South Florida Gay News - South Florida Gay News

  • ArtsUnited’s “We Do, Too” Photography Show Portrays LGBT Couples

    A show displayed at Gallery 6, Broward County Main Library from June 3 to June 30, 2014, will feature 30 images of LGBT couples who left Florida to get married because they cannot in the Sunshine State.

  • Best of 2013: Broward

    Best Business Group (TIE)

    Gay & Lesbian Business Exchange (GLBX) & Mack Multimedia

    GLBX
    512 NE 3rd Avenue Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
    954-462-6000 ext. 8789
    FTLchamber.com

    It’s the second consecutive win for GLBX. The group originated as the Gay and Lesbian Business Exchange and formally became a council of the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce in 2010. The mission of the GLBX is to promote business and economic opportunities for the LGBT and LGBT-friendly community. “As the fastest growing Council of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, we stand committed to growing businesses and supporting the community and our LGBT allies. We believe in the growth of the Fort Lauderdale business community that supports LGBT business and equality. Look for bigger and more robust programming for 2014!” Chad Thilborger GLBX Board Chair. To join the GLBX and the Greater Ft. Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce call Rene Cantu Business Development Executive 954-462-6000 ext. 8789. This year, GLBX shares this honor with MACK Multimedia. MACK co-founder Dan Oropesa says it’s an honor to be recognized with GLBX. “It’s humbling for both DJ and myself. We don’t take it for granted being popular and hope that we make the most – and that our members GET the most - out of our events each month.”

    – DR

    Best Brunch & Best Burger

    Rosie’s
    2449 Wilton Drive
    RosiesBarAndGrill.com

    Rosie’s Sunday Brunch is definitely the place you take your friend from out of town.

    This is the place where you can brag about living in South Florida with cool tropical breezes blowing across a lush outside patio. Good looking people, gay and straight, mingling inside at the bar as a DJ mixes music with new arrivals pulling up to the valet parking in freshly washed sports cars. Simply put, if in Wilton Manors, Rosie’s brunch is not to be missed.

    As luck would have it this reporter stumbled across the owner of Rosie’s, John Zieba, during Sunday brunch as the crowds began to gather outside his popular Wilton Drive locale.

    “It’s our fastest growing day,” Zieba said. “We get such a diverse crowd here and everyone is enjoying themselves. I’m really glad we have been able to achieve this.”

    Known for excellent servers who wear T-shirts with funny sayings like, “Watch your facial expressions, I can read Botox,” Rosie’s has a deep menu featuring waffles, pancakes, omelets, wraps, burgers and salads. This reporter opted for the Southern Lovin’ Salad (fried chicken, pecans, bacon bits, cheddar cheese, tomatoes and honey mustard dressing.)  Big enough for two.

    Rosie’s has been a Wilton Manors staple for seven years now.

    – JMD

    Best Burger

    Brunch? Check. Happy Hour? Check. What else could Rosie’s be? With nearly two dozen varieties, they now stand as the Best Burger as voted by SFGN readers.

    Manager John Zieba knows Rosie’s burgers are top-notch. They swept Riverwalk’s Fourth Burger Battle this past May, winning Best Burger and Fan Favorite for their Bacon Bitty Bang Bang Burger – bacon-bourbon jam with roasted tomatoes, kettle-cooked chips, garlic aioli and brie. You can still order the award-winning burger anytime you visit the restaurant.

    The variation of burgers range from healthier garden burgers to cheat-day kinds, like the Georgia Bleu – a burger stuffed with Georgia pecans, crumbled bleu cheese, and fried onions. Or try the Carrie B. Anne – a burger seasoned with Rosie’s Caribbean Jerk seasoning and topped with pepper jack cheese and grilled pineapple mango salsa. No matter your mood or your motive, there is a burger for you at Rosie’s.

    – DZ

    Best Coffee Shop

    Java Boys
    2230 Wilton Dr.
    Wilton Manors
    954-564-8828

    In an age where there’s a Starbucks on almost every corner, the “down home” feel of old fashioned coffee shops is something that has clearly waned with the rise of corporate coffee “dispensaries.”

