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Gay clubs
Photograph: Unsplash/Juliette F

The best gay clubs in Miami for a hot night out

No gaycation is complete without a late-night jaunt at one of Miami’s best gay clubs.

Falyn Wood
Written by
Ryan Pfeffer
&
Falyn Wood
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Your besties are in town and they’re raring to hit up Miami’s infamous gay clubs—OK, basically just Twist. Or perhaps you’re the one visiting and hope to check out at least one or two new gay bars in Miami while you’re here. While neither of these two scenarios is surprising, this city’s undersupply of gay and queer venues most definitely is. Once home to a rainbow of LGBTQ-friendly lounges, bars and clubs, many of Miami’s most dependable gay clubs like Magnum, Mova and Score are sadly no more.

Despite this fact, the city is still home to an exceptionally diverse and welcoming queer community, as evidenced by our plethora of Miami drag brunches, the epic Miami Beach Pride and Wynwood Pride festivals and a new wave of inclusive queer parties popping up all around the city. Plus, a short drive up north will get you to Wilton Manors, one of the most highly concentrated communities of queer people in the U.S. There’s plenty of action if Miami if you know where to find it. So, without further adieu: Our roundup of the best (read: all) gay clubs in Miami.

RECOMMENDED: The best clubs in Miami

Best gay clubs in Miami

  • LGBTQ+
  • South Beach
  • price 3 of 4

Twist is one of the most storied gay spots left in Miami Beach, a reliable joint to end the night. The multi-floor space has seven bars to choose from and there’s never a cover here. Shirts have a tendency of coming off and Pop Tart Thursdays offer up two-for-one drinks and throwback jams courtesy of a video DJ spinning in the Bungalow Bar till 2am.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • South Beach
  • price 2 of 4

Ever seen someone do a death drop on the sidewalk? Now’s your chance. Palace is home to the best drag brunch in the entire world. Though we had a not-so-tiny panic attack when we learned Palace’s original location was going to be shutting down, we quickly recovered when we learned the iconic drag brunch bar was simply moving a few blocks away on Ocean Drive. Now, at 1052 Ocean Drive, you can find the same curbside drag shows and gallons of mimosas.

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  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • South Beach
  • price 2 of 4

The lobby bar at this chill gay hotel is a great place to meet visitors and get the lay of the land from savvy locals. Start your night off with a cocktail or three if it’s happy hour (daily 5–7pm) before setting out for even more adventures around the beach. On any night of the week, you’ll find plenty of activities to entertain yourself at the Gaythering, including karaoke Monday, trivia night Wednesday, bingo Thursday and Friday’s flirty Bears & Hares party.

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Wynwood

On the mainland, R House (whose logo recently transformed from a regular “R” to an adorable bum-shaped one) is the undisputed champion of lit Wynwood drag brunches. Hosted by Athena Dion, the saucy affair takes place every Saturday and Sunday, when the best of Miami’s drag performers flip and twirl all over R House’s expansive interior and outdoor patio. The queens and their entourage tend to hang out after the shows, making for an overall festive, gay time at the bar through the weekend.

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  • LGBTQ+
  • price 2 of 4

When it comes to the LGBT scene, it’s worth making a trip to Wilton Manors, one of the most gay-friendly neighborhoods in the country. When the sun goes down in Wilton, all restless bodies head to the Manor, the neighborhood’s biggest and wildest club that boasts loud music, fleshy dancers and flashy decor. Nearby, New York Grilled Cheese is open till 3am Thursday and Sunday and 4am on Friday and Saturday. It’s one hell of a post-club snack, if carbs happen to be on the menu this evening.

What’s a better antidote to our post-quarantine social anxiety than a disco ball-strewn, television-themed gay bar? Minutes away from Twist (and in the same space as the short-lived WaterLOO gay bar), Nathan’s is a decidedly more chill proposition. Long, narrow and delightfully kitsch, Nathan’s boasts six themed mini table sections along with limited patio seating. But you and your friends will most likely spend the night rubbing up against fellow cuties in the tight space in between the bar and the booths, which definitely passes as a dancefloor in our book.

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  • Bars
  • Dive bars
  • Wynwood
  • price 2 of 4

Gramps is by no means strictly a gay bar but it’s a loud and proud ally. The LGBT-friendly Wynwood bar also happens to throw the absolute best weekly drag party in town: Double Stubble. Every Thursday at 9pm, Miami’s drag community is on full display with some truly breathtaking performances—and this ain’t your average drag. Performances here are avant-garde, over-the-top explosions of creativity and ferocity.

Another popular Wilton Manors excursion, Hunters continues the legacy of its namesake sister bar, a staple in the Palm Springs gay scene for nearly 20 years. The South Florida iteration has been open since 2014, offering revelers a modern, remodeled space on Wilton Drive complete with a spacious dance floor, a massive video screen and an upstairs lounge that overlooks all the action. On Fur Fridays, stop in for $2 house cocktails and don’t stop dancing till the spiked disco ball stops spinning.

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  • Nightlife
  • Clubs
  • Miami Beach
  • price 3 of 4

Basement is not technically a gay club but a hotspot during Pride Week nonetheless, and super LGBT-friendly 365 days a year too. You will often find drag queens slaying it over by the rainbow bowling lanes and same-sex couples killing it on the dance floor whenever the club section of this multi-use spot is open. Ice skating anyone? Basement has that too. You’ll want to stop in on Thursdays for Disco Skate, featuring free skating and drink specials from 8 to 9pm.

  • Nightlife
  • Clubs
  • Shenandoah / Silver Bluff
  • price 1 of 4

You’ve seen Madonna songs in drag before. It’s time to watch a queen crush some Celia Cruz. Azucar is an LGBT option for those who don’t want to trek to South Beach. Just off Coral Way, Azucar is a home for Miami’s thriving Latin LGBT population. The curious should check out Sunday night’s sultry Noche de Cabaret, when the cover charge is usually $10. It’s an art you can appreciate without a translator.

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  • Music
  • Coral Way
  • price 2 of 4

Club Aqua isn’t so much a club—rather an old-school bathhouse. Does that make it any less fun? Hardly. Amenities like the dry sauna and heated pool are a bit dated but well kept, and the interior “fun rooms” are regularly sanitized. Read: You come here to get just clean enough to get dirty again. But at this secret Coral Way spot, you can also jam out on weekends and mingle with barely-dressed singles.

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