Wilton Manors is a gay oasis in the southern Florida city of Fort Lauderdale, full of gay stores, delicious restaurants, gay resorts, and of course, gay bars! Though Florida is one of the most politically backward states with hateful bills towards gay, trans, and queer folks, it’s reassuring to know that spaces in Florida for queer people do exist.
Walking down the small strip of queer-owned businesses you can feel the energy of a place by gay people for gay people – rainbow flags and queer murals are everywhere, and PDA is common. No need to hide here – this is a real gayborhood.
I recently visited Wilton Manors after my incredible first gay cruise to extend my “gaycation” even longer. What I found were awesome people, good vibes, and some truly poppin’ places to dance and drink.
There are as many kinds of gay bars in Wilton Manors as there are kinds of gay people. You can find great spots to dance, get in a little trouble, have a drink and a meal, or have a fancy cocktail. So without further ado, here are the best Wilton Manors gay bars!
Georgie’s Alibi Monkey Bar
Georgie’s Alibi Monkey Bar is in the “longest-running and most successful gay restaurants, bars, and nightclubs”, opening in 1997 after Demi Moore’s 1996 film Striptease was shot in the area.
What was a run-down neighborhood quickly became one of the country’s premier gayborhoods, thanks in part to Georgie’s Alibi Monkey Bar paving the way for gay business owners.
Today, Alibi still has that cool, easy, local watering-hole feel, with a relaxed bar and restaurant inside and a spacious outdoor patio. Thursdays they have their Legendary LIT Night with cheap, 32oz Long Island Iced Teas (be sure to pace yourself), as well as 2-4-1 drinks on Fridays and Saturdays with plenty of live entertainment. This is a great place to acquaint yourself with the history of Wilton Manors!
Hunters is the thumping, crowded, disco-esque gay club associated with the “classic” gay scene. In true Floridian fashion, it’s located in a strip mall (which to be fair, is comprised of almost all gay-owned businesses), but what it lacks in outdoor aesthetics it makes up for in space.
Inside, you feel like you’re in a discotheque with a big dance floor, a video bar, laser lights, disco balls, and even an upstairs area.
They have several events a week, including happy hour specials every day, but one of their biggest is their Sunday night Classic Disco T Dance, which packs the house even on a school night. The drinks here are good and seem to be a bit bigger than other bars in the area – so cheers to that!
Rosie’s Bar & Grille
I can only describe Rosie’s Bar & Grille as a rainbow explosion in a gay jungle. It’s a busy spot, usually with a DJ spinning some dance tunes, while people eat and talk underneath colorful lanterns surrounded by lush foliage. Besides being aesthetically appealing, Rosie’s feels like the heart and soul of Wilton Manors, where all manner of queer folks get together for good food and extraordinary drinks.
They have cocktails as colorful as their lanterns – being from Kentucky I was drawn to the mango old fashioned but don’t let me stop you from trying a pineapple mule with rum and ginger beer or a strawberry lemonade with vodka. Whatever you choose, get some nibbles as well like the crave-able coconut shrimp, and soak up this gay heaven.
Spencer’s Corner Bar
Spencer’s Corner Bar has the charm of a mid-century retro diner with the furnishings to match. The formica tables with boomerang print on them, 50s artwork and memorabilia, and the pinks and teal accents make you feel like you should have driven a Chevy convertible here.
The bar itself is pretty small since it’s actually in a restaurant, but don’t dismiss it. It’s a great place to get a low-key drink, and they have happy hour on rail drinks and house wines every day. Sunday cocktails are also at a discount.
While you’re sitting at the bar, or on the spacious outdoor patio, pair your drink with an absolutely divine, huge piece of layered chocolate cake (seriously, one piece is big enough to share). On Wednesdays, they have a Variety Dinner show. How vintage!
Lit, as the name implies, is a hoppin’ little spot a bit ways down the “strip” (it’s not very far away and easily walkable) with a good mix of gay, lesbian, and other queer folks. The bar is colorful and dark, with neon murals lining the walls and string lights overhead, and there’s a large patio bar outback with games like corn hole. What could be more southern?
They offer events almost every day of the week like RuPaul’s Drag Race screening nights, DJs, poker and darts tournaments, and trivia. The drinks are pretty cheap and standard. They’re all you need to get you lit any night of the week!
DrYnk Bar & Lounge
DrYnk Bar & Lounge feels like the hip, refined older brother of the other Wilton Manors bars. While so many can feel strictly about being a place to socialize and less about the quality of the drink, DrYnk epitomizes the art of craft cocktails. The inside is warm and masculine, with fireplaces, purple velvet wallpaper, wooden tables, and plush places to sit (the lounge part of the name), and has a huge screen with a live feed of the tables out front giving it a slightly voyeuristic feel.
But what to DrYnk? While they do add new things to their menu from time to time, check out their award-winning smoked old fashioned with Bulleit Bourbon and smoked cedar, and their Espressotini to give you that extra pep. Their back deck is surrounded by lovely greenery and is the perfect setting to enjoy the fading evening light.
Pub on the Drive
The Pub on the Drive has that relaxed, local neighborhood bar environment, with a full menu from breakfast through dinner, a stage for entertainment, and outdoor seating. It’s the perfect place to start your day in Wilton Manors. Maybe grab a Bloody Mary or mimosa (which are on happy hour from 10am-4pm) at a table on the sidewalk as you watch the local queers walk by hand in hand.
There are always all kinds of people here enjoying the sunshine during the day, and come night, you can enjoy celebrity look-alike contests and flashback nights. Just don’t forget Drag Brunch on Sundays!
Now this one is for your sports gays: Gym Sportsbar is just what it sounds like – a gay bar all about sports! The bar is pretty easy to spot, it’s painted white with “GYM” painted in big blue letters. The inside has the vibe of most sports bars with lots of TVs playing sports and team flags, the only difference is there are a lot more queer people inside.
While I don’t know anything about sports, I can appreciate the finer things in life, like food and drink specials. Generally, they have some sort of 2-4-1 drink specials, with strong pours perfect for watching the big game (or watching a handsome man watch the big game). They also have daily food specials, including half-price burgers on Wednesdays and $1 hot dogs on Thursdays. Now that’s a home run (or some other sports reference)!
I honestly have never heard of Hamburger Mary’s until watching Camp Wannakiki, the campy drag competition set at summer camp I never knew I needed. Started by a set of gay twins, Hamburger Mary’s is a franchise that’s found a home in thirteen cities nationwide. Hamburger Mary’s in Wilton Manors feels like a block party, even on a Sunday night, with a huge outdoor tent in the front filled with a mix of all kinds of young queer people.
Hamburger Mary’s has a full lineup of events, including dining with the divas, Sunday drag brunch, karaoke, and trivia nights. If you want a strong drink and to get some drag time in, this is the place to be!
While The Eagle is certainly not specific only to Wilton Manors (you can find them in other major cities and gay destinations), it is a staple of the gay and leather community. The interior feels more “rugged” than your typical gay bar, with Tom of Finland-esque murals on the walls, bartenders (and most patrons) in harnesses, and dark spaces and pumping music.
The Eagle is actually several different bars including the main Tavern, the cruisy CODE Bar which includes a strictly-enforced fetish or leather dress code on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and a Bear Cave (rawr) open on Friday and Saturday evenings. There is even a fetish store on site if you need to get some gear! Jockstrap night on Mondays and underwear night on Wednesdays tend to be hopping, and they have some great happy hour specials.
While the bar is open to women and non-cis gay men, just be aware the audience will definitely skew more masculine.
If you’re looking for a fun gay bar in Wilton Manors, we hope this list has helped you find the perfect spot!