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Fort Lauderdale

Spotlight on Fort Lauderdale

Spotlight on Ft. Lauderdale: Where to Stay, Eat & Play in the South Florida Destination

Spotlight on Ft. Lauderdale: Where to Stay, Eat & Play in the South Florida Destination

Where to stay, eat & play in the South Florida Destination

Pictured: Peter, owner of Sweet Nectar Buzz | Photo via


Sweet Nectar Charcoal Grill and Spirits: A great sustainability focused eatery with outdoor dining space, handmade craft cocktails, and a great raw bar. Try the Mountain Berry Shrub (a cocktail creation using 44 north huckleberry vodka, rhum clement creole shrub, black berry syrup, fresh lemon, ginger beer, and rosemary) and the daily special.

Mind Your Manors: Think craft beers (seriously craft cocktails and craft beers are huge in SoFlo right now) and contemporary versions of classic comfort foods. Try the Braised Short Rib Tacos and Tater Bombs (ginormous tater tots.)

Beauty and the Feast: Globally influenced Americana, tapas style small plates. Try the Angry Lobster.

Shooter’s Restaurant: One of the most popular waterfront dining spot has three bar spaces (one with a guy doing acoustic versions of classic ‘80s songs was particularly compelling, with a dining room in between. Take a water taxi to get here and you’ll spot all wealthiest denizens of the city — or at least their waterfront mansions. Try the Crab Stuffed Shrimp or Brown Butter Scallops.


The W Hotel: The host of our massive wedding ceremony slash honeymoon suite, is my top vote getter for sights, sounds, and service. This is the Ft. Lauderdale hotspot where you’re probably most likely to run into celebs on the DL with a clientele least likely to be impressed by that. Great panoramic views of both the Atlantic Ocean and the intracoastal waterways, an chic oceanfront infinity pool area, Bliss Spa, and their signature Whenever/Whatever service (which loosely defined means, when you need something you just call zero and they’ll figure it out). My favorite perk: Ted Gibson (of What Not to Wear fame) has one of his two salons in the hotel, and he and his husband (celebrity hairstylist Jason Backe, who married last August in a flash-mob style New York wedding) were there at wedding and pre-ceremony festivities offering hairstyling (for free) to all the couples. (Think of it as updo activism.)

The Atlantic Hotel: Just a block down from The W, this luxury boutique hotel has the same Atlantic view, easy beach access, a great spa, and an oceanfront penthouse you’ll never want to leave. It was named one of Travel & Leisure's “Top 50 Resorts.”

Play (by Day):

Stonewall National Museum & Archives: They offer a great collection of vintage LGBT publications, including early physique magazines and the first lesbian magazine, The

Pride Center at Equality Park: This amazingly large pride center is on a huge tract of land (six acres of property with 30,000 square feet of office space in Wilton Manors) that may some day (if they can fund their dreams) include senior housing. Right now, it has a ton of programs for every part of the LGBT community, with emphasis on senior programs as well as a great HIV support program, the nationally acclaimed PALS Project. The best part is that for the folks who don’t want to do the bar scene, it’s host to a ton of different events like music fests, costume parties, coffee mixers, Black Pride and more.

Catamaran Cruising: There are all sorts of water sports in this neck of the woods (yes, I went there) but these lovely little catamaran dinner cruises get you out in a tiny boat, watching sunset, dining while the ocean breeze makes you look dewy and romantic.

Photo by Pete Cross |

Play (by Night):

The Manor Complex: Want to really party? Then the Manor Complex, a massive gay party palace is the place. Epic dance parties, hundreds of hunky men with tight abs and enviable endurance abound.

Tropics Restaurant & Piano Bar: Looking for a silver daddy? Or might you be one? Here’s your spot. Plus it’s great live entertainment, three different bars and dining rooms, and tons of middle aged hotties.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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