Here are the winners of SFGN's "Best of 2016" in Miami Dade County.
Best Bar & Place to Dance
1057 Washington Ave.
"Never a cover - Always a groove" is the mantra of Twist - a gay nightclub that is a staple and a "must go to" for South Beach's vibrant nightlife and winner of this year's Best LGBT Bar and Place to Dance Miami Dade County.
With seven full bars and multiple rooms on two floors, customers can hit the dance floor, video bar, garden bar, bungalow, and enjoy the go-go dancers. DJs work the decks for different vibes throughout the complex, from hip-hop to Latin to EDM. For drinks, every day, Happy Hour is from 1 to 9 p.m. with two-for-one specials on everything, as well as two-for-one call and domestics from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Thursdays. But everyday there is something going on so check their website for more!
Susie from Twist
1057 Washington Ave.
The gays love Susie! We thought our readers would have picked a young ripped stud as their favorite bartender. Nope. We guess a six-pack can’t compare to the down home charm of Susie from Twist.
“Her special relationship with the Beach’s gay community didn’t just happen because of her work venue. Susan is a people person,” her bio reads. “Her genuine interest in people is demonstrated by her friendliness, humor, and a talent of knowing how to listen and when to talk.”
Susie can be found at Twist Fridays through Sundays. And remember, you just won’t get a drink from Susie, you’re likely to get a new friend.
12th St. Beach (Miami-Dade)
1200 Ocean Dr.
Ripped up men in speedos? Check.
Ripped up men rollerblading in speedos? Check.
Ripped up men rollerblading in speedos while speaking Spanish? That’s a check too.
Indeed, as Hank Azaria’s character from the Birdcage put it – it’s all about the “natural heat [insert overly dramatic Spanish Accent here].’ And the good news is that come rain or come shine, 12th Street Beach is packed with men from all walks of life – many of whom happen to be Latin, buff and donning speedos – yet others who, seek simply to blend in. Be careful, though, 12th Street beach isn’t really the place to blend in. If seeking solace is your idea of the perfect LGBT beach outing, you’re likely better off somewhere else, because this place is jumpin!
Did we mention ripped, Latin men wearing speedos and playing volleyball?
Ya...when we said jumpin’ we weren’t kidding and neither were our readers, who overwhelmingly voted 12th. Street Beach the best locale to catch some rays, take a dip in the usually 75-80-degree sea water and, of course, frolic in the sands (with their choice of all kinds of men in Speedos…and not just Latinos – but definitely a lot, that’s for sure).
Beaches, clubs, restaurants, regular gay themed events and even immortalization VIA film -- The Birdcage was shot only a half block away at the Carlyle hotel – making 12th Street beach in Miami an absolutely compulsory destination for the LGBT community as a whole.
It’s no wonder this beach has won SFGN’s Best Of three times.
Burger and Beer Joint
South Beach Location
1766 Bay Road
At Burger and Beer Joint you can put ketchup on your burger. But with condiments like jalapeno relish, spicy garlic mayo, pesto tarragon remoulade and sour cream (literally just a small taste of what’s available), why would you?
But condiments are just the icing on the cake of one of South Florida’s best burger menus, now four-time winner of Best Burger in Miami-Dade.
At Burger and Beer Joint, the burgers make up the bulk of the menu – half pound bulk per most burgers. All – Thunder Road, Buck Nekid, Dear Prudence, Hey Jude, Sympathy for the Devil, Stairway to Heaven and more – named after classic rock tunes.
And customers, on yelp, have a lot to say.
“The quality meat is amazing, the pairing of flavor was out of this world! The Stairway to Heaven, wagyu beef, foie gras and black truffle with garlic aioli along with the duck fat fries will have me in a hurry to come back to Miami again!,” said Annie M.
Customers don’t even need to like beef to enjoy a burger at Burger and Beer Joint.
The Turning Japanese is five ounces of seared rare ahi tuna, avocado, watercress, jalapeno relish, spicy garlic mayo, onion bun and jalapeno-cheddar sauce.
Going one-step further, meatless lovers can try the Dear Prudence, a marinated portobello cap, roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella, arugula, pesto, ciabatta bun, roasted garlic bulb and country ranch.
Best City to Live
With over 80,000 residents packed into a seven-plus square mile area, the city of Miami Beach is not only jammed with people but boasts an equally robust cultural and recreational presence to its visitors and residents alike.
Defined by its trademark ‘20s and ‘30s themed architecture and immortalized as a bonafide LGBT watering hole in films like the Robin Williams/Nathan Lane classic, The Birdcage, Miami Beach is everything it’s “cracked up to be” and then some. It’s a place where being LGBT is to be just another face in the crowd.
On any given day, residents of this beachside haven can be seen soaking in the sun on miles of pristine, world-renowned beaches (complete with pride flags adorning the vintage lifeguard towers), indulge in a meal of nearly any ethnic derivation, and top it all off with a trip to one of the cities innumerable LGBT clubs such as Twist and Score among them.
