R. Scott R. Scott, 53.
If you can get over the fact that you are sitting in the inside of the pyramid with all those open hallways hundreds of feet above your head, this is a fun place to have lunch or dinner. The ship burrito is massive and super yummy...and you just have to have a margarita. Right across from the Blue Man theater one floor above the casino. It can be very loud.
It's pricy, but what an amazing experience my husband and I had at Aureole for our anniversary. The tasting menu was beyond amazing and the service was over-the-top. The chef came out to talk to us when I acquired about how something was prepared and he couldn't have been nicer. Can't wait to return.
A Haven From the Crowds, Super Luxury
Now I'm spoiled. Can I ever go back to staying anywhere else after experiencing the Encore's decked-out suites (gotta love motorized drapes, bathroom TVs, a bedside privacy button, the black couch, and luxurious bedding), spectacular pools (drinks and lunch served poolside, yes!), opulent casino decor, the best show I've ever seen in Vegas ("Le Reve"), great shopping, five hopping nightclubs, and a score of award winning restaurants. What else could you want? How about a true commitment to the GLBT traveler? The Wynn/Encore continually wins equality awards, offers their employees domestic partnership benefits (the first casino property to do so), and even has a Pride Concierge on duty to serve the gay guests. One of my favs in Sin City, hands down.
The Luxor is certainly dated, but we always have fun there. The rooms are nothing to write home about--basically a Best Western-type feel--and the pool is horrible, but the casino and bars are fun, Blue Man is there, and they have one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, Diablo's Cantina. It's also super easy to get to Mandalay or Excalibur without going outside.
One of my favorite things to take out of town visitors to, especially at night. Super fun, loads of history, and a great place to take selfies.
Friendly Neighborhood Staple
The warm welcome and attentive service is followed by very satisfying food & drink. A recently refreshed, scaled down menu has improved almost everything. The house made sangria is perfect for warmer weather and the crunchy calamari is always a winner. I'm fond of the pasta dishes as well as the perfectly cooked salmon. On rainy or colder days, sitting inside, in the cozy dining rooms, is almost like eating at home...with a few dozen friends.
Funky & Friendly
This is one of our new favorites. The staff is very friendly and inviting, but the place can get crowded and loud. Make a reservation (OpenTable or direct) to avoid a wait. The unexpected signature cocktails are made with fresh ingredients, the food is creative and inspired. Lobster enchiladas, anyone? Sit outside on cooler summer nights for the Wednesday night fireworks on the beach.
Expansive Menu, Friendly Vibe
This is on my frequent-often list and although I enjoy looking and/or tasting the various entrees that my fellow diners chose, I go for the same thing every time. (How sad is that?) But for me--especially after a spell at happy hour(s) nearby--the steak and eggs do the trick!
A vital service to the community
My partner and I support Food & Friends and encourage others to do so as well. They provide such a vital service to those who are housebound and with limited resources due to HIV/AIDS, cancer, and the like.
An Asbury Park Winner
This is our go-to place when we don't know where else to go because we always know we'll get great food and friendly service. On a pleasant day or evening, as to sit on the wraparound porch. Otherwise, avoid sitting near the staircases because they see constant traffic. Great seafood specials.
Fun at the Shore
Gotta love the Empress Hotel complex that includes Paradise nightclub, two smaller in-door bar areas, a restaurant, and the pool/poolside bar. Really something for everyone day and night. Food is surprisingly good; I loved the crab cakes. Looking forward to checking back soon for the Sunday tea dance (summers only) and the now-Friday night midnight drag show.
Fun, Lively Spot with Great Food, Too
DC could use a place like this. Very surprised to have a super dinner while enjoying all the eye-candy. Really a place for everyone. Great music, expansive patio seating, friendly service, no attitude. A great place to kick-start an evening in West Hollywood.
Cool, Hip, New...But Beware
I'm a huge fan of the W chain, having stayed in ones in NYC, Honolulu, Chicago, San Diego, etc. But the new W Hollywood, while as hip and cool and sleek as the best of them, handed over their lobby and rooftop bars to a third-party company and getting into them is next to impossible, even as a hotel guest. Scores of security, lines, check-points and attitude, turns the hotel into a nightmare in the evening. Go play somewhere else but enjoy the comfortable rooms and friendlier daytime service.
It's Pink, So It Must Be Good
The Pink Taco at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is one of my favorite stops when in Vegas. Classic Mexican dishes with a Californian twist including their signature Pink Tacos, naturally, and matching drinks. A lively, friendly atmosphere with tons of objets d'art to look at...but we people watch! Inside or patio seating. Lunch & dinner and happy hours daily (including Sun-Thur $2 tacos from 9-11pm). A nifty vibrating pager lets you gamble or shop while you wait for a table.
The Closing Party
It's a must to soak up all the alcohol. A must to see hundreds (thousands?) of people who flock here each night after they leave the clubs. And the pizza is the thin kind I like, too. Very New York. Grab a slice before bed.
Typical Seafood Place
It seems to be on plenty of peoples' must-stop list but it's not really worth writing home about. But I'll write to you...there are tons of great restaurants in P-town, so if you are a foodie or only in town for a brief stay, you can get better seafood elsewhere. But, for a traditional meal of lobster or crab or the like, not a bad choice. Can be crowded and loud but ample space if you have a big group (12 ppl) like we did when was last there.