    While boutique shops, non-franchised restaurants and self owned and operated businesses cater to the myriad of tastes of the Wilton Manors population, even the coffee house scene is far more than just a quick, highly informal stop at Starbucks. Whether a resident, a visitor or a casual passer-by looking for a comfortable place to sit, grab some coffee and have a home-made pastry or sandwich, there’s one place that’s a must: Java Boys.

    More than just a coffee shop, Java Boys has made a name for itself not just for its superb coffee (and tea), but for its warm and inviting atmosphere.

    Baked goods are always fresh and easily trump the pre-made generic pastries of corporate coffee shops. The food is also both tasty and affordable. For $3.25 there’s the Java Boys’ signature “Java Scrambler” – Canadian Bacon on a bagel, croissant or English muffin. For a little more, enjoy a sandwich or a chicken Caesar salad from their handwritten chalkboard menu. And did we mention they also offer free Wi-Fi?

    Hours: 7 a.m.to 11 p.m. (S-R) Fri/Sat: 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.

    – MA 

    Best Dessert

    Stork’s
    2505 Northeast 15th Avenue
    Wilton Manors
    954-473-4460
    Storksbakery.com

    Do you have a sweet tooth? Most of us do and in South Florida, Stork’s is the place to go to satisfy those cravings. The bakery/café in Wilton Manors, named after the bird that delivers babies, has been voted best desserts by readers of the South Florida Gay News.

    “It’s an honor to be recognized by the community,” said Stork’s pastry chef Peter Dekaj.

    Cakes, pies, cookies and mini pastries are all on display the minute one walks in the door. Dekaj is especially proud of his Flawless Chocolate Decadence Cake, a rich homemade dessert that is also gluten-free.

    Stork’s has been around since 1997 and its location at 2505 Northeast 15th Avenue has made the bakery/café a destination for those seeking a quiet afternoon get-together with friends.

    For the holiday season the kitchen crew at Stork’s was busy preparing a wide range of pies from pumpkin, apple crumb and key lime to the house favorite – Storkberry, a mix of five berries.

    Business has been so good, Dekaj said Stork’s will soon open a second location in Oakland Park.

    – JMD

    Best Diner

    Peter Pan
    1216 E Oakland Park Blvd
    Fort Lauderdale
    954-565-7177
    MyPeterPanDiner.com

    After a night of drinking and/or debauchery, finding a place to soak up the liquor and bad decisions isn’t hard if you know where to look. That’s where Peter Pan comes in.

    A Fort Lauderdale legend, SFGN readers know the best diner when they see one: this is the second year in a row Peter Pan Diner has won this category. But if you’re not stumbling in after a night of drinking, you can still show up for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The diner is open 24 hours a day.

    Family-owned and operated since 1979, Peter Pan serves up breakfast favorites like eggs benedict or old fashioned French toast. But simple meals like two fresh eggs with ham, bacon, or sausage can make both your wallet and your belly happy: the meal costs less than $6.

    Enjoy house specialties like Chicken Francaise or Shrimp Santoni. Classic diner favorites like meatloaf, burgers, and house-made baked goods are also available. Whether you’re starting your day or ending it, Peter Pan should be included in it somehow.

    – DZ

    Best Drag Queen in Broward County

    Misty Eyez

    Our beloved drag queen we flock to at Bill’s Filling Station, Lips and Boardwalk may never have been. Always involved in theater, she was known for her makeup and hair skills. Her friend finally convinced her to dress in drag one Halloween, and from then she was hooked.

    “I couldn't believe how pretty I was!” she laughed.

    Now, she performs almost every night and she competed on RuPaul’s Drag Stars at Sea in December. But what we love about her most is her big heart -- growing up with a minister as a father, her love of donating her time to charity and giving back to the community makes us swoon, whether it be for cancer or AIDS.

    “Anytime somebody needs help, I’m there to help and I’m there to lend a hand if I can,” she said.

