By Cliff Dunn
Don’t tell the tourists: South Florida locals already know that some nights are busier than others (well, duh!). The same cannot be said of Miami-Dade and Broward’s gay Happy Hours, where friends and familiar faces blend with the out-of-town set to form a perfect blend of post-work and pre-night-out. To accommodate the multiple “crowds” (Baby Boomers and Gen X’ers, as well as Rat Packers and Brat Packers) that descend their watering holes, from South Beach to North Andrews Avenue, local saloonkeepers and restaurateurs have set up a clock-work timetable to keep the most budget-conscious, driest boy or girl well-lubricated (in Happy Hour libations, at any rate).
Our tour of Happy Hours starts in Broward’s Gayborhood, Wilton Manors. At Tropics (2000 Wilton Drive), Happy Hour starts at 4 p.m. and runs through 9 p.m., Monday through Friday. Drinks are two-for-the-price-of-one (hereinafter, 2-4-1), which—in keeping with Gayborhood tradition–involves paying for a round all at once, and getting a chip for your second drink. In this case, that chip can be used at any time, even during the wee small hours when drinks are full pop.
Across the way is Sidelines Sports Bar (2031-A Wilton Drive), “where sports come first” and where Happy Hour runs daily—for the first time!—from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. with half-price drinks (the other popular Gayborhood-variation on the split-level-drink-price), followed by a back-half Happy Hour from Midnight-to-close, also with (according to their Web site) half-price libations. (Rumor on the Drive has it that a few kind words about FSU gets you in good with the effervescent publicans.)
Just a few doors down is the southwestern-themed Rodeo Restaurant and Bar (2033 Wilton Drive), with a select Happy Hour specials menu: 50% off bottles of wine, Tuesdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.; half-price martinis on Wednesdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Thursday Ladies Nights, with half-price well drinks, beer, and wine glasses.
One of the Drive’s most recent offerings is Pinché Taqueria (2045 Wilton Drive), a NYC-by-way-of-Tijuana-transplant, offering great outdoor atmosphere and a daily 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Happy Hour with $4 well drinks, $5 Pinché margaritas, and $20 margarita pitchers, as well as half-priced appetizers from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Fans of the hip ambience and charming environs of the Naked Grape Wine Bar (2163 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors) followed owners and partners Caleb ben-Avram and Tim Slivinski when they relocated from just down the Drive, and both new and regular patrons enjoy their daily “Social Hour” from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., with $5 glasses of house wine, and $5 bar bites. On Thursdays, get social with an expanded 5-to-close Social Hour, including $5 house wine glasses and bar bites, and the wine bar’s for-pets-and-their-human-companions “Yappy Hour,” hosted by Naked Grape’s Brett and his canine companion, Penny, and featuring a menu of ‘Tapas for Pets,’ courtesy of Lola’s Healthy Pet Café in Wilton Manors. As Caleb and Tim like to remind friends and guests, Naked Grape is “pet-friendly for friendly pets.” Bring yours, and enjoy a round or two together.
The perennial (and perennially-busy) Bill’s Filling Station (2209 Wilton Drive), includes Happy Hour of half-off drink prices from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday, with an additional half-price “Bear Necessities” Happy Hour on Friday nights from Midnight to close.
Another new Drive-arrival is Wilton’s Bier Garden (2245 Wilton Drive), with a continental flair and a new full-liquor bar, and a Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Happy Hour including 2-4-1 domestic draft beer, 2-4-1 well drinks, and 2-4-1 Coastal Vines house wine selections.
Just down (or is it up?) the Drive, is The Manor Restaurant and Nightclub complex (2345 Wilton Drive), which is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but open for biz the rest of the week, with Happy Hour Wednesday through Friday from open ‘til 9 p.m., 2-4-1 drinks and $5 tapas (and what tapas!).
Did somebody say Rosie’s Bar & Grill (2249 Wilton Drive)? A Gayborhood fave for years rolls out its Happy Hour Mondays through Fridays from 11
a.m. to 7 p.m. with half-priced premium well, beer, and house wines and $1 off all other cocktails (excluding premium wines).
