Wilton Drive, VillagePubWM.com
Angel’s Café: Angel’s has a completely different vibe from Simply Delish, which used to be in that location. The space feels larger and has a more open feel to it. Just past the entrance is a player piano and cozy bar area, which can get crowded quickly. Despite the delicious dinner selections, one of the things they do best is breakfast on the weekends. Angel’s is a fun and friendly new addition to The Drive. Stop by and welcome them to the neighborhood, and have a great meal while you are there.
Angel’s Café, 2287 Wilton Drive Facebook.com/pages/Angels-Cafe-Wilton-Manors
Shawn and Nick’s Courtyard Café: The Courtyard Café is a great place to get delicious food. With an extensive diner style menu, it’s a great place to grab a bite late night on the weekends. They are open all night long on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Enjoy your food inside, or they also offer outside seating in, you guessed it, their very own courtyard.
Courtyard Café, 2211 Wilton Drive, WiltonManorsCourtyardCafe.com
Humpy’s Pizza and Cupcakes: NY style pizza baked with fresh quality ingredients and healthy options. They also offer a variety of appetizers, salads, flatbreads, sandwiches, pasta and jumbo cupcakes. Located in The Shoppes of Wilton Manors where there is always something happening. You can enjoy a cold beer or a nice glass of wine on their outdoor patio.
Humpy’s Pizza and Cupcakes, 2244 Wilton Drive, HumpysPizza.com
Rodeo: Looking for a healthy lunch, a hearty dinner, or just a relaxing evening of fun at the bar, you’ll find it at Rodeo. Bring your friends and enjoy some amazing food, in a down home atmosphere, at a great place to eat on the drive. They feature Southwestern, Tex-Mex, Barbeque, and Cajun/Creole style food in a relaxed yet upscale atmosphere.
Rodeo: A Southern Restaurant and Bar, 2033 Wilton Drive, RodeoFL.com
Rosie’s: For the last ten years, Rosie’s Bar and Grill have made a name for themselves in Wilton Manor’s by continuing to focus on three aspects any restaurant and bar should consider: Food, Atmosphere, and Service. The crux of the menu is their burger selection, but they have an amazing selection of other tasty dishes as well.
Rosie’s, 2449 Wilton Drive, RosiesBarAndGrill.com
Tee-Jay Thai Sushi: Tee-Jay offers an amazing oriental dining experience in Wilton Manors. Their fresh sushi and delicious Thai dishes go great with their extensive Sake list as well as many Japanese and Thai beers. The décor is tasteful and unlike any place else in town. Many of the tables feature bench style seating with comfy pillows.
Tee-Jay Thai Sushi, 2254 Wilton Drive, TeeJayThaiSushi.com
Tropics of Wilton Manors: Tropics Restaurant & Piano Bar is a warm, friendly place where you can enjoy fine dining, cocktails and live entertainment. Whether you’re looking for great food with an atmosphere to match or simply a place to socialize with friends, you’re sure to find it at Tropics. Proudly serving South Florida’s gay and lesbian community for over 20 years, they’re known by regulars as a place where good friends convene and memories are made
Tropics of Wilton Manors, 2000 Wilton Drive , TropicsOfWiltonManors.com