Check out who won SFGN's Best Of 2022 for Broward's people.
Best Drag Performer: Shasta McNastie
This year things got shaken up with Shasta McNastie snatching the crown for Best Drag Performer – her first time winning.
“To be honest I was a little shocked that I had won. I am extremely humbled. I believe strongly in what you put out is what you get back. I try to share love, kindness and happiness not just through my everyday life but also while on the stage,” McNastie said. “I believe that you should always put people up and not tear them down. There are so many talented queens and entertainers in this city and I am humbled and proud to be a part of this community."
She’s currently the reigning Miss Pub on the Drive at large.
Catch Shasta at The Pub where she hosts a variety of “shakedowns” such as Shasta’s Halloween Shakedown, Shasta’s Labor Day Weekend Shakedown, and more. She also hosts a monthly drag brunch at the Pub.
Runner-up: Daisy Deadpetals
Best Bartender (Gal) / Server (Gal): Ali @ Apt 9F
Alli at Apt. 9F serves up a mean cocktail and knows how to charm her customers. That’s probably why she’s won Best Server and Best Bartender.
“She is a tattooed drink-slinging maven. She’s incredibly witty. She knows the drink menu inside and out and she can do them blindfolded,” one huge fan told SFGN. “It might be Nancy and Carol’s restaurant but it’s Alli’s bar.”
Apt. 9F, a cocktail bar in Wilton Manors, describes itself as “an unpretentious place for inventive drinks, a good glass of wine, some delicious nibbles, and most importantly love, laughter, and good juju.”
“I am so thankful to be able to do something I thoroughly enjoy! We've got an amazing team at Apt 9f and the most fabulous clientele which creates the narrative of good times and good vibes. It's a whole experience and I love that I get to be part of it,” Alli said.
Alli has been bartending for more than 10 years and has been working at Apt. 9F since day one when they opened up in 2019. She doesn’t have a signature drink.
“But I love to make a delicious espresso martini and definitely don't mind if you ask me to make you something fun,” she said.
Runner-up Bartender (Gal): Vickie B. @ Boardwalk
Runner-up Server (Gal): Emma @ Tulio's Tacos and Tequila Bar
Best Server (Guy): Charlie D.
Best Bartender (Guy): Brandon at Hunters
It’s official. Brandon H. is now an SFGN Best Of winner.
“My regulars and I have had a little joke about how I was like the Susan Lucci of SFGN because I have been nominated so many times but never won,” Brandon joked.
But just like Lucci, Brandon finally won Best Bartender. He’s been serving up drinks for 20 years and currently works at Hunter’s in Wilton Manors.
The Fort Lauderdale native said he really honed his bartending skills in Boston.
“Big cocktail scene there,” he said. “I have a few signature drinks I like to do but the one people seem to really be drawn to lately are my margaritas.”
And by the way, that cocktail was also nominated for Best Drink this year.
Brandon loves being able to meet people from all walks of life.
“My regulars are the absolute best. So many have gone from bar patrons to good friends. I’m very fortunate and don’t take for granted what my customers do for me,” Brandon said. “I’d like to add also that I couldn’t do what I do without the amazing people I get to work with every day at Hunters. I just feel really lucky.”
Runner-up: Frank @ DrYnk Bar & Lounge
Best Massage Therapist: Carlos Blanco
Carlos Blanco is proud to be a … bear! We’re not sure if that helps his massage techniques but he’s our Best Message Therapist for 2022.
“I’m super friendly. I’m the funniest person I know,” he said. “And I love being a bear!”
But back to the massage. He's been with Cabanas Spa for almost a year and is trained in both Eastern and Western modalities of massage. He specializes in Deep Tissue massage, CBD oil massage, acupressure massage, Tui Na, Gua Sha and Hot modalities (Hot Stone).
He’s 35, an army veteran, and has a self-described “great beard.” SFGN independently verified the beard and it’s true.
“I’m one of the few massage therapists who does Fire Cupping,” he said.
We’re not sure what Fire Cupping is, but we’re sure Blanco is damn good at it.
Blanco is also in school training to be a doctor of Oriental Medicine.
Lastly Blanco wants everyone to know “I’m a huge Pokemon nerd!”
Runner-up: Robert Nocifora at Grand Resort
Best Barista: Chris Barista at Archibalds Village Bakery
Even though Archibalds Village Bakery just opened in 2021 the eatery made a big impression on SFGN readers this year. They were nominated for numerous best of awards with Chris Archibald taking home the prize for Best Barista.
Archibalds describes itself as a new anglo American bakery located a block off Fort Lauderdale beach.