    – CL

    Best Drag Show

    Lips
    1421 E. Oakland Park Blvd.
    Oakland Park, FL
    954-567-0987
    LipsFlorida.com

    Lips serves up the best in drag and some pretty darn good food, too. The ultimate destination for drag dining for nearly a decade, Lips is popular with both South Florida’s gay and straight communities, hosting everything from birthday to bachelorette parties. On Tuesdays, Lady LaRouge hosts the Dragalicious Game Show and trust us, she’s no Bob Barker, but the price IS right! The mean and bitter Misty Eyez hosts Bitchy Bingo on Wednesdays and Thursdays, patrons get to dine with Cher, Madonna, Dianna Ross, Bette Midler and more. Friday and Saturday nights are among the most popular, and you can expect plenty of big hair, the highest heels and lots of duct tape—that’s how they make the magic happen, but don’t let that secret out. And, of course, on Sundays, Lips is packed for the Drag Gospel Brunch. Hostess Nicolette and her girls promise to have you screaming, “Sweet Jesus!” before the show is over. Now, that’s the way to find a little religion.

    – JWA

    Best Neighborhood Bar, Best Place to Pick up a Guy, Best Happy Hour

    Village PubVillage Pub
    2283 Wilton Drive
    Wilton Manors, FL 33305
    754-200-5244
    VillagePubWM.com

     

    AlibiAlibi (tied for best happy hour)
    2266 Wilton Dr.
    Wilton Manors, FL 33305
    954-565-2526
    AlibiWiltonManors.com

    For the 2012 SFGN Best Of’s, the Village Pub won all three of these categories just weeks after opening their doors. A year later, the votes are in: people still love the pub.

    “It’s a nice, friendly atmosphere,” Owner Jim Kessinger said about the pub. “There’s a comradery that customers have with bartenders and other customers.”

    The Village Pub opened up in October 2012 and doesn’t serve any food, although they offer menus from local restaurants like New York Grilled Cheese Company and Humpy’s Pizza for guests who want a bite. Restaurants will deliver orders straight to the pub.

    While the foodless bar offers drink specials every night of the week, Kessinger said end-of-the-month “menergy” events – where 150-200 guys show up to mingle – is a great time to meet a guy. Stop by; it’s always the last Sunday of every month.

    This year, Village Pub got some competition in the Best Happy Hour category when they tied with the iconic Wilton Manors bar Alibi. Kessinger agrees their happy hour is great, but probably because he used to work there.

    “My brother [Georgie] started Alibi many years ago,” he said. “I eventually wanted to go into business by myself. We had our own ideas and this is what we came up with and it’s worked well so far.”

    Indeed it has, Jim. We’ll drink to that.

    – DZ

    Best Live Theater

    The Broward Center for the Performing Arts
    201 SW 5th Ave.
    Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
    954-462-0222
    BrowardCenter.org

    With more than 700 theater productions, concerts, dance and other performances all year round, attended by more than 700,000 people, the Broward Center for the Performing Arts is undoubtedly the premiere arts venue in South Florida. The center’s Broadway Across America series brings the hottest shows from the Great White Way, including The Book of Mormon and Wicked, to the region, but also hosts local performing arts organizations, including the Symphony of the Americas, South Florida Symphony, Miami City Ballet, Arts Ballet Theatre of South Florida and Florida Grand Opera, as well as the annual Pride Series, performances geared to Broward County’s sizeable gay theater audience.

    The center is in the last phase of a two year, $44 million dollar renovation and expansion project, the Encore! Campaign, that has seen the center’s technical infrastructure upgraded, new lounges and educational facilities and a new riverfront pavilion that is currently under construction and will offer dining and event spaces. Truly, the Broward Center is a place that inspires both on stage and off.

    – JWA

    Best Non-Profit

    The Pride Center
    2040 N. Dixie Hwy.
    Wilton Manors, FL 33304
    954-463-9005
    PrideCenterFlorida.org

    The community may take to the streets in Wilton Manors and Fort Lauderdale to celebrate Pride twice a year, but every day is a virtual pride celebration at The Pride Center. The mission of The Pride Center at Equality Park, a six-acre campus just off Dixie Highway in Wilton Manors, is self-explanatory: We provide a welcoming, safe space — an inclusive home that celebrates, nurtures and empowers the LGBTQ communities and our friends and neighbors in South Florida. For more than 19 years, The Pride Center, with a professional staff of 20, fulfills this mission with a variety of important programs for the community, including HIV/AIDS testing and education, support for seniors, women and youth, and educational, spirituality and well-being programs. The center hosts 60 groups each month for networking, senior exercise classes, square dancing, adult education classes and more. The LGBTQ community is extremely diverse, the staff will tell you, but The Pride Center strives to serve as a place to bridge those differences and strengthen the community.

