By Dale Madison
It’s hard to imagine any business surviving and thriving for over 30 years in South Florida. Through changes in location and ownership, the bar that was once called Johnny’s Village Inn—a small beer and wine (and stripper) bar on 2nd Street in Fort Lauderdale, in the current digs of Dicey Riley’s—has persevered and adapted to changes in times and tastes. Sean David, who purchased the landmark nightclub from original owner and founder Johnny Moses, says that managing the only gay nightclub in downtown Fort Lauderdale is “a delicate balance.”
David has conducted several major expansions at its present and permanent West Broward Boulevard venue—which also prides itself in a brand new sister location in downtown Miami, but more on that later—including upgrading the bars and redecorating the interior in both major club rooms. “We have illusionists, entertainers, DJ’s— and, of course, we have the dancers,” notes David, explaining the many and diverse tastes to which his club caters. “I try to make everyone happy. It’s a tight rope to walk. But, we try to keep it upbeat,” he adds. That diverse entertainment includes hot dancers seven nights a week, as well as Johnny’s Friday night Illusionist Show (which is followed by the always crowded Hip Hop Party).
On Saturday, Johnny’s showcases the dancers for which the club has become synonymous, hosted by Gemini Storm. Sundays, bartender Mike hosts Sinful Happy Hour with no cover charge, and then karaoke commences at 9 p.m., hosted by DJ Miik. Sunday night is also Johnny’s world famous Amateur Strip Contest. David, a native of Israel and a former co-owner of the Boardwalk Bar and Nightclub, says that his success merits returning something to the people who keep him in business. “One thing that I have also tried to do is always give back to the community,” David offers.
“We do fundraisers [at Johnny’s] all of the time.” A much abbreviated list of the charities and service organizations to which David and Johnny’s contribute includes Kids’ in Distress, Disaster Relief, local agencies serving the HIV/AIDS community, and The Poverello Thrift Store and Food Bank. “You might remember that when Father Bill from Poverello needed a new car to continue his ministry, we held the benefit at Johnny’s,” recalls David. “Father has been a friend to many of those who have needed comfort over the years. It was an honor and privilege for us to provide a forum to raise money for him to continue to provide his service,” he adds, noting that Father Bill has been a local treasure for a quarter century.
“We invite any non-profit that wants to stage a fundraiser, either inside the club or in the parking lot,” David says by way of invitation. “A car wash, a dunk tank—anything that we can do, we are here for the community.” David says that a major focus of his efforts is promoting awareness of the dangers of substance abuse, especially among young gays. David’s expansion has included opening a location in downtown Miami, near the city’s arts district. Now fully one year old, Johnny’s Miami presents world class talent and adult entertainers, and a weekly schedule to keep you coming back over and over again (and when you do, please let them know you heard about them from the Agenda).