“Archibalds is truly a place you’ll be made to feel right at home and served some amazing coffee and handcrafted specialty drinks,” Archibald said.
The bakery was opened by Chris and Justin Mathys Archibald.
Archibald said he’s made it his “mission that everyone leaves happy and could not be happier that people voted for him in this category.”
Archibald described the bakery as “part coffee shop part bakery” where they “blend their English and American roots to produce freshly baked pastries bread and delicious locally brewed coffee.”
Archibald said it’s his goal to make their customers “feel at home the second you walk in. And that usually starts with a booming greeting in a very very broad English accent from me.”
Runner-up: Bob B. @ Stork’s Bakery
Best Wilton Manors City Commissioner and Local Activist: Chris Caputo
Best Local Celebrity / Artist: Claudia Castillo
2215 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors
For the fourth year in a row, Claudia Castillo has won Best Artist in Broward. She also won Best Local Celebrity. Castillo has been keeping busy this year. For her studio’s five-year anniversaryfive-year anniversary, she painted the parking meters in Wilton Drive rainbow colors.
“I think people appreciate my artwork and the time that I volunteer to this wonderful community because they know it comes from the heart and that I do it with a lot of love,” Castillo said. “The murals; the conversion of the parking meters to art pieces; the manatee sculpture and rainbow bridge show how small details of art can impact a community to create happiness and be icons loved by the local community as well as those that visit Wilton Manors. I am very happy to be a part of that effort.”
She opened her art studio and gallery in 2017.
“I am humbled, honored and thankful to everyone for recognizing us again this year,” she said. “I am so touched with the love this community has shown me as it encourages me every day to continue forward on this path.”
Runner-up for Local Celebrity: Jennifer McClain
Runner-up for Best Artist: Avi Ram
Best Local Straight Ally: Debbie Wasserman Schultz
U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz wins for the third year in a row. Wasserman Schultz represents Congressional District 25 in Washington, D.C., which includes parts of Fort Lauderdale, Cooper City, Dania Beach, Davie, Hallandale Beach, Hollywood, Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Plantation, Southwest Ranches, Sunrise and Weston.
Florida’s first Jewish Congresswoman, Wasserman Schultz won re-election in her redrawn Broward-only district by defeating Republican Clara Spalding, 55% to 45%. Wasserman Schultz was first elected to Congress in 2004 and is a Vice Chair of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus. She led congressional efforts to pass the Equality Act and codify federal protections for same-sex marriage, while speaking out against Gov. Ron DeSantis’ tactics.
“When he isn’t bullying gay children in schools, @GovRonDeSantis is busy raising your taxes,” Wasserman Schultz tweeted.
In addition to her strong allyship for LGBT Floridians, Wasserman Schultz is a breast cancer survivor, University of Florida graduate, wife and mother of three.
Runner-up: Brenda Rentas, Associate Director-Housing Program at SunServe.
Best Doctor: Dr. Noah Lee at Midland
Dr. Noah Lee takes home the award for Best Doctor in this new category.
“Oh, I was surprised I was even nominated. I am humbled and grateful. I think I take care of my patients the way doctors did in the past, speaking on their levels, and listening to them and their concerns,” Lee said. “Thank you for even considering me in this category. Appreciate it and am grateful. We are continuing to strive to support our community in ways that benefit us all.”
Lee has been with Midland since 2006. His certifications include the American Board of Osteopathic Family Physicians; Licensed Family Practitioner; and American Academy of HIV Medicine Certified Specialist.
Runner-up: Dr. Cornelius Scannell (Holy Cross Medical Group)
Best Local TV Personality: Fay What?!
Looks like FayWhat?! took the top spot for Best Local TV Personality this year. She’s best known for her work on It’s Happening Out Television Network where she’s a fierce and sassy co-anchor and host.
“I'm a Latina, lipstick lesbian that loves her community, screams for her community and cries with her community,” she said. “Informing the community on Queer News Tonight is a joy and a privilege. Thank you for allowing me to be me. It’s not easy being a girl in this community. It’s downright hard. Especially for someone that can be very hard on herself for being weird at times. I'm here to represent all the Weird Queer Folks that might be weird but truthfully, their weirdness makes them the fabulous folks they are.”
Make sure you catch Fay on Queer News Tonight and The FayWhat?! show.
“Fay is the heart and soul of everything Happening Out. I’ve had the pleasure of being on cast with her and getting to know her so well over the last few years and she not only is beautiful and very clever on air, but she is one of the most genuine and caring people I’ve ever met in real life too,” Tony Lima, CEO of SunServe said. “She is an advocate for our community, for animals, for women, and truly gives her all to everything she is involved in. I am thrilled that the community nominated and chose her for this meaningful award. I love you, Fay!”