    Best Place to Pick up Girls

    New Moon
    2440 Wilton Drive
    Wilton Manors
    954-563-7660
    NewMoonBar.com 

    “All the single ladies, now put your hands up!” New Moon does it yet again, winning “Best Place to Pick Up a Girl” in SFGN’s survey for the second year. It’s no surprise. Carol Moran supplies a great party atmosphere in a clean, cozy space with indoor and outdoor bars, and friendly staff. Happy Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesdays from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m., and Saturdays from noon to 6 p.m. Sundays are “Fun Days” with $12 domestic, and $20 import beer buckets. Impress her by singing her a song during karaoke on Thursday nights, or jam to the hottest tracks with the DJ on Friday nights. Saturdays are always something, from live bands to DJs, check their web site for their weekly event schedules. There’s something for all the ladies in town.

    ­– DJ

    Best Place to Shop in Broward County

    The Outlet
    2031 Wilton Drive in Wilton Manors
    954-396-3383

    A winner for the third year in a row, Jon Anthony’s men’s contemporary clothing store is a hit with shoppers looking for great fashions at low prices. This includes popular brands True Republic, Buchelli and Bespoke flying off the shelves.

    “We really try to extend value,” Anthony said.

    With people less consumed with brand names due to the economy, Anthony shifted his business when he opened the store six years ago to a place where the fashionable could good quality clothes at great prices. Set up like a mini department store, guests can purchase an entire outfit, from the sunglasses down to the shoes.

    In August Anthony opened up Town Clothiers down the street as a sort of satellite shop. 

    The Outlet is open every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

    – CL

    Best Gay Social Event in Broward County

    Wicked Manors

    Revelers have taken to Wilton Drive every year for Halloween since 2007 in one form or another, and according to our readers, it’s the event of the year.

    “Halloween is a gay holiday,” said Robert Boo, Pride Center CEO. “It looked like it was 50 percent gay and 50 percent straight allies and there were a lot of families. I truly enjoyed seeing that it was a community-wide event.”

    The center partnered with the city of Wilton Manors to throw the bash, drawing 18,000 people attending this year onto the closed off streets. Earlier in the evenings, kids participated in a costume contest and went from business to business trick or treating. Then, DJs took to the official event stage -- as well as those set up by bars -- to get the crowd moving all night long. Drag queens roamed the streets, costumed ghouls and hotties participated in contests, and drinks were a’ flowing.

    Since Halloween landed on a Thursday, Wicked Manors had to end early on the drive due to weekday noise ordinances. However, the next two years the holiday is on a Friday and a Saturday – party time!

    Best Social Network for Women

    Women in Network
    954-463-9005 x641

    Women in Network has been around since 1987 providing a professional, social, educational and philanthropic outlet for the LBT women of South Florida. WIN is provides professional and business networking opportunities, social and recreational events, advocacy efforts, health and educational programs, and philanthropic and scholarship support.

    According to WIN President Denise Spivak, “We’re honored any time that we’re recognized for providing a service to our community. It means that the work that we do, the programs that we provide and the effort put forth by a very dedicated Board of Directors is important to our community in South Florida, that we’re making a difference and we can’t ask for a better honor than that!”

    – DR

    Best Spiritual Center

    Sunshine Cathedral
    1480 SW Ninth Ave. in Fort Lauderdale
    954-462-2004
    SunshineCathedral.org

    Founded 41 years ago as a part of the global LGBT spiritual movement, today this church located off of Davie Boulevard is now a welcome refuge for Jews, Christians, and even atheists of every sexual orientation.

    “We recognize the innate, sacred being of every person,” the Rev. Durrell Watkins said.

    Watkins and his partner run services every Sunday, drawing up to 1,000 people a week during the holidays. What really sets this church apart is working beyond just Sunday to reach out to the community. With a focus on the arts, the campus is often a venue for cabaret concerts, drag shows, films, and picnics. Plus, with SunServe right next door, LGBT people young and old have a place to attend educational and supportive programming.

