Miami Hub




Florida HIV/AIDS Organization Makes People Over 40 Pay For 'Free' Fundraiser

Screenshot 2015-04-25 09.08.50

Impulse Group South Florida, a community outreach group dedicated to spreading HIV awareness and education, has come under fire for age discrimination at one of its recent social functions. A massive pool party was thrown in Miami meant to spread word about the recently renovated Vagabond Hotel, a local landmark. Entrance into the highly publicized pool party was free to the public under the age of 40, but those 41 and above quickly realize that there would be a $50 cover fee if they wanted to join in the festivities. For a party that was being hashtagged on Instagram and Twitter with #JudgmentIsDirty, many felt as if judgment, and ageism, were in full effect.

“I’m amazed at the invite I just received – free admission up to 40 years of age and $50 over 40,” Ed Stevens, a would-be party goer said to South Florida Gay News. “In addition to whether this is even legal, it’s a shocking and blatant attempt to exclude mature people and another instance of how people in our community should know better, given the discrimination and judgements we face in the mainstream world. And I was looking forward to going back to this beautifully restored landmark.”

Since the pool party, disgruntled members of Miami’s gay community have taken to Impulse’s Facebook page expressing their concerns that the organization is more interested in throwing parties that cater to the young rather than addressing the health needs of the community as a whole.

“The primary strategy is to organically establish a following of socially active, young gay men through engagement at large, organized events, such as Evolution, which occurred in Miami on April 18,” Impulse responded in a press release yesterday. “The purpose of events like Evolution is to create a lively, fun atmosphere where these men can interact while simultaneously being exposed to information about HIV in a non-judgmental environment.”

Tiered pricing for community events like Evolution is common enough, with logic suggesting that younger, less economically established people would benefit from discounted tickets. That being said, it’s not hard to see why people interpreted two age-based tiers as somewhat problematic.


Man Faces 155 Years in Prison for Gay Sex Slave Prostitution Ring Run from Miami Home

VassAndras Janos Vass, a Hungarian national, was convicted of human trafficking and racketeering on Thursday for imprisoning young gay men in a north Miami home and forcing them to prostitute themselves for up to 20 hours each day, the Miami Herald reports:

According to authorities, the ringleaders met two victims in Hungary through a website called GayRomeo.com. Another victim was “living with gypsies” as a male prostitute in Hungary when he met one company representative through Facebook.

The three victims testified during the four-day trial in Miami-Dade. Jurors deliberated just 30 minutes.

In 2012, the company flew the three victims — in their early 20s — to New York City, where they lived in a cramped one-bedroom apartment while performing sex acts around the clock, sometimes with johns, other times on live web cameras, according to the arrest warrant.

The trafficking ringleaders held travel documents and threatened the families of the young men, the paper reports. Vass faces from 21 to to 155 years in prison. The sentencing is June 2.


Florida Teenagers Apprehended After Using Hookup App To Rob Gay Man

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According to Miami police authorities, three Allapattah men are suspected of having used a gay hookup app to target a gay man, gain access to his home, and then rob him at gunpoint. Earlier this week Roger Euceda, 18, entered the victim’s home under the pretense of meeting for a date when he pulled a gun on the man and ordered him to lay face down on his bed. Euceda then invited in an unnamed 17-year old accomplice and the two teenagers proceeded to raid the man’s home.

Authorities were alerted when neighbors of the victim overheard commotion next door. Police showed up at the scene just when Euceda and the other robber were rushing with bags to a car where a third accomplice was waiting. A brief chase ensued and both teenagers were apprehended. The driver of the car is still at large.


What's Gay and Great in Miami: A Travel Guide for Right Now

Miami

RESTAURANTS | COCKTAILS | HOTELS | NIGHTLIFE | BEACHES | DAY TRIPS | ART | FITNESS

There's nothing like the feeling of stepping off a plane after having traveled from some godforsaken winter tundra gripped by the polar vortex into the warm, tropical air of Miami.

IMG_8849If you've been coming to South Beach for more than two decades, from the time it first exploded with nightclubs like Paragon, Warsaw, Amnesia, and Salvation, you'll realize that South Beach and Miami, while they may not be the wild gay nightlife arenas they once were, appear to be maturing culturally, with new cultural venues and neighborhoods. South Beach, known for its art deco architecture, is seeing a boom in restoration projects. North Miami Beach is seeing a huge surge in growth. There is still nightlife, but it's broadening. And there is so much more.

Since many of you — our Towleroad readers — live in Miami full time, or part time, or visit on a frequent basis, we surveyed you and examined dozens of replies in which you told us your favorite restaurants, bars, nightclubs, hotels, beaches, and cultural destinations and compiled them into this ultimate guide to what's happening right now. We've also made a few tweaks of our own based on our last few visits. Thanks to all who participated!

