The time has come. Check out who won SFGN's Best Of 2022 in Miami-Dade.
Best Business Owner / Activist: Alexander Guerra (Hôtel Gaythering)
Alex Guerra is this year’s Best Business Owner and Best Activist in Miami. He’s won Activist three times and Business Owner twice.
Guerra owns Hôtel Gaythering, which has won Best Hidden Gem and Bar this year.
Guerra is an outspoken member of the LGBT community.
In one of his more public displays of activism Guerra hung a BLM banner in front of his hotel in 2020 to show his support after the murder of George Floyd. Someone complained and code enforcementcode enforcement told him to take it down. The result was a fine from the city, but Guerra remained undeterred. When he opened his ‘straight-friendly’ hotel on South Beach a few years back it came with a front door notice: “If You Are Racist, Sexist, Homophobic or an Asshole, Don’t Come In!”
Guerra, who is also an artist, is also the founder of the annual art show, Art Gaysel, a five-day event that runs during Art Basel, the international art fair that takes place in Miami Beach every year.
Runner-up for Best Business Owner: Rocco Carulli & Owen Bale (R House Wynwood)
Runner-up for Best Activist: Michael Gongora (Miami Beach City Commissioner)
Best Local Politician: Daniella Levine Cava
Daniella Levine Cava is the first ever woman to serve as Miami-Dade County Mayor, winning election to the position in 2020. She was first elected to the county commission as a Democrat in 2014. She has been a catalyst in helping lift families out of poverty and a vocal advocate for affordable housing, better wages and working conditions and environmental safeguards.
An attorney with degrees from Yale and Columbia, Levine Cava raised her profile with calm leadership during last summer’s Surfside Condominium collapse.
When the Florida legislature passed the infamous, ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, Levine Cava spoke in opposition to the new law as a parent of a gay child.
“I stand in solidarity with the young people of Florida, who are learning who they are, how they’d like to live their lives, and where they can go for help,” Levine Cava said. “Our state’s leaders should be creating more resources and assistance for those students who have nowhere else to turn.”
Runner-up: Michael Gongora, former Miami Beach Commissioner
Best Restaurant and Hidden Gem Food: R House Wynwood
2727 NW 2nd Ave Miami 33127
R House Wynwood is on a roll for SFGN’s Best Of: it won Best Restaurant four times, and Best Hidden Gem two times.
“I think we won because we have always worked so hard to create an amazing experience for our guests at R House,” said Rocco Carulli, the owner and executive chef of R House. “At this point our brunch is a Miami institution and now we have shows on Friday and Saturday nights so we continue to add new experiences which keep our guests coming back to R House!”
Their drag brunch is a huge hit with customers. A study done by Nasty Gal highlighted the best drag brunches in the U.S., listing theirs as #6 in 2021.
“We want to thank all our fans and loyal guests for patronizing and supporting us over the years,” Carulli said. “It takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to create a business like R House from scratch and it always means so much to receive recognition as we have with the SFGN awards.”
Looking forward R House has some exciting new developments coming up as well including expanding their entertainment programming and renovations.
“They will make the R House experience even more elegant and funky,” Carulli said.
Runner-up for Best Restaurant: Macchialina
Runner-up for Best Hidden Gem: Nude Pita
Best Neighborhood: South Beach
There is no more iconic destination than South Beach. The home to white sand beaches, scantily clad fun seekers and one of the most well-preserved collections of Art Deco architecture in America, South Beach remains a leading destination for locals and travelers alike. The world is truly at your fingertips in South Beach with world-class dining, entertainment, and fun-filled experiences available all year round. Known for legendary parties along Ocean Drive, late nights at Twist or Hotel Gaythering, South Beach is also an art destination serving as only one of three global host Cities of the famous Art Exhibition, Art Basel. The City comes alive every December as Art lovers descend on South Beach for a week of parties and exhibitions. The world is your oyster in this walkable sun-soaked tropical paradise that has served as an LGBT gayborhood of choice for decades.
Best Burger: Kush Wynwood
N Miami Ave, Miami, FL 33127
Kush By Lokal In Wynwood, Miami | Kush Hospitality
Not only does Kush Wynwood serves beers, but it also serves delicious burgers too, for it has won the Best Burger in Miami-Dade award.
The restaurant says that all food served is sourced from Florida farms and everything is made from scratch. It also believes that “green is good” and strives to be as eco-friendly as possible.
Some of the burgers include Angry Chef (jack cheese, fried onions, jalapeños, cole slaw, tomato, and BBQ) and LOKAL (jack cheese, tomato, red onions, arugula, avocado, and honey mustard).
Runner-up: R House Wynwood
Best Hidden Gem Non-Dining / Bar / Club: Hôtel Gaythering
1409 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach
There’s something magical about Hôtel Gaythering.
The bar/hotel may have only officially won two awards this year – Best Hidden Gem and Best Bar. But that only tells half the story. Their owner Alex Guerra won Best Business Owner, while Blame Forret, a staple at the bar, won 6 awards this year including Best Artist; Drag Performer; Comedian; and Local Entertainer. Her weekly gig Blamie’s Boozy Bingo at the Gaythering won Best Activity for Tourists. Meanwhile the hotel/bar’s bartender Rome Frost won for Best Bartender.