    Sunday services 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

    Best TakeOut

    Chopstix
    2603 N Dixie Hwy (5-Points)
    Wilton Manors
    954-563-9902/954-563-9903

    Only open for a little over two years, Chopstix wins your vote again for the second year in a row for the best take-out food. Open seven days a week, many described this place as very clean and inexpensive. Monday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., you can order from over 30 lunch items at only $5.95. You get a can of soda and either white or fried rice with your order. It’s a large enough portion to get you through the afternoon. My personal favorites include the sesame chicken lunch, awesome pan-fried dumplings, and the teriyaki beef appetizer. Most items on the menu are around $8-10, “dinner platter combinations” with egg roll and pork fried rice go for only $8, and house specialty dishes run at around $14. They even will do party trays for that emergency party need! Just order ahead for quick and easy pickup.

    – DJ

    Best Tea Dance

    Boom (Soon to be Hunter’s)
    2232 Wilton Dr.
    Wilton Manors, FL 33305
    Shoppes of Wilton Manors
    954-630-3556

    More than just a club or bar, Boom – which has been sold and becomes Hunter’s as of Dec. 23 – is a staple, by all accounts, of Wilton Manors nightlife.

    The bar hosts special events, themed parties nearly everyday of the week, and sports a crowd that’s mixed in age. There’s two levels of partying, three bars and a separate video bar.

    Bottom line: Boom/Hunter’s is almost always packed — from twinks to average Joe’s to bears in leather, there’s hardly anything one won’t find at Boom on any given evening.

    But it’s their Sunday festivities that really make this place stand out from the rest of the crowd. Hosting around 250 people at any given time, Sunday night’s “Jackhammer Tea Dance” is one of the most popular weekly parties, featuring retro and retro revived disco music and runs from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.

    Happy hours are from 4-9 p.m. seven days a week. Hours are Monday through Friday 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday’s 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Sundays noon to 2 a.m.

    THREE TIME WINNERS

    Best Bathhouse

    Club Fort Lauderdale
    110 NW 5th Ave.
    Fort Lauderdale
    954-525-3344
    TheClubs.com

    For the third year in a row, Club Fort Lauderdale has won for the best bathhouse, but manager David McKeel says we shouldn’t call the Club a bathhouse but rather an American Sauna with the look and feel of an upscale resort, offering “high class sleaze.”

    The Club features a beautiful designed Mediterranean-style pool / whirlpool area and state of the art gym, as well as a sauna, an arcade room, a steam room maze, and three private fetish theme rooms. A gym workout can pump up the muscles for maximum display prior to hitting the halls or the steam room. For guys needing a break from the action, the Club offers a chill lounge with regular television programming.

    The Club plans a major renovation next year, going even more upscale with LED lighting throughout the Club, black granite bath rooms, and redesigned saunas/steam room. Some construction will begin in January but major construction will only begin after the tourist season ends. The Club will remain open during construction, which promises to be very interesting, particularly for those of us with fantasies about construction worker.

    Best Beach

    Sebastian Beach
    Corner of A1A and Sebastian St.
    Fort Lauderdale Beach

    Just about any day of the year, you can drive along A1A on Fort Lauderdale and get an eyeful of bikini- and board short-clad visitors sunbathing, frolicking in the ocean surf or strolling the sidewalk. But, when you arrive at Sebastian Beach, make no mistake, that’s “where the boys are,” to borrow a phrase from the classic spring break movie that was filmed right here in Fort Lauderdale. Even during the low season when the rest of the beach is practically deserted, you’re likely to see plenty of bronzed men in Speedos socializing and swimming the afternoons away.

    The perennial runner-up is again Haulover Beach, located in Sunny Isles in Miami-Dade County, just a short drive south. The park is especially popular for its largely gay, clothing optional section at the north end of the beach. Little is left to the imagination, but be sure to pack some sunglasses because the sun can be bright, especially when reflecting on the plethora of body piercings. Oh, and you might want to bring a little sunscreen, too.