Matty’s on the Drive (2426 Wilton Drive) has a new New York deli, and a 2-4-1 Happy Hour that runs Monday through Saturday from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., and a drink chip that’s good through 10 p.m.! (Is there a downside to this?)
What could we possibly say about Georgie’s Alibi (2266 Wilton Drive) that hasn’t been said before? The heritage Manors bar (open since 1997) runs its popular 2-4-1 Happy Hour Monday through Friday, with great food, friends, and faces (same as it ever was).
Boom (2232 Wilton Drive) has a friendly, all-day vibe, with half-priced drink Happy Hours Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., as well as $7 premium martinis all day long.
On the south side of the Gayborhood, where Wilton Drive turns into NE 4th Ave., you will find Fort Lauderdale’s oldest gay bar under the same ownership, Ramrod (1508 NE 4th Ave., Fort Lauderdale), a leather, Levis, and uniform bar with hot men and a 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily 2-4-1 Happy Hour (weekends included!). Voted the Number One Leather Bar in the World, Ramrod also hosts a Thursday “Bear Happy Hour” hosted by the Leather Scene Daddy Chad Bush.
Mona’s Cocktail Lounge (and its adjoining Lisa’s Backyard, 502 E Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale) has been a favorite of locals since the first drink was served in 1997. Happy Hour is celebrated seven days a week from noon till 9 p.m., with $2.50 domestic beers and well drinks, and $1.25 drafts.
Just around the corner, at PJ’s Corner Pocket (924 N Flagler Dr., Fort Lauderdale), you will find a Monday through Friday Happy Hour with $1 off every drink, as well as an everyday five 7 oz. Bud Lights for $5 special.
Nestled between gay-friendly Victoria Park, Wilton Manors, and Downtown Fort Lauderdale on US 1, you’ll find the Cubby Hole (823 N Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale), the “Best Little Butch Bar” in town, with a Levis-and-and leather vibe, serves up Happy Hour—and this should be easy to remember—with 2-4-1 drinks all day every day.
The scenic route that loops north around US 1winds its way to The Depot Cabana Bar and Grill (2935 N Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale), with a neighborly, poolside Happy Hour that features half-price drinks, Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. til 8 p.m.
South Florida’s “busiest neighborhood bar,” Smarty Pants (3038 N Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale) has locals and visitors starting early, in Times Square Plaza, has Happy Hour seven days a week, starting at 9 a.m. and continuing through 8 p.m., with daily specials and discounts off their low drink prices.
Still on the east side of Greater Fort Lauderdale, nestled between the beautiful Intracoastal Waterway (thank you, hunky Army Corps of Engineers!) and the sands of Fort Lauderdale Beach, Dudes on the Beach (3270 NE 33rd St., Fort Lauderdale), the “home of Fort Lauderdale’s best happy hour,” features a seven day a week 2-4-1 special from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.—just in time for some of SoFla’s hottest dancers!
For those men making their way towards I-95 and points westward, The Stable Country Western Bar (205 E Oakland Park Blvd., Fort Lauderdale) sits right at the gateway to the Gayborhood, with a friendly LGBT attitude without all the attitude, and a Happy Hour that spans Monday through Thursday 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday through Sunday, noon through 9 p.m., with at least $1 their regular prices on libations.
Scandals Saloon (3073 NE 6th Ave., Wilton Manors) has a happening Levis, leather, and Country flair, and a Happy Hour at the main bar that runs Monday through Saturday from noon to 9 p.m., with $1-to-$2 drink special discounts, depending on what beverages you’re enjoying. Don’t forget to tie off your horse and mosey in for their all-day Happy Hour on Sundays, pard’ner.