FireworksWe've taken what you told us and created a snapshot which should be useful if you're heading to Miami this week for the Winter Party Festival (today through the 9th) or any time in the near future. We'll be adding to this and we hope that you'll chime in and offer more useful advice in the comments.

If you're thinking of planning a trip, consider coming during one of these annual events our readers say are not to be missed.

The annual Winter Party begins this week in South Beach but there are many other events not to be missed throughout the year including Miami Beach Gay Pride (April 10-12 - Mario Lopez is the parade's grand marshal), Miami International Film Festival (March 6-15), The Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (April 24th - May 3),  Calle Ocho Festival (March 15), Winter Music Conference (March 24-28), Ultra Music Festival (March 27, 28, 29), White Party Week (November 26-30), Art Basel (December 3-6), South Beach Food & Wine Festival (February 25-28, 2016), Coconut Grove Arts Festival (next February), the Miami International Boat Show (February 11-15, 2016), or New Year's Eve week (for fireworks on the beach, photo).

So, let's see what's up for gay travelers in Miami.

Click here for 33 Places to Eat in Miami Right now....

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And here's our first of many tips from readers:

"You do not need a car to drive around South Beach, as there is a LOCAL 25 cent bus whose route goes around the perimeter.  If we do not take this LOCAL bus, most of us avoid taxis and use Uber to get to our destination. Half the price of taxis, pleasant drivers, and they show up in 3-4 minutes after one calls them on a smart phone."

(inset beach photo David Jarrett)

Miamiguy
(instagram)


34 Places To Eat in Miami Right Now: Gay Travel

Matador
The Matador Room at The Edition Hotel

SPLURGE ON FOOD - IT'S AMAZING IN MIAMI

Located in the new Ian Schrager-designed Edition Hotel on Miami Beach, The Matador Room features a Spanish and Latin-inspired menu from Jean-Georges Vongerichten with a glamorous old-school supper club vibe. The oval room itself is something to behold and the hotel, its bar and grounds are among Miami's newest hot spots. Perhaps you'll see a group of Eastern Europeans so sauced they are three-way kissing at the table, or have Clive Davis arrive at a table near you, as Towleroad did the last time we were in town.

JuviaFor upscale eats, Towleroad readers also love Hakkasan in the Fontainebleau Hotel, and Seaspice on the Miami River (formerly Seasalt & Pepper and frequented by celebs like Beyonce and Jay Z, Gloria Estefan, and Ryan Phillippe - lovely for brunch as well). Readers also love Dolce Italian and, for the beautiful views and the outdoor space, Juvia (right), off of Lincoln Road. Cecconi's at the Soho House is also a reliable, usually-packed option.

In Wynwood, try R House or Wynwood Kitchen and Bar (one tipster absolutely loves the 48-hour Crispy Pork), Fireman Derek's Bakeshop & Cafe for pies, pastries, and lunch. Kush for craft beer and comfort food.

Michael's Genuine is a neighborhood bistro in Miami's design district serving fresh, locally-sourced ingredients (straciatella, grouper tartare, pig ears and duck confit, and bacon-infused bourbon Manhattans are among the offerings). Always packed and very reliable. Great for lunch too. Also in the design district you'll find Mandolin, an open-air Greek bistro perfect for warm Miami evenings. One reader said he got his best meal in Miami at Buena Vista Bistro.

ColetteIn Midtown, check out Black Brick for "innovative Chinese" and Midtown Oyster Bar or Mignonette which are "getting raves from locals."

Shuckers Waterfront Grill on the 79th Street Causeway has a great view and a very friendly staff if you're looking for drinks, seafood, and bar food.

Other new restaurants getting some heat are Latin American eatery Loba, the gastropub Pubbelly, and Blue Collar (located on the ground floor of a motel on 69th and Biscayne - no reservations, so prepare to wait especially for weekend brunch).

If you're looking for places around Lincoln Road try Yardbird, a Miami staple which serves southern comfort food - think fried chicken, ribs, deviled eggs, fried green tomatoes, bourbon cocktails. It always has a wait so call ahead for reservations and prepare to be served so much food that you roll out of there. Longtime brunch staple Balans is useful for people watching and mimosas at brunch, and just at the western end of Lincoln Road we suggest CVI.CHE 105 (higher-priced), Colette (mid-priced bistro with gorgeous waiters/owners), and Huahuas tacos (low-end) for something quick.

BodegaZak the Baker , for brunch and dinner, also gets a rave from several readers. The mushroom polenta is recommended for vegetarians.

For cheap eats, readers recommend Bodega taqueria (right) which serves Mexican food from an airstream trailer housed within a modern warehouse with a glass front. Miami is a huge Food Truck town...regular food truck events at Haulover Marina, Collins and 73rd-ish, Pelican Marina (on 79th Street Causeway) among the best.