    Best City to Live

    Wilton Manors
    WiltonManors.com

    Welcome to the Gayborhood! Yes, the Island City, incorporated in 1947, is again among the gayest places in America, attracting one of the highest concentrations per capita of LGBT singles and families, according to recent data. Take a drive along Wilton Drive, the city’s Arts and Entertainment District, and you’ll see a vibrant community: rainbow flags flying everywhere, same sex couples strolling hand-in-hand, bars and restaurants teeming with residents and visitors alike. Especially over the past couple of years, the Drive has seen a renaissance with new restaurants and clubs and more set to open in coming weeks. But, beyond the nightlife, Wilton Manors offers a livable city, with well kept parks and an active parks and recreation department, responsive civic leaders, engaged civic groups like the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs, churches, and home to the Pride Center and charitable organizations including Poverello, Kids in Distress, Latinos Salud, AIDS Healthcare Foundation and Broward House.

    Best Guest House

    The Royal Palms Resort & Spa
    717 Breakers Avenue
    Fort Lauderdale
    954-564-6444
    RoyalPalms.com           

    The Royal Palms has won the vote for the best guest house in every year for the last three years. Manager Philip LaFond attributes this success to its ethic of customer satisfaction, with staff going out of their way to make people feel like family and to create “love and happiness.”

    For visitors, the rooms are stunning. Splashes of bright colors stand out from the black and white minimalist rooms. Denis Dean’s artwork hangs on the walls. All events and rooms are open to women as well as to men.

    In addition to its great qualities as a guest house, the Royal Palms has much to offer local residents: a gym, WI-FI, a full liquor bar, two heated pools, and a restaurant. Every Sunday afternoon, the Royal Palms holds a tea dance. It has also hosted special events such as glow parties and an erotic art show. Locals pay no cover charge for all of this. The Royal Palms is not just a guest house; it’s for local residents too.

    Best Gym (tie)

    Steel Gym
    2270 Wilton Drive
    954-318-3900
    SteelGym.com

    Tucked away off Wilton Drive in a shopping center known for its nightlife is where you’ll find Steel Gym, voted best gym by readers of the South Florida Gay News.

    Dubbed the only, “real gym” in Fort Lauderdale, Steel Gym does have real people working out and exercising all day. According to trainer Wolf Carver, 60 to 70 people come to the gym daily, many who are enrolled in the “Silver Sneakers” program. The program is designed to help seniors with basic cardio and flexibility exercises in a classroom setting.

    For those wanting to go it alone, Steel Gym offers free weights, machines and a dry sauna. A variety of Yoga classes are also offered and once your workout is complete, a protein packed smoothie bar awaits for those seeking to add weight and body mass.

    The Wilton Manors Steel Gym is one of just three in the nation with the others being in New York and Miami.

    Steel Gym is open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends.

    – JMD

    Best Movie Theater

    Classic Gateway Theatre
    1820 Sunrise Blvd.
    Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
    954-763-7994
    TheGatewayTheatre.com

    The golden age of the silver screen lives on at Fort Lauderdale’s Classic Gateway Theatre. For more than 60 years, the cinema has offered Hollywood blockbusters, along with indie classics and LGBT features. It was here that Fort Lauderdale first captured the imagination of a generation of young co-eds with the glitzy world premiere of Where the Boys Are, starring Connie Francis. Hollywood producer Arthur Friedman took over operation of the Gateway two years ago and has been working diligently to restore the movie house to its former glory, showcasing classic movie posters in the lobby and launching a wildly successful classic film festival held each year in August and September. The Gateway also is the home to the growing Fort Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

    “Through the years, watching thousands of movies, I have learned that the movie theater experience cannot be duplicated on television, video or any other new technology," Friedman explained.  “There’s something about being in a theater with an audience, watching a great movie, that is unique and spellbinding.”

    Best Nightclub

    The Manor
    2345 Wilton Drive
    Wilton Manors
    954-626-0082
    TheManorComplex.com

    Jason Tamanini says he runs the largest nightclub in the State of Florida. And who’s to argue.

    On a recent Saturday night visit to The Manor, hundreds of people filled the multilevel complex, dancing to electronic music, catching up with friends over drinks at one of the many bars or just sitting back and looking at all the gorgeous people stroll by. The Manor, Tamanini says, is very popular with tourists who come from all over the world just to experience a night inside the stately club.