The friendly regulars at the Corner Pub (1915 N Andrews Ave., Wilton Manors) always have a smile on their faces for a newcomer, and there’s a full menu from the next-door and adjacent Island City Pizza. Catch their seven-day Happy Hour, that soldiers on from 11 a.m. til 9:30 p.m., with $1.75 domestic drafts, $2.50 domestic bottles, $2.75 imports, $2.50 well drinks, $2.75 calls, $3 premiums, and $4.75 Jaeger shots.
Monkey Business (2740 N Andrews Ave., Wilton Manors), the bar that never seems to close its doors has an 8 a.m. kickoff to its Happy Hour, which runs through 9 p.m., seven days, with drinks specials that average about $1-$1.50 off per mixed drink or brew.
The world-famous Boardwalk (1721 N Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale) is introducing its new 5-Star Signature Dancer Series, and invites you to sample its seven day Happy Hour, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily, with 2-4-1 mixed drinks and brew, and eye candy to soothe (or stimulate) the savage breast.
At the busy juncture of Downtown Fort Lauderdale and I-95, Johnny’s Club, Bar, and Lounge (1116 W Broward Blvd., Fort Lauderdale) has more than 60 sexy dancers, and a weeklong Happy Hour that runs seven days, Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., with varying drink specials depending the day, and discounted drinks starting at $4.
Never one to be left out of the fun, Miami-Dade County has its own share of the Happy Hour excitement. There’s never a shortage of people to watch (and cruise) from the patio of Score (727 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach). It’s a great break from the two-story disco where Happy Hour runs 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Saturday. The drinks are strong, priced two-for-one.
Johnny’s Miami (62 NE 14th St., Miami) serves up $5 drinks all night, Wednesday through Sundays, right along with 30 hot dancers performing on stage. The baby cousin to Johnny’s Fort Lauderdale, the Miami location makes muscle your newest accessory as dancers hang on your every word.
Drag envy blushes to perfection at Palace Bar & Grill (1200 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach), across from the gay beach, rain or shine. Though every night’s a party where the fun never ends, check out Friday’s Happy Hour from 5-9 p.m. where drink specials make it all the more fun. Or dress in drag on Monday nights and demand your due: $4 Absolut drinks.
Miami’s piano bar, Magnum Lounge (709 NE 79th Street, Miami), puts a smile on Happy Hour 5 p.m.-8 p.m. with $4 margaritas and drink specials every night of the week. You’ll be in the mood to sing along.
Twist (1057 Washington Ave., Miami Beach) is the granddaddy of all South Beach clubs, and rewards its regulars and tourists alike with 2-for-1 drink specials Friday through Wednesday, 1 p.m.-9 p.m. and all day Thursday. Eat and be merry with a free barbeque on Fridays and Sundays, 6 p.m.-8 p.m.
MOVA Lounge (1625 Michigan Ave., Miami Beach), a distant cousin of the famed Washington, D.C. MOVA, spreads its drinks specials in shotgun fashion. Show up on Thursdays and expect $4 Miller Lites and $6 Finlandia Vodka. Friday Happy Hour runs 6 p.m.-9 p.m. with half-priced cocktails. On Saturday, Grey Goose is bargain priced at $9. And look for half-priced drinks all night long on Karaoke Mondays, just to keep you in the mood.
Club Sugar (2301 SW 32nd Ave., Miami) brings noche latina to sizzling Miami, and adds $5 well drinks and $4 domestic beer to keep you very Happy, Friday-Sunday, 10:30 p.m. til closing. Muy caliente.
For those up late needing a special night on the town, look no further than Discotekka (950 NE 2nd Ave., Miami). This hot club with hot bartenders and super hot music gives the best deals of the week on Sunday nights with “Drag’s a Bitch.” Look for $3 Bud Lights and $5 well drinks, and a drag show at midnight hosted by Daisy Deadpetals.
Vlada Lounge (3215 NE 2nd Ave., Miami) has a bar that ices over to keep your drinks freezer fresh. That comes in particularly handy during the daily Happy Hour two-for-one specials, 4 p.m.-8 p.m. Included in the bargain: the club’s 17 special organic infused vodkas.