Fay is excited to be wrapping up season two of “The FayWhat?! Show” and preparing for season 3, starting in January.
Runner-up: Brandon Orr (WPLG Local 10)
Best Local Actor / Entertainer: Jennifer McClain
Jennifer McClain is on a roll as the Best Local Actor and Local Entertainer. She won in both of those categories in 2020 and 2021 as well.
“It’s an honor to be chosen as the ‘best’ entertainer and actor, but we have so many amazing performers in our community that are equally deserving of recognition,” McClain said. “Thank you South Florida for supporting all live theater and cabaret. Without the audience we might as well be singing in our showers.”
McClain is keeping busy this year and the next. She and Miss Bouvèé are shooting a new movie in Wilton Manors titled “Big Easy Queens.” They haven’t set a premiere date yet because they want to see which film festivals will pick it up during the 2023 season.
Runner-up for Local Actor: Ronnie Larsen
Runner-up for Entertainer: Matthew Darren
Best Real Estate: Tom Wolf @ RE/MAX
Tom Wolf is a long-time pro and now he’s a Best Of award winner bringing home the top prize for Best Real Estate Agent. He’s been in the business for over two decades.
“During that time, I have worked diligently to help my clients make one of the most important decisions of their lives, and have built both close business and personal relationships with most of my clients,” he said. “The community knows how committed I am in exceeding their expectations in regard to their real estate transactions and winning this award is a testament to the quality, care, and caliber of service I strive to provide.”
Wolf is no stranger to awards for his work.
“My team and I are continually awarded as Top Producer at RE/MAX Experience and recently as of September 2022, we ranked #20 of the Top 100 RE/MAX teams in all of Florida,” he noted.
Even so, he’s still excited to be named a Best Of winner.
“Thank you, to all of you who voted. I am very humbled to be chosen,” he said. “The real estate market is an inflection point. We are no longer in the frenzy of the last two years. Due to interest rate hikes that are softening the demand in the Real Estate Market. If you are interested in the latest real estate market conditions reach out would love the opportunity to answer your questions.”
Runner-up: Jimmy Cunningham @ RE/MAX
Best Chef: Josie Smith-Malave
Bubbles & Pearls
2037 Wilton Dr.
For the third time in SFGN’s Best Of, Josie Smith-Malave has won the Best Chef award.
“I was inspired by the need to diversify the options for food in an already diverse town,” she said back in 2018. “Every gay city I’ve ever known has everything so why not Wilton Manors too? Plus, we have plenty of burger and wing spots.” Bubbles + Pearls is a raw bar focusing on oysters.”
Smith-Malave owns Bubbles & Pearls in Wilton Manors and is known for her appearances on Bravo’s Top Chef series.
Besides being a chef Smith-Malave has also dipped her toes in politics, once running for mayor of Wilton Manors. She also nominated for Best New Activist in 2020.
Runner-up: Tulio @ Tulio's Tacos and Tequila Bar
Best New LGBT Activist: Mario DePedro at Sunserve
Director of Youth Services for SunServe, Mario DePedro, was named the Best New LGBT Activist in Broward.
In his position DePedro creates safe spaces and events for young LGBT people and their families.
DePedro has been with SunServe for five years, and took over the role of director in April. As director he oversees all of the youth programs.
“I am very thankful for being recognized,” he said. “The life coaching, therapy, and group support services we offer at SunServe are critical services in empowering the next generation of LGBTQ leaders. LGBTQ youth have been under attack through measures such as 'Don't Say Gay' and the Florida Board of Medicine's attack on gender-affirming care so now more than ever LGBTQ young people need support and safe spaces to be themselves so that they can have a successful transition to adulthood. It's an honor for me to have the opportunity to oversee this one-of-a-kind program in which LGBTQ youth get access to free mental health care and support.”
Looking forward DePedro said they’re focusing on more in-person services and group activists for youth.
Runner-up: Mario Campos (Youth Services Specialist @ Latinos Salud)
Best Bar / Best Business Owner: Hunter's / Mark Hunters
Wilton Manors; 2232 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors; 954-630-3556; huntersftlauderdale.com
Hunter’s Nightclub in Wilton Manors is a perennial winner in SFGN’s Best Of. For eight years in a row, readers chose Hunter’s the Best Bar in Broward County.
“It is our goal at Hunter’s Nightclubs to assure each and every patron of a thoroughly enjoyable entertainment experience. Our primary objective has always been to get your spirits elevated.”