    This is the third consecutive year readers of the South Florida Gay News have voted The Manor best nightclub. With five different rooms and theme nights to appeal to every taste, it’s easy to see why The Manor has such a loyal following.

    “We’re bringing international flair to Florida,” said Tamanini.

    The main dance room certainly lives up to the club’s name with chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, large framed paintings on the walls and pretty faces behind the bar. It all creates an atmosphere of sophistication and, above all, fun. Valet service is also available.

    – JMD

    Best Pizza

    Humpys Pizza
    2244 Wilton Drive
    Wilton Manors, FL 33305
    954-566-2722
    HumpysPizza.com

    No other business in any other category got as many votes as Humpys Pizza did in this one. If there is one thing SFGN readers know, it’s how much they really like pizza.

    Maybe it’s the BBQ chicken you love. Maybe it’s the Margherita or BLT slices you drool over. Maybe it’s the house-made cupcakes, baked fresh daily, that you indulge in after your slice. Maybe it’s all of this and more that makes Humpys the best pizza in town.

    “We strive for good food and good customer service in a friendly, fun atmosphere,” said Steve Dejong, owner of Humpys. “We are pretty involved in the community and try to support different groups and organizations,” he said. “Even though we are a small business, we try to be as involved as we can.”

    This is the third year in a row they have won in this category, and how could they not? With a dozen different pizza options served up daily, along with salads, heroes, and house-made cupcakes, you’d be hard-pressed to leave hungry.

    With this high-quality level of convenience, friendly staff and amazing pizza, this 3-year winning streak sounds like only the beginning.

    – DZ

    Best Restaurant & Best Restaurant to Bring a Date

    J. Marks, Ft. Lauderdale

    A repeat winner in numerous years, this subtle, elegant and shape shifting local restaurant fuses innumerable contemporary yet complicated dishes with earthy décor and an heir of panache that somehow manages to lack in pretention and still maintain its affordability.

    Putting it simply: We think it’s great.

    But to be even more blunt: J. Mark’s of Ft. Lauderdale is a legend in the making! Our voters agree, and with continuing dedication to gastronomic excellence, an indelibly impressionable ambiance, and an atmosphere accommodating of any occasion, J. Mark’s is the winner of SFGN’s "Best Restaurant" and "Best Restaurant To Take a Date" categories.

    Never mind that J. Marks is under proud gay ownership and has its fair supply of gay and lesbian wait staff.

    "We like to support the community," Manager Michael Hobbs said.  "We have a little bit of something for everyone: we strive for excellent service, have a wide variety on our menu, and have a friendly environment."

    It also boasts not one, but two, daily happy hours (2 to 6 and 9 to close) to keep everyone loose.

    Ultimately, though, it comes down to one thing – the food.

    Start off with uniquely spun traditional appetizers like Parmesan spinach dip with artichoke hearts, or grilled, Jamaican style chicken wings, and choose what best suits you.  

    From the signature J.Mark's Tender Salad to a 12 ounce aged prime rib steak to crab cakes and loads of specialty burgers, chicken or pasta dishes – they have it all. Your biggest problem will likely be choosing what to eat, especially because every dish has some kind of special twist.

    Even the interior is striking: subtle warm white lighting flanked by contemporary rectangular, satin-like overlays hang from the ceilings while silhouettes form around each oak planked interior booth. Dark red and brown paints accented by dark rock inspired brick inlays cover the higher walls and in all, J.Marks maintains an ambiance of class suitable for any occasion without bordering on "stuffy."  Booth lighting is just enough to ensure the eyes of your date sparkle with just enough spotlighting to help them shine with radiance.   

    SFGN's Bottom Line: 

    J. Marks wows in an all-encompassing manner. From food to atmosphere, take a step in and we’re certain you’ll be hooked! As a dining experience it immediately nudges itself in to the category of an artistically nuanced experience in and of itself.  From refined, earthy decor to snap-of-the-finger service by waiters and waitresses in button down white dress shirts, J.Mark's ensures comfort on all levels. And, again, the FOOD!  

    Opulent and exotic yet created for you on an almost individual silver platter, it's cuisine that far transcends simple yet will satisfy even the most picky of diners based on variety.

