49. I am 32, I work as a writer, I love Krispy Kreme donuts and I am currently obsessed with Ugly Betty. I think gay men who take family photos with their pets are annoying. I often run with scissors, just for the thrill of it. I am extremely disturbed by the resurgence of fanny packs.
Happy for Happy Hour
Sushi Doraku is a basic sushi restaurant—pretty good quality, the restaurant is nice, and it's much less expensive than other sushi restaurants in South Beach. But the best part is, on Monday-Thursday from 5-7 p.m. they have Happy Hour prices on sushi—like, $5 per roll on certain rolls. It's the best deal in town.
For serious eaters
This is THE place to go for all-American fare: hamburgers served every which way, from basic to Kobe-beef-fancy. They also serve chicken and salads, but why would you order a salad here? Live a little, order a burger. I also recommend the truffle oil macaroni and cheese. Servers are tattoo-covered punks who actually are attentive and courteous, which is great considering how busy they are. Burger & Beer Joint is usually packed. And despite the macho image, gay patrons are totally welcomed here. The crown jewel of the menu is the "Mother Burger," a 10-lb beast that even Adam Richman from "Man vs. Food" couldn't finish when he filmed a segment here. But that's not something you should actually order.
Although Angler's is located on a noisy stretch of Washington Ave., it is a lovely oasis of luxury and calm. Rooms have fantastic beds with linens so soft you'll contemplate stripping the bed and stealing them. Some rooms have balconies, although the views aren't so spectacular that they are a major bonus; stick with the standard rooms, you'll be fine. The pool is entirely surrounded by rooms, so there's no sun. No matter, the beach is 3 blocks away. Service is prompt and gracious, and staff are well-educated on gay life in South Beach, as much of the scene in town is within walking distance of the hotel.
Nice, but further north
The rooms here are very nice, and service is good. It is a lavish setting, similar to a mega-resort in the Caribbean, with pools scattered around the grounds. Many people love staying here. But once you check in, you are stuck on property—nothing else is in walking distance. There is a Starbucks in the lobby; other than that, you must eat at their restaurants, which are VERY expensive. If you want to go anywhere else, you have to take a cab. The clubs (notably LIV) are über-trendy, but not particularly gay-friendly. You usually need some girls with you to get in.
Looks can be deceiving
The Art Deco metallic exterior looks cute, right? This place used to be the best in town, but time has not been kind to 11th Street Diner. It's down the block from Twist, so you would think the gays would fill up their booths every night; but walk a few steps in the other direction and you're in Thugville, USA. Shootings are known to happen on this stretch of Washington Ave. As a result, it's usually pretty empty inside. The food is decent, but the service can range from indifferent to blatantly rude. It's disappointing, but this place needs a major overhaul before it will be worth a visit again.
The best diner in South Beach
Big Pink has a few important details going for it: 1) The food is fine. 2) The service is good—which means, by Miami standards, it is amazing. 3) The vibe is relaxed and fun. This is more of a local hangout, which means the clientelle is not as tragic as it can be in other touristy spots. This is important at Big Pink, because tables are crammed together and you sometimes end up sitting at a table with strangers. It's not a particularly gay restaurant, but the "anything goes" aesthetic here makes room for everyone. For instance: on their multiple TVs on the walls, they will have one playing Fox News and another playing CNN. I always get the malted waffle, with ice cream. Mmm.
Not a 'gay beach,' but...
This is not a gay beach. It is the "Brazilian beach," popular with the Latino crowd with a feel more like what you'd see in Rio de Janeiro: groups bring stereos, they play volleyball, and (most importantly) the men wear square-cut trunks. And these Latino men fill out their suits very nicely. The eye candy is impressive. Many local gays skip 12th Street and hang out here instead for the best people-watching. It's also a much nicer beach, with more scenic surroundings and softer sand. Beware of the trash, however, this crowd does not clean up its trash every day.
The only 'gay beach'
Although gay life is spread all over Miami and Fort Lauderdale, the only true "gay beach" is here at 12th Street. All the boys lay around staring at each other, while pretending to ignore each other, and occasionally guys show off for the crowd by playing a game of paddleball right on the shore in front of everyone. If you're not wearing a Speedo, you're in the minority here, and there's no need to worry if yours is too small. There will be smaller suits on many men. This beach is located at The Palace, the only gay bar on Ocean Drive, so you can wander over after a day in the sun and drink yourself silly while continuing to cruise your favorites from the day. Ironically, 12th Street Beach is also popular with women who sunbathe topless—away from heterosexual men—and occasionally a European family will wander into the area, as they see the hordes of men in Speedos and think they've found the Euro beach. Renting a beach chair costs $10-20, whether or not you want an unbrella; you can of course bring your own. Cooler allowed, no glass technically but there is no enforcement of any rules out there.
The best buy here is definitely The Albion-it's one short block off the beach, right next to Lincoln Road. You can get a great room for around $250, much lower than if it were directly on the sand. And it's nice! Very low-key, and big bathrooms.
It's a hostel, but they also have regular hotel rooms--for, like, 60 bucks. And they're nice--small, but clean. Just request a room that's quiet, Espanola can get noisy at night; and some of them have shared bathrooms, but go with friends and rent two of those rooms, and you can share. Problem solved. And it's right in South Beach!
If you want something in South Beach, my vote is for The National. It's right next door to The Delano, but it's much less expensive and I think the rooms are a lot nicer. You can just wander over to The Delano for their bar.