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Photograph: Unsplash/@jvictorbastos

The best gay clubs in Miami are a freaking blast

The best gay clubs in Miami are home to ferocious drag nights, packed dance floors and a lot more

By Ryan Pfeffer

May 2019: We’ve just refreshed our list of Miami’s best gay clubs and there’s one new spot that joins the list: WaterLOO. We checked out the new South Beach lounge and it’s a worthy addition to our gay nightlife scene. We’re still mourning the loss of Score though.

The best gay clubs in Miami have been an important part of Miami nightlife for decades and, hell, one could even argue that there wouldn’t be much Miami nightlife without the path they’ve paved. The best clubs in Miami, the best clubs in South Beach and even South Beach itself owes them a major thanks. Today, Miami nightlife has grown quite inclusive and the line between gay and straight blurs more than most scenes in this country. Still, we have our dedicated gay clubs and bars. Here, you’ll find Miami’s tradition of queer nightlife going strong with fantastic drag, music and sardine-packed dance floors. Sound fun? It is. Check out our favorite picks below.

Best gay clubs in Miami

Photography: Courtesy Twist

1. Twist

LGBTQ+ South Beach

What is it? 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. Shirts have a tendency of coming off and Sabroso Thursdays with Sazon Latino showcase Miami gay culture with a Latin flare.

Why go? No cover. Ever.

The Palace
Photograph: Dale Stine

2. Palace

Restaurants American South Beach

What is it? 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.

Why go? Ever seen someone do a death drop on the sidewalk? Now’s your chance.

Photograph: Courtesy WaterLOO

3. WaterLOO

Bars Lounges South Beach

What is it? A gay bar on Washington Ave with a more relaxed and comfortable vibe. The space—which has a long bar along with comfy seating—feels more like a friend's living room than a club, which isn’t a bad thing at all. The party does amp up on weekends though, with all the DJs and dancing you’d expect from a South Beach spot.

Why go? For the drag queen-hosted karaoke on Tuesdays. There's no cover and $5 well drinks will give you all the liquid courage you need to belt out a tune.

Photograph: Unsplash/@jvictorbastos

4. The Manor


What is it? 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.

Why go? Because the nearby New York Grilled Cheese is open till 3am Thursday through Sunday and 4am on Saturday. It’s one hell of a post-club snack.

Hotel Gaythering
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Steven J.

5. Hotel Gaythering

Hotels Boutique hotels South Beach

What is it? A nice spot to start the night off with a cocktail. The chill gay hotel is a great place to meet visitors and get the lay of the land from savvy locals. You should also check out the rotating art in the lobby, which highlights queer artists (and is for sale!).

Why go? The weekly programming here is awesome: trivia on Wednesday, drag queen-hosted karaoke on Monday and a lot more stuff on the calendar you should ask about. 

Gramps Wynwood
Photograph: Courtesy Gramps Wynwood

6. Gramps

Bars Dive bars Wynwood

What is it? 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.

Why go? This ain’t your average drag. Performances here are insane, over-the-top explosions of creativity and ferocity.

Photograph: Courtesy Basement

7. Basement

Nightlife Clubs Miami Beach

What is it? Not a strict gay club but a hotspot during Pride Week nonetheless. Basement is very 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. 

When to go: Ice skating anyone? Basement has that too.

Gay flag
Photograph: Unsplash/Kirsty Lee

8. Jamboree Lounge

Bars Dive bars Little Haiti / Lemon City

What is it? A nondescript, dive-y little lounge in MiMo. This place is nice if you don’t feel like clubbing into the wee hours (we don’t blame you). It’s got a neighborhood vibe and some crazy good drink specials.

Why go? “4skin Mondays”—pause for laughter—offer $3 Miller Lite and Budweiser. Not bad for a Monday!

Azucar Nightclub
Photograph: Courtesy Azucar

9. Azucar Nightclub

Nightlife Clubs Shenandoah / Silver Bluff

What is it? An LGBT option for those who don’t want to trek to South Beach. Azucar, just off Coral Way, is a home for Miami’s Latin LGBT population. The curious should check out Sunday night’s sultry noche de cabaret. It’s an art you can appreciate without a translator.

Why go? Because you’ve seen Madonna songs in drag before. It’s time to watch a queen crush some Celia Cruz.

Rainbow towel on rack
Photograph: Shutterstock

10. Club Aqua

Music Coral Way

What is it? Club Aqua isn’t so much a club—rather an old-school bathhouse. Does that make it any less fun? Hardly. 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 Friday nights to DJs and mingle with barely-dressed singles. 

Why go? We think you know why… (And if you don’t, maybe skip this one).

Need more places to party?


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