Book your reservations in advance. Prime time reservations from 8:30 to 10 pm fill up fast.

 

Versailles
(instagram)

HAVE A TRADITIONAL CUBAN MEAL

Versailles is the Miami go-to from a classic Cuban meal, although one reader suggests skipping Versailles and heading instead to the nearby La Carreta (at 3632 SW 8th Street).

Readers love

Readers also recommend Puerto Sagua ("great Cuban food in a divey atmosphere"), Abuelas on Meridian, and the lamb shank at Little Havana. Also the Latin Cafe on Biscayne Boulevard for "great mojitos and inexpensive food."

Cubano

 

HAVE A COFFEE

Panther
(instagram)

By far the most recommended coffee spot by Towleroad readers, Panther Coffee is a Miami-based specialty boutique coffee roaster and wholesaler with two locations. One is in Sunset Harbor and great for post-workout people-watching (the Barry's Bootcamp is right nearby).

Their other location is in Wynwood (pictured above), also excellent for people-watching. They're on Instagram here.

And try the cold brew.

Next stop, 7 Great Places to Drink in Miami Right Now...

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If you have an exciting Miami travel tip to share with us, please email us at travel-at-towleroad.com and we'll check it out and consider adding it to this guide. Help us make it better!


15 Great Places to Stay in Miami Right Now: Gay Travel

James
Talk about gay friendly - The James Royal Palm Hotel just hosted 101 Gay Weddings to celebrate Florida's marriage equality ruling.

WHERE DO GAY TRAVELERS STAY IN MIAMI AND SOUTH BEACH?

Visitors to Miami are spoiled for choice when it comes to hotels but this is where our readers are staying, and some insight into their choices. Most prefer to stay on South Beach.

StandardReaders suggest The Hilton Bentley, The W Hotel, The Dream, The Loews on South Beach, The Fontainebleau, The Standard, The BetsyThe Thompson, The Edition, and The Marriott Stanton. Room rates for all these places vary (sometimes vastly) depending on time of year.

The James Royal Palm, a luxury hotel right on the beach, recently hosted 101 Gay Weddings, where 101 couples were married by celebrity restaurateur Guy Fieri. You may have read about it here on Towleroad. The event was hosted by Chef Art Smith. Since we surveyed our readers, news broke that the hotel has sold and will reportedly be franchised under a Starwood brand.

One reader describes the Mandarin Oriental as his fave but another says "The Mandarin Oriental is great but it is on a traffic choked islet in boring downtown."

For those wanting to stay closer to Wynwood in Miami proper, check out the newly renovated, gay-owned and operated Vagabond Hotel on Biscayne Boulevard. The hotel has been recently renovated to its retro kitsch glory. Designed by Robert Swarthburg, it originally opened in 1953 and was known as a hangout for the Rat Pack: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr.

The Vagabond has also become one of Miami's foodie destinations with a new restaurant from Alex Chang.

Vagabond

More reader comments on hotels:

Lizard"We've always liked the Raleigh. Very gay friendly. Best pool. Direct beach access. One of the first Still one of the best." ... "The Raleigh has a lot more vintage style than say the W, but definitely something on the Deco Strip."

"W Hotel, Thompson and the Edition Hotels - chic and very trendy. Edition & Thompson are the latest - so always a great place to be seen. If you have access, you're going to want to stay at the Soho Beach House. Always a great group of people (mostly the same crowd as NY - which may or may not be appealing to all)."

"On a low budget, I just discovered the James Hotel (not to be confused with the James Royal Palm, above). It's not on the beach but the decor is uber-kitsch. For anyone who wants to stay at a hotel decorated by an outsider artist. Unique but not pimped out and low on amenities."

"Hotel St Augustine a real sleeper. South of 5th away from the crowds. Close to the action."

On a budget?

Travelers on a very limited budget who don't mind the closeness of strangers, might want to check out The Freehand (below). A recent check of their website showed a shared room rate at $67/night.

Freehand1 Freehand2
(instagram, instagram)

Writes one reader: "It's a hostel, but modern with a trendy bar and restaurant scene full of young locals and tourists alike. It's a great place to go if you're a large group - and you'll love the bar, The Broken Shaker, mixing up some of the best tasting mixed drinks in Miami."

And for those wanting something where they're sure to find gay people, there is Hotel Gaythering. Yes, you can stay there, but there's more. It has become a lively watering hole for those looking for a neighborhood cocktail bar and a community experience on South Beach.

Next stop, The Gaythering...

Bunny_gaythering
One of the woodland creatures at the Gaythering Hotel.

Jump ahead to RESTAURANTS | COCKTAILS | HOTELS | NIGHTLIFE | BEACHES | DAY TRIPS | ART | FITNESS

If you have an exciting Miami travel tip to share with us, please email us at travel-at-towleroad.com and we'll check it out and consider adding it to this guide. Help us make it better!


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