Wilton Manors is a small town with a big rep. Once a sleepy train stop just outside of Fort Lauderdale, this community of 12,000 full-time residents now claims the fabulous fame of being the “Second Gayest City in America.” With white-sand South Florida beaches close at hand, a vibrant LGBT focused nightlife scene and unique landmark attractions like the Pride Center at Equality Park and the Stone Wall National Museum, Wilton Manors is a must-visit LGBT destination. Here are the essentials.
Walking down Wilton Drive, a historic main street booming with life, you will find rainbow flag-sporting restaurants with cute names that have been lovingly created by their LGBT owners to serve the community tasty and healthy fare. Here are our top recommendations.
- Rumors Bar and Grill: Famous for their omelet and Bloody Mary breakfast combos and their lush lunch buffet, Rumors Bar and Grill is a Wilton Manors institution where satisfaction is guaranteed. One of the social centers of Wilton Drive Rumors also does daily events and specials like poker night on Mondays, trivia on Tuesdays and drag shows on Fridays.
- Georgie’s Alibi: It’s the Burger Beast trophy winning hamburgers at Georgie’s that draw the crowds but the gaybourhood hotspot also does a yummy and action-packed Sunday brunch that features live Jazz and Broadway standards.
- Bubbles and Pearls: When it’s time for serious dining hit up Top Chef star Josie Smith-Malave’s gorgeous Bubbles and Pearls. Take a seat at the Oyster bar and enjoy a dozen or get serious with a bottle of red and the “Off the Chain” Ribeye steak.
While many visitors prefer to stay near the beach in the chain hotels of Fort Lauderdale, Wilton Manor actually sports some lovely little gay-friendly guest houses that should be considered.
- The Calypso Inn: A Gay-Owned Bed and Breakfast located just a block off Wilton Drive, The Calypso Inn is a mini resort in the heart of the action. With two outdoor pools and a private courtyard surrounded by three different unique properties that offer both rooms and apartments, you have found home away from home.
- Island Sands Inn: Also right off the drive, this charming little tropical sanctuary offers modern rooms situated around a large outdoor heated saltwater swimming pool.
- Inn on the Drive: Luxurious queen bed sporting private suites surrounding the pool and garden make this a sweet spot to base camp just steps from the action on the drive.
Wilton Drive is ground zero for the party scene with literally dozens of excellent options. Here are some hot picks to get you started.
- leBoy: With shower party Sundays and college night Wednesdays, leBoy is known for showcasing the prettiest eye candy on the strip. Daily drink specials and frequent strip contests just up the fun factor.
- Johnsons: Serving the “tallest drink on the drive” (16oz cocktails) and featuring nonstop pole performers nightly, Johnsons is always a good place to rev up your engine.
- The Manor: Two story nightclub plus swanky ultra-lounge and event space the Manor Complex hosts everything from runway shows to dance parties that take over the street.