In addition, for the second consecutive year, Hunter’s own Mark Hunter was chosen this county’s Best Business Owner.
Hunter’s survived the pandemic as well as problems that would have destroyed other pubs or clubs. Much of Hunter’s success is due to a talented and hardworking staff headed by the talented and hardworking Mark Hunter. Under his leadership, Hunter’s remains above all a community-driven business, supporting causes as diverse as the Pride Center, Flockfest and the Pet Project.
“We love what we do, and we take great pride in providing our customers with the very best experience,” said Bruce Howe. “Our team is made up of exceptional DJs, the very best audio–visual technicians, expertly trained bartenders, bar-backs, and security personnel. Our customers deserve the very best.”
Runner-Up – Best Bar - Scandals
Runner-Up – Business Owner – Claudia Castillo @ Claudia Castillo Art Studio
Best Local Trans Advocate: Tiffany Arieagus (Director - Housing Program at SunServe)
This year, Tiffany Arieagus has won the title of Best Trans Advocate in Broward County for her work as Director of Case Management for SunServe’s Housing Program.
Arieagus is a pioneer of South Florida’s drag scene; entertaining her audiences over the decades has brought her great pride and joy. Now, she works as an advocate for her community through SunServe.
"I am truly honored to have been voted best Transgender Advocate by the South Florida Gay News readers for 2022. This recognition is a testament to the hard work we do daily here at SunServe to improve the lives of Transgender People through our no-cost mental health programs, housing case management, substance use disorder care, linkage to healthcare, and so much more,” Arieagus said. “It feels all the more remarkable to celebrate being selected as 2022's Transgender Advocate during Transgender Awareness Month as we lead up to Transgender Day of Remembrance. I accept this honor on behalf of all Trans People, especially Black Transgender Women of Color, who have struggled and, sadly, lost their lives to prejudice and violence. I will continue to fight for the rights of all of our LGBTQ+ siblings."
The Housing Program works to prevent homelessness by providing assistance to those facing eviction or falling behind in rent, as well as assisting the homeless in finding somewhere to go. SunServe is committed to helping those in need, and if their Housing Program is unable to provide financial assistance, Arieagus says they will direct you to a program that can.
Visit SunServe’s website to learn more.
Runner up: Misty Eyez Alicea
Best DJ: Trevor Oldroyd
Trevor Oldroyd may be a new face to the local DJ scene, but he’s already made enough of an impression to take home the prize for Best DJ. Oldroyd has been a professional DJ for about 18 months.
“Rosie’s Bar & Grill gave me my first-ever gig on Independence Day weekend in 2021,” he said. “My style can vary but I am all about House music. I play mostly disco and classic house as well as a lot of Tech House and Underground Techno to keep the energy pumping all night long.”
Oldroyd can be found every Wednesday night at Rosie’s Bar & Grill from 5-10 p.m. Starting next month, you can find him every Tuesday night at Bahama Breeze for the “Give Back Night.” He’s also at Ramrod a few times each month on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to close. You can also listen to his work on an online Radio station, EagleRadio.pro, every night from 7-8 p.m.
“I would like to add that I really appreciate all the love I have been shown from Rosie’s, Ramrod, Eagle Radio, Underground Wilma, and definitely everyone who comes to my gigs to help support my dreams to spread love and positive energy by bringing people together through music,” he said. “I’d like to thank my partner Travis for the countless hours he spends on making this dream a reality. He is my number one supporter.”
Runner-up: Alex Ferbeyre
Best Politician: Val Demings
Representative Val Demings blasted the “Don’t’ Say Gay" law. She supports the Equality Act and has been an unwavering champion for LGBT people.
But she was unable to unseat Marco Rubio in the senate.
Demings says she wants to continue being a voice in the Democratic Party but feels she might be able to make a more significant impact while not serving in elected office.
Whatever is next for her, Demings remains a favorite among viewers because she is a trailblazer who was one of the first women and Black Americans to be a prosecutor during a presidential impeachment.
She also introduced the ‘Science in Blood Donation Act,’ which would end discrimination against potential LGBT blood donors, and called on the FDA to revise its outdated testing guidance.
As the Black daughter of a maid and a janitor that eventually ascended to the police chief, then the House, Demings' story will continue to inspire Floridians for years to come.
Runner-up: Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis
Best Hairstylist: Shane M. @ Ron’s Barbershop
Runner-up: Darren T. @ Dick's Service Station
All courtesy photos.
Read the Best Of 2022 Issue on Issuu.com.