We Made a B-Line For This Place
When a few gay friends and I got off a cruise ship in Key West a few months ago, we went directly to Blue Heaven for brunch. It's well worth the wait if they have one. Have a Bloody Mary, people watch, or chase a live rooster. Sitting under the trees, we enjoyed the Lobster Benedicts and their laid-back but friendly service. Go!
Best of Both Worlds
A gay bar and a fun diner with a vintage look and feel? That's a winning combination. Everyone is welcome and the food is comfort-based; don't go if you're on a diet. Every table gets a bowl of pickles to munch on...unique! And the tater tots and fish and chips have me going back when I need my fried food kick.
Comfortable, Friendly, Authentic
The lesbian owned Hank's Oyster Bar never disappoints...unless you can't get in right away. The small, exposed brick space feels large due to its double height ceiling and the staff bends over backwards to be outgoing and welcoming. Chef/owner Jamie Leeds cooks up succulent oyster po-boys, mouth-watering chicken schnitzel, and my favorite seared scallops. The menu changes daily. A neighborhood restaurant that people travel to. Gay, str8, and fun. There's even a second location in Old Town Alexandria for our Virginia friends.
Free wi-fi and No Starbucks Prices
I like my coffee on ice and it doesn't break the bank at Java House. At the bustling 17th & Q Streets NW corner, this tiny coffee shop features fresh ground varieties, pastries, sandwiches, and a killer bagel with lox. But the patio is the place to be spring, summer, and fall, with a book, magazine, or your laptop. But don't expect to get much reading done...you'll be people watching and chatting with friends as they pass by. Gay, straight, and a few local political celebs call this place home.
Quickly Becoming a GLBT Must
Level One, part of the Cobalt/30 Degrees building at the corner of 17th & R Streets NW, has quickly become a place to be seen. And the food isn't bad, either! With two expansive street-side patios (one for smoking, one without), its perfect most of the year for their weekend Disco Brunch featuring bottomless Mimosas or Bloody Marys. Classic American dishes with some twists, taco night, good service...Level One is one of my favorites.
Something for everyone in Northern Virginia
Freddie's in the ONLY gay bar/restaurant in all of Northern Virginia and it's just a stones throw away from the city near National Airport. Lifelong Arlington resident Freddie Lutz has created a welcoming, kitchy space that features a full-service restaurant, drag shows, drag bingo, karaoke, and more. A large island bar dominates the space with large and small tables surrounding the room. A front, enclosed patio is a good escape from the friendly noise inside if you want a more intimate evening. Sunday brunch is a fav, as is the Sunday night drag shows hosted by Destiny B. Childs and company. Super casual and all-inclusive. You'll immediately feel comfortable.
All the comforts of home
Just steps from all the fun of Provincetown, Gabriel's at the Ashbrooke Inn is like stepping into Armistead Maupin's 28 Barbary Lane, complete with well-manicured gardens and decks throughout the property. The owner's have created a cozy retreat with all the comforts of home. Our suite, the Susan, features a gas fireplace, flat screen TVs in both the main room and bathroom, DVD player, iPod dock, a well-stocked kitchenette, dining area, washer & dryer(!), comfy king-size bed, bath with jetted tub-for-two and a shower stall, waffle-weave bathrobes, and much more. A full, hot breakfast is included and made-to-order. Hundreds of DVDs available to be played in room when you get tired of all the great area restaurants, bars, clubs, art galleries, and shopping. Not a stuffy old inn where you feel like you are staying in Grandma's house; Gabriel's has won over this W Hotel-staying guy!
Great Shows, Great Guys
The new Ziegfeld's/Secrets is a favorite. My friends and I tend to go on Friday nights, alternating between the 1st floor drag show space and the 2nd floor dance floor. Manager Jon Parks and his crew have created an inclusive nightclub that caters to a wide variety of people. The drag shows (Friday & Saturday nights at 11pm and 1) are very well produced and a hell of a lot of fun. Destiny B. Childs hosts on Friday night...love her! Upstairs, the strippers aren't all 10's, but most are worth a second look. They're super friendly, too, naturally! The bartenders, waitresses, door and security staff are extremely friendly and always willing to welcome newcomers. I highly recommend Z/S for a fun late-evening!
A 17th Street Mainstay
JR's is THE Washington, DC bar. It's old and unassuming and I like it that way. A great neighborhood bar to meet your friends and enjoy great happy hour specials. Thursdays from 4-8pm are especially popular: $11 all you can drink, and we certainly take advantage of that. Can get very crowded later in the evening. Perhaps not the best pick-up joint, as many of the regulars tend to gather with their friends. But generally, the regulars are very friendly. Ages range from 21-65 and everyone is welcome and made to feel at home. Super staff remembers your drink and always greets everyone with a smile. They're cute, too.
Fun for everyone
Cobalt and 30 Degrees is a great place for all types. 30 Degrees is on the second level (enter through the Level One restaurant on the street level) and has several couches and nooks for having a private conversation. The bartenders and staff are very friendly and welcoming. A DJ now regularly spins hot tunes on the 2nd level. Attracts all types and ages. Upstairs, Cobalt can get crowded--especially during their open bar hours--but I've always had fun. Shirtless bartenders are very friendly. Cobalt usually attracts a bit younger crowd. Having a conversation isn't especially easy, but you can go downstairs or outside for that. Music and lights keep the party going.