Mad Hatter Lounge
1532 N Dixie Hwy
Lake Worth, FL 33460
The Mad Hatter Lounge is the last gay bar in Lake Worth. There used to be several and many downtown. No more.
Ron Amodio and Tim Rice bought the bar in December 2012. Since then, it’s gotten a facelift both inside and out. With lighter walls and softer lighting inside and some plants and flags and decor on the outside, there’s an upbeat feeling for regulars and visitors alike.
“We’re definitely a neighborhood bar,” said Friday barkeep Jimmy Zoellner. “I think you’ll find that all four of the remaining bars in Palm Beach County see themselves that way. Some people like us; some like Roosters; some Fort Dix and some Penny’s. Some people visit all of us; others not at all.”
There are nightly specials every week. The current favorite is an $11 beer bust from 4 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Another favorite is New Meat Mondays which features a guest bartender from 6 to 8 p.m. every week.
“The guest brings friends and everyone meets new people,” said Zoellner.
“The most popular beverage is vodka or beer, depending on the crowd,” he said. “And don’t forget karaoke is Sunday from 4 to 8 p.m. with Frank-e-oke.”
-- Donald Cavanaugh
6205 Georgia Ave, West Palm Beach, FL 33405
Nestled among neighboring industrial buildings on a street that gets pretty dark at night, Fort Dix has plenty of light outside welcoming a regular clientele of mostly middle-aged men.
The inside is almost as dark as the outside. With dark walls and dim lighting the bar is nevertheless welcoming to many.
“We’re a friendly neighborhood bar,” said manager Dale Ludwig, answering questions while keeping customers’ glasses full. “We’re also reaching out to the bears and the leather community,” he added. “They need a place to go and we’d like it to be here.”
A quick trip to the bar’s Facebook page shows their invitation to the leather folk with $2.50 well and domestic drinks on Saturdays starting at 10 p.m.
The bar offers daily specials including an early evening cocktail hour. According to Ludwig the most popular beverage is a toss up between Jaegerbombs and Jello shots.
“We attract a number of sports fans,” said Ludwig. “We have pool tournaments and show football games on Monday night.
Fort Dix was opened in 1988 by Daniel Williams and Mark Koslowski who gave the bar its original name, Koslow’s. When Koslowski left the business in 2006, Williams renamed the bar Fort Dix.
-- Donald Cavanaugh
823 Belvedere Rd, West Palm Beach, FL 33405
Established in 1984, Roosters is the longest continually operating gay bar in Palm Beach County. Located on Belvedere Road in West Palm Beach, the bar is less than a quarter of a mile east of I95 so it’s a convenient location for customers from all of Palm Beach County and points north such as Martin and St. Lucie counties.
“We’re mostly a neighborhood bar,” said David Hazen, manager on duty on Friday nights. “We welcome everyone and we often have a good number of women – which is good.
“The local bar isn’t the only way to meet people anymore,” he added. “There’s a lot of new competition for our traditional customer base.”
The bar has daily specials which can be found on their website. The site includes hours of operation and a gallery of photos. More information is available at their Facebook page.
On Sundays at 5 p.m. they have a barbecue on the back patio and at 11 p.m., Jared Scott does karaoke.
According to Hazen the most popular daily specials are the $3.00 Long Islands on Saturday while the overall most popular beverage is the apple martini. “We sell a lot of them,” he confirmed.
-- Donald Cavanaugh
Palm Beach Count
For four years, Charlie Fredrickson and a few friends have organized monthly Sunday movable mixers at a variety of venues such as the Chesterfield in Palm Beach and the Players Club in Wellington.
“The purpose for the mixers is good socializing and networking among men and women in the community without smoke or loud music to contend with,” said Fredrickson, noting that women often account for more than a third of the guests.
“It’s a comfortable atmosphere for everyone,” said local acupuncturist Maryann McCarthy who has attended the events. “It’s so nice just to be able to talk with people at a normal volume.”
The mixers usually attract over 50 guests from all parts of gay and straight Palm Beach County. With these numbers, they can often negotiate specials with the venues, from hors d’oeuvres to two-for-one cocktails.
A who’s who of the gay community often attend with people affiliated with Compass, Gay Lake Worth, Integrity of the Palm Beaches, MCC of the Palm Beaches Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, and, the county chapter of Prime Timers to name a few.
Many unaffiliated Palm Beachers also attend and guests often come from Fort Lauderdale as well as Stuart and Port St. Lucie.
- Donald Cavanaugh
Penny’s at the Duke
902 N Dixie Hwy, Lantana, Fl 33462
The Duke opened in 1946 and keeping the name was part of the purchase agreement for Penny Johnson to buy the business. A patron suggested Penny’s at the Duke and it stuck. Then Penny laid down 9000 pennies in urethane to physically lay claim to the name and opened the place in August 2013.
Penny’s is a neighborhood gay bar with a twist. A bunch of straight customers came with the territory and have stayed to become part of the regular crowds.
“They have fit right in with us,” said Johnson. “They sing karaoke (Mindy and Todd) with everyone else on Wednesdays from 7 to 11 p.m. and they stay for the drag shows.”
Penny’s forbids smoking inside. There are two patios where people can take their drinks and smokes and most do without complaint.
“The policy has been well accepted,” said Johnson. “No one likes going home reeking of smoke.”
The bar has lots of specials, which can be viewed online at their Facebook page. The current favorite beverage is cinnamon whiskey called fireball.
And whether you’re female or male, you’re welcome to be one of “The Ladies Who Brunch” on first Sundays at noon.
-- Donald Cavanaugh