    We couldn’t recommend it more…nor could our readers!

    – MA

    Best Social Network (Broward)

    Mack Multi Media
    954.779.6197
    MackPlanet.com

    MACK is a business networking group aimed at connecting gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and gay friendly professionals designed to provide an easy way for our members to network with each other. With sold-out lunch events and fun - yet professional, cocktail socials in Fort Lauderdale and the Boca Raton/Delray Beach area, there’s no doubt MACK continues to redesign how business people create new relationships and establish friendships - regardless of sexuality. MACK won this honor last year as well. “MACK has been consistent with our following, our quality of venues, and fun atmosphere for almost 9 years.  We look forward to reaching out 10-year milestone soon!” Dan Oropesa, Co-Founder, Mack Multimedia.

    – DR

  • Gay Candidates Face Off in Broward Primary

    There will be a primary election in Broward County.

  • Two Republican Officials Attacked For Participating In Pride Parade

    From our media partner Sun Sentinel: Two of Broward’s top Republicans are being attacked by a faction of their own party for participating in this past weekend’s gay pride parade in Wilton Manors.

  • What is the South Florida AIDS Network?

    Joey Wynn, Chair of the South Florida AIDS Network (SFAN) considers the most important issue facing HIV service providers in the coming year to be the integration of HIV services with the Affordable Care Act. As people enroll in the new health care exchanges of the Affordable Care Act, these new plans will have to develop working relationships with HIV service providers. People will have develop ways for HIV services to “accommodate those folks” and figure out ways to “get the word out, so we can make this the easiest transition possible,” according to Joey Wynn. This accommodation and communication will depend on the community input processes. In order to understand how this community can benefit from community planning, it helps to understand the structure of the Ryan White Care Program.

    It’s convenient but inaccurate to think about Ryan White Care as if it were one program. It has seven parts:

    1. Comprehensive care services for Eligible Medical Areas (EMAS), such as Broward County
    2. Essential services, including ADAP, for states
    3. Early intervention, counseling, and testing
    4. Programs for youth, women and children with HIV infection
    5. Dental Reimbursement Program
    6. Education and training for health care providers
    7. Research and demonstration projects. Two other programs have significance for HIV services: Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA), and AIDS Insurance Continuation Project (AICP). HOPWA provides temporary housing assistance to low income people with HIV infection. AICP pays insurance premiums for low-income people with health insurance and HIV.

    Planning councils and community input lie at the heart of Ryan White Care, locally and at the state level. The Florida Community Planning Network (FCPN) forms the planning and community input body at the state level. In Broward two groups constitute the local planning and community input process: The South Florida AIDS Network (SFAN) and the Broward HIV Planning Council. SFAN functions as the planning/community input body for essential services, such as ADAP, administered by the state; the Broward HIV Planning Council functions as the planning/community input body for comprehensive care services for Eligible Medical Areas (EMAS), such as Broward County. SFAN and the HIV Planning Council have joint working committees to plan, set priorities, manage client-related issues, and monitor funding issues. All meetings are open to the public.

    Changes in the epidemic also drive changes in HIV services. By law, the Ryan White Care Program has to focus its activities on treatment. In recent years, however, the lines between treatment and prevention have begun to blur. Effective treatments for people with HIV infection tends to make them less likely to infect others, resulting in lower rates of new HIV infections. Joey Wynn described this as another challenge in SFAN, “Trying to get other programs from the local Department of Health (especially HIV Prevention) to be involved, keep us informed, and attend the meetings to get a first-hand view of what the community is experiencing in their challenges and concerns. “

    While the Affordable Care Act holds out great hope for improving the lives of people living with HIV, it presents opportunities and challenges. Fortunately, an input process exists that makes participation and communication easier. Joey Wynn described SFAN as “an open process, we keep people informed about what is going on in the service delivery of HIV for folks, and a great place to come learn about and discuss the issues facing the HIV community in Broward County.”

  • ‘We Do, Too’ Marriage Exhibit Kicks Off at Broward Library

    ArtsUnited’s “We Do, Too” gay marriage exhibition went mainstream last week with its display at the Broward Library — the first time its been shown outside of the LGBT community.