Miami Beach is also home to the ever-growing Miami Beach Gay Pride event that’s going into its sixth year. In 2015 the event attracted more than 130,000 people and has quickly become one of the largest gay pride events in the state despite being much younger than the others.
Miami-Dade Best Drag Queen
TP Lords knows how to bring the heat – Miami style. Lords, nee Alex Velez, recently spent some time on Facebook live cleaning up her dressing room. It was an entire space dedicated to the awesomeness of her craft – a wall of wigs, rows of shoes and dresses, in a kaleidoscope of colors, for days.
Lords is known for her mastery of makeup and creativity – her transformations are nothing short of amazing. Her chameleon-like looks range from fiery red hotness to pretty in pink and fierce animal print fabulousness to bold gold metallic. This former club kid is now a performing force to be reckoned with. You’ll sit back in awe and laugh until your sides split with TP Lords is on stage.
If she looks familiar, you may recognize TP from the documentary South Beach on Heels. TP is the mother of the House of Lords when she's not performing multiple times a week at places such as The Palace, Azucar and the Manor.
You can follow TP Lords on social media at:
Best Community Outreach
Latinos Salud means Latino health in English, but don’t let the name fool you. Latinos Salud offers HIV prevention, testing and linkage services to gay Latinos, all gay men living with HIV and anyone identifying as transgender. Latinos Salud was founded in 2008 to create a safe space for Latino gay guys and their partners to find friends, support, and resources.
In addition to helping link guys to TasP and PrEP, the agency’s services include life coaching, social events, empowerment discussions and more at its office in Wilton Manors, a South Beach satellite and Kendall.
“Our staff are part of the community that we serve, so they are not reaching ‘out’ so much as reaching across to a peer in ways that we hope are colorful, engaging and memorable,” says Stephen Fallon, Executive Director of Latinos Salud. “Knowing that each conversation can have a positive health impact, our staff engage the community at bars, nightclubs, bathhouses, film festivals, art walks, conferences, and our own tent events and special events.”
This category was a reader’s choice entry.
863 Washington Ave.
Known for pizza and people-watching, Pizza Rustica has several Miami locations, but the one at 863 Washington Ave. is the original of the now global chain. Known for being a late-night lifesaver, Pizza Rustica is open 11:00 a.m. to 6 a.m. The oversized rectangular slices and budget friendly prices have bailed out many South Beach party goers since opening in 1996.
Despite the humble pricing, Pizza Rustica gives back as well through charitable donations to organizations including the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Pridelines Youth Services and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
Besides winning SFGN’s Best Pizza for the last three years, Pizza Rustica made Trip Adviser’s 2015 Hall of Fame as a five-time winner of their Mark of Excellence Award (2011 – 2015). And earlier this year, Zagat counted the restaurants spicy shrimp pizza, a pie topped with spicy smoked chipotle marinated shrimp and melted mozzarella – among their ”9 Chain dishes We Secretly Love in Miami.” (But a personal favorite is the eggplant and goat cheese.)
Best Restaurant / Best Regular Event
The Palace South Beach
1200 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach
This palace is made for queens – drag queens. Palace is best known for its weekend drag shows, delicious drinks and mouthwatering entrees for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Performers come here to slay, not simply put on a show.
Nothing is off limits during these fun-filled, sometimes-raunchy performances. The stage is the entire area outside Ocean Drive, which sometimes includes passing cars and buses. Nothing is off limits and the queens always turn it up.
"The best part about Palace is its drag brunch on Sundays,” says fan Victoria Moll. “Performers like Noelle León and TLo Ivy make it so enjoyable to ignore the stresses of daily life and give you an escape into the artistic and fierce world of drag." There are two Sunday Brunch show times, the first at 11:30 a.m., the second one is at 2 p.m.
Other popular performers include Missy Meyakie LePaige, Daisy Deadpetals, Tiffany Fantasia and T.P. Lords. Whenever you go, you are guaranteed to see a show you won’t forget. The Palace is located at 1200, Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139.
Best Nonprofit and Best LGBT Event
Miami Beach Gay Pride
Beaches. Boys. How could you not love Miami Beach Gay Pride?
Going into its ninth year MBGP has become one of the hottest events around the state. In terms of history the PrideFest is relatively new compared to Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach County. But in terms of numbers the weekend event has quickly outpaced its northern neighbors attracting more than 130,000 people in 2015. And to top it off they’ve attracted big names like Gloria Estefan, Adam Lambert, and Mario Lopez to headline their festival generating a lot of buzz leading up to the event.
“After just seven short years, it’s an honor to have SFGN readers name Miami Beach Gay Pride their favorite event of the year. It takes an army of dedicated volunteers and staff, the support of the City of Miami Beach and the help of all our sponsors to produce a Pride of this magnitude and this honor is shared with all of them. Thanks to everyone who voted,” said Mark Fernandes, Chair, Miami Beach Gay Pride Board of Directors.
Next year’s event is scheduled April 7-9.