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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....

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

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!


‘Diners’ Host Guy Fieri Officiating Chef Art Smith’s 101 Gay Weddings Event In Miami

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 12.40.55 PM

In one of the stranger news items of the week, People reports that Guy Fieri, the host of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, is officiating at the 101 Gay Weddings event at the James Royal Palm in Miami today. Chef Art Smith, who is hosting the event, created a social media contest where the first 101 couples to tweet him with the hashtag #101gayweddings would be entered to get married at the James Royal Palm.

Smith1Winners get to attend a group wedding hosted by Smith (pictured right) and officiated by Fieri with a one-of-a-kind wedding cake from Ace of Cakes star Duff Goldman, known for creating the world’s largest cheesecake and providing the delicious confections in Katy Perry’s lyric video for her song "Birthday." 

The event also features DJ and porn director Chi Chi Larue providing beats at the post-wedding dance party. The wedding event is in lieu of Smith’s annual Big Gay Ice Cream Social, which he’s hosted for the last two years to bring awareness in the push for equality.

 

Out Chef Art Smith to Throw 101 Gay Weddings At Miami Beach Hotel

Smithmiami

With same-sex marriage now legal in Florida, out celebrity chef Art Smith has announced he will be joining forces with the James Royal Palm Hotel in Miami to throw a special wedding officiated by a mystery celebrity on Saturday, February 21st for 101 lucky gay couples, NewTimes Miami reports:

The event, coinciding with the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, where Chef Smith cohosted the Big Gay Ice Cream Social, will feature food by some of Miami's best chefs, a party with a celebrity DJ, and a special cake created by Duff Goldman, star of Food Network's Ace of Cakes. 

The first 101 couples to tweet to @ChefArtSmith using #101GayWeddings will be invited to participate in the free wedding, complete with a celebrity minister to officiate the ceremony. Although the officiant has yet to be announced, it was assured that the person will be a "really big name." 

Each couple will be able to invite two guests to share the big day. Couples do not have to be Florida residents to enter but will have pay for travel to Miami if they're from out of town. 

An afterparty, in lieu of the Big Gay Ice Cream Social, is also being planned, with proceeds benefiting local LBGT charities. More info when that's announced.

Smith married his partner back in 2010 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.


Towleroad Celebrates Miami Beach Gay Pride: PHOTOS

Miamioride

Towleroad was down at Miami Beach Gay Pride yesterday!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to help us celebrate and have their photo taken, and special thanks to Paul Hunter and Ernesto Espejo for helping us man our photo booth (in exchange for an AIDS Lifecycle Ride donation (help him out here).

Check out some of our favorite shots, AFTER THE JUMP....

Also thanks to Miami Beach Gay Pride's Kristin Klein, and Steven Adkins, President and CEO of the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce. In just six years, they've succeeded in building an exciting, world class event.

And follow us on Instagram at TLRD.

Pride1

Continue reading "Towleroad Celebrates Miami Beach Gay Pride: PHOTOS" »


Justin Bieber Arrested for Drag Racing DUI in Miami Beach: VIDEO

Beiber

The egg-throwing pop star's week has come to a head.

The Miami Herald reports: Bieber

After allegedly smoking pot all day, drinking beer and popping anti-depressants, bad-boy pop star Justin Bieber went on a wild pre-dawn drag race in Miami Beach that landed him in jail Thursday morning, police said.

When stopped by police in his Lamborghini, Bieber barraged officers with a string of F-bombs, babbled incoherently, refused to get out of his car and, when he finally stepped out, declined to take his hands out of his pockets, police sources told The Miami Herald.

He was booked at Miami Beach police headquarters on DUI, resisting arrest and drag-racing, a police spokesman said.

Watch CNN's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Justin Bieber Arrested for Drag Racing DUI in Miami Beach: VIDEO" »


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