"I owe so much to the Gaythering. Alex Guerra has given me so many opportunities to allow me to grow and become the queen I am today,” Forret said. “The Gaythering is my second home and has created a beautiful LGBTQ community. I cannot thank Alex enough. If he ever needs a kidney, I’ll strongly think about thinking about giving it to him.”
The venue is a combination of a bar, an adults-only hotel, and a men’s sauna. The hotel claims to be the “gayest bar in Miami Beach with the most entertainment.” The bar hosts theme nights such as Karaoke and serves drinks that are 50% off well drinks on Tuesdays. It hosts many events every day of the week. The sauna is free for hotel guests. Non-guests can buy a day pass to enter.
The hotel also has a daily happy hour with 50% off everything from 5-8 p.m.
“Alex Guerra gave me a chance to substitute as a drag queen after seeing one locally viral video I made with Blamie Forret where I looked like a 4-year-old who got into mommy’s makeup,” Frost said. “Since then I have substituted in drag to host Pictionary, Bingo and Trivia Night which is an experience I could never have imagined.”
Runner-up for Best Hidden Gem: Blamie's Trivia / Pictionary / Bingo (Tobacco Road & Hotel Gaythering)
Runner-up for Best Bar: R House Wynwood
Best Bartender: Rome F. (Hôtel Gaythering)
Rome F. has been bartending for about 3 years, but he’s already made enough of an impression to take home the prize of Best Bartender. Or was it because he was trained by one of SFGN’s previous Best Bartenders, Zach Roof?
His signature drink is a Cherry Whiskey Old-Fashioned.
“My favorite part of the job is helping create an atmosphere for a business that is, not only fun, but also supports and builds its community through activism, art social engagement, and sex positivity,” he said.
He credits his success to Roof.
“Zach Roof, as our bar manager, has been the backbone of Gaythering making my job a lot easier,” he said. “As Gaythering’s last best bartender I do owe Zach a lot since he’s the one who hired me on the bar.”
Rome also does drag on occasion at the Gaythering.
“I have substituted in drag to host Pictionary, Bingo and Trivia Night which is an experience I could never have imagined,” he said.
Runner-up: Efrain R.
Best Pizza: Mister 01
Mister 01 is a growing franchise with 8 locations in South Florida.
“The recipe for success was simple: Quality and Consistency. These would be the hallmarks of Chef Renato Viola’s pizzas,” their website reads. “Mister O1 uses only the finest and freshest ingredients and most of them are imported from Italy or locally sourced. The artisanal pizza is a delicate thin crust style with very light dough, which is prepared and rests for a minimum of 72 hours into natural levitation before being served.”
The pizzeria offers the traditional array of pizzas but what really sets them apart are their star shaped pizza. You have to experience it – at least once! They’re grown up artisanal takes on a classic stuffed crust pizza. But better. Much better.
“One of the best pizza places in the universe. Affordable price. Excellent quality. Extraordinary ambience and service,” commented on Yelp reviewer. While another said “Super delicious ultra-thin crust pizza. The crust is just amazing, very very thin yet crisp and not soggy. The pizza sauce tasted like it was made with fresh tomatoes and wasn't salty at all. It had a good amount of veggie toppings and the right amount of cheese.”
Runner-up: Master's Pizza Pasta & Grill
Best PreP Clinic in Broward / Miami-Dade / Best Non-Profit in Miami-Dade: Latinos Salud
1401 NE 26th Street, Wilton Manors
925 Arthur Godfrey Rd, Suite 200 Miami Beach
2760 SW 97th Ave, Suite 103 Miami
640 NE 124th Street North Miami
PrEP is one of the most powerful tools in the fight against HIV/AIDS. For the second year in a row, SFGN readers named Latinos Salud the Best PrEP Clinic in Broward County.
“Our Wellness Clinic opened just two years ago,” said Stephen Fallon, Latinos Salud’s Executive Director. "We’re so grateful to the SFGN readers for voting us Best PrEP Clinic two years in a row!”
It also won Best PrEP Clinic and Best Non-Profit in Miami. Founded in 2008, Latinos Salud is an inclusive space for Latino gay men and their partners by providing reliable access to health screenings, community events, and links to other resources.
“Getting on PrEP to protect yourself from HIV shouldn’t be an ordeal,” Fallon said. “We make getting on PrEP easy: one short visit, and you leave with a prescription. As our name implies, we publicize our services mainly to the underserved gay Latino community. But everyone is welcome at all four of our South Florida locations.”
But they’re more than just a clinic too.
“There’s always something upcoming, because we’re not just a clinic,” Fallon noted. “Our programs extend outside our doors, too. You can join one of our free Health & Culture activities: movie nights, dance lessons, kayaking adventures, museum tours, concerts and plays, and more!"
Latinos Salud is runner-up for Best HIV Non-Profit and Best Non-Profit in Broward.
Runner-up PrEP Clinic in Broward: AHF
Runner-up for Non-Profit in Miami-Dade: Miami Beach Gay Pride
Runner-up for PrEP Clinic in Miami-Dade: Prevention 305
All courtesy photos.
Read the Best Of 2022 Issue on Issuu.com.