The Lauderdale Bar Scene for the Str8 Gay Man

Hey, I’m a str8 gay guy so I don’t hang out in the chi-chi bars where you’re over the hill at 30 and haven’t spent at least $75 on a fancy sequined T-shirt made in China for a buck. But if you’re coming into town, are on my wavelength, and want some man eye popping candy, here’s the places I’d suggest. (BTW: most of the “real” men from Miami, tired of SoBe’s plastic crowd, come here to play.)

Now, don’t stone me for mentioning the Alibi only because it’s a nice, touristy, eclectic bar with just about every type. It’s also the anchor responsible for making Wilton Manors, once a sleepy little town smack in the middle of Fort Lauderdale, the unofficial gay party town in the U.S. A.

But for real guys you only need walk across the street to Bills Filling station. Now, I remember when the place was in a much smaller locale a few miles away, dingy, seedier and definitely cruisier. And unfortunately, because the Bills franchise was bought by the same crew that runs the Alibi and it’s just across the street from Big A, the new place, a former gay senior citizens restaurant, is frequented by drags, drag entertainers, and daddy-starved twinks mingling in. But there’s still enough butch looking material, particularly on Friday nights, to make it worth the while.

The Village Pub, just down the street, an eclectic kind of a place, though skewed to the young, with a nice dance floor and crowd reminiscent of the NYC bars of the 80’s, is skimming off business from both the Alibi and Bill’s, but no problem. Yea, Alibi owns them too.

In the same shopping center as the Alibi is Boom, which sports a large dance floor with DJ’s partial to retro disco music that makes us over 40 guys reminisce about the days of our youth. On Sunday nights, it has the best tea dance in town, though the Sunday after-the-beach tea dance/pool parties at the Detour bar/motel a few miles from the beach or the Royal Palms gay guesthouse right off the beach are perfect if you’re out for some afternoon delight.

Further down on Wilton Drive is Sidelines, a sports bar which is O.K. though partial to a younger, not overly butch crowd and too many pool playing Patties in front fly jeans for my taste. Sorry, ladies, I don’t go to gay bars to look at women, gay or otherwise. The place is supposed to move out of the ghetto to one of Lauderdale’s main drags, I think a bad move. Gays like the comfort of their neighborhood.

A block or so away is our western bar, Scandals, with its large front bar and nice, roomy dance floor for those of you into two-stepping, and a huge outdoor patio bar where guy guys and bears hang out on Saturday nights (Bill’s bear night is Friday) before they drift over to …

…the fabled Ramrod, supposedly rated the best leather bar in the U.S. right now which says a lot about the leather scene when the best leather bar is in Fort La-de-dah. Frankly, I find the place claustrophobic and a fire hazard on a tight weekend night though things don’t get going until after midnight. But if you still fit into your chaps and harness and don’t want to feel ridiculous wearing them (as you would almost anywhere else) and want to ogle at some of the most masculine bods in town, there’s no place like RR. But just a warning: while some guys are trying to resurrect its once celebrated backroom action in the back patio bar, RR’s penis police patrol regularly. Hey, no bar wants to lose its liquor license, a license to print money, just because you want to get off in the dark.

One final observation as a frequenter of all these sex sewers: while there may be a lot of cockteasy glances, there ain’t a hell of a lot of “your place or mine, man?” cruising (maybe because of the web, you think?), and way too many buddy groups and clingy partners to wedge apart if you see someone who makes you hard. That’s why my Friday or Saturday night routine is to go to Slammers, our sex club, around 10, have my fun, and swing by RR for a night cap around 11:30, nice and relaxed and at least physiologically satisfied, though a lot of guys reverse the order.

Hey, man, whatever works.

Monday: Where to Get Off in Lauderdale

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