Nomadic Boys at Miami Beach

by NomadicBoys

Get out of the cold and head to Miami!

We luuuurve Miami! To be honest, we love the whole of Florida as a gay destination but there’s just something about Miami. Perhaps it’s all the sun and gorgeous beaches, or the delicious restaurants where we can gorge on sushi and other seafood. Or the buff gay bodies on display wherever you look… yeah that definitely plays a part.

But what we really love about Miami are all the fabulous gay bars, clubs and beaches where we can feel completely free while surrounded by our rainbow family. Miami is home to one of the largest LGBTQ communities in the world and attracts more than a million gay visitors each year - now that’s a lot of queer eyes, baby!

Out of our many trips back to the gay scene of Miami there are a few places that we return to again and again. Whether it’s for a chilled drink with some friends or a night of dancing and debauchery until the wee hours, there is something for everyone in Miami’s gay scene. These are our personal favourite gay bars and clubs in Miami where we always have a good time:

Twist

Twist is without a doubt one of the best gay places in Miami and you definitely don’t need to twist our arms to visit it again, get it?! Twist is the longest-running gay bar/club in Miami, founded in 1993 and with the slogan “Never a cover - always a groove”. That means you never need to pay a cover charge to get in and enjoy your night - now that is a marketing campaign we can get behind!

Twist is also huge, with three different dance floors and seven bars spread out over a two-storey building. There are both indoor and outdoor areas to relax as well, so visiting Twist is almost like spending time at a miniature gay town! Best of all, it’s open 7 days a week with exciting events pretty much every night of the week as well. On Sundays there’s an underwear contest at midnight, there’s comedy drag on Wednesdays plus top DJs and the HOT gaiety dancers every night for your viewing pleasure…need we go on?

The overall vibe and crowd at Twist is young, fun and fiiiiine! It’s located at 1057 Washington Avenue on Miami Beach, next door to the 11th Street Diner featured in Will Smith’s “Miami” music video. Twist is open every day from 1pm until 5am.

WaterLOO

“Waterloo, I was defeated, you won the war…” oh sorry, we got distracted! And while WaterLOO in Miami might not be blasting out ABBA hits (they missed a trick there when naming it), it’s still one of our favourite gay bars in the whole city. It’s a different vibe than some places, with a rather classy feel, especially since they call themselves a “discotheque” rather than a bar or club. Make sure you hold your pinkie finger out while drinking that cocktail daaarling!

This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun though, as WaterLOO is kind of like a lounge where you can also dance and have fun. Let’s not forget all the hot topless Go-Go dancers, bartenders and DJs that you can ogle. Just keep it classy (and in your pants) ladies! On Tuesdays there’s karaoke with drag queen Tiffany Fantasia and they also host regular Ru Paul’s Drag Race viewing parties so do NOT sashay away…

WaterLOO is located at 1216 Washington Avenue in Miami Beach, just two blocks away from Twist. They’re open from 9pm until 2am every night except Saturday, when they stay open until 5am the next morning.

R House

For something a little bit different, head to Miami’s hipster Wynwood Arts District which is filled with cool street art and home to the funky gay-owned R House. It was created by chef Rocco Carulli and his husband Owen Bale as a place for enjoying food, art and music all in one spot - we love it!

R House is a fab spot for a delicious meal of American, Mediterranean, Asian and Latin dishes but the fun certainly doesn’t stop there. The art gallery gives you something beautiful to look at while you’re there, although the staff are pretty easy on the eyes as well! Friday nights are when the Fri-yay events take place, with special discounted drink prices and live DJs to keep the crown entertained.

The weekends are pumping at R House as well, with hilarious drag brunches on Saturday and Sunday which include bottomless mimosas! The Queens and music are also amazing, then later on Saturday night is the biggest party night with guest DJs keeping you up dancing till all hours.

R House is located at 2727 NW 2nd Ave, Miami and is open Wednesday to Thursday from 3pm - 10pm, on Friday from 3pm - 3am, Saturday from midday - 3am and Sunday from 11.30am - 9pm.

Palace

Palace Bar’s slogan is “Every Queen needs a palace” and honey, you should us wearing crowns! Every gay visitor to Miami needs to come to Palace to bow down and worship at the number one gay restaurant/bar in the city. It’s been going strong since the 80s and is THE place to see the most glamorous drag queens in Florida.

As well as the Palace bar where you can enjoy craft cocktails, tasty dishes, music and drag shows, there’s also the Palace cafe where the legendary weekend drag brunches are held. On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays there are two different showings (at 11am and 2pm) where you will be entertained and absolutely roasted by the fierce queens! The food ain’t half bad either, with fluffy pancakes, French toast that even my fussy Frenchman enjoyed, potato hash and, of course, bottomless mimosas.

Palace is located at 1052 Ocean Drive (right by the beach!) and is open every day from 10am until 3am (Sunday - Wednesday) or 4am (Thursday - Saturday). Don’t miss out on their Happy Hours from Monday to Friday between 5pm - 7pm.

Azucar

Look, if you haven’t had your fill of fierce drag queens or you just like to stay up LATE partying, then Azucar nightclub fits the bill perfectly. This is a gay Latin nightclub in the heart of Miami’s Little Havana district where you might need to brush up on your Spanish skills to properly understand the filth those ladies are slinging your way!

Azucar hosts regular fun events, from drag wars to cabaret, karaoke to ‘normal’ party nights like “extreme Thursdays” and “crazy Fridays”. Pretty much every night that they’re open features some form of drag show and the drag contests are just the thing if you’ve always wanted to get in touch with your feminine persona.

Since Azucar means sugar in Spanish, people often say a night at Azucar Miami is sweet as sugar, and we certainly can’t disagree. The vibe here is unabashedly wild and carefree. Azucar is located at 2301 SW 32nd Avenue and is open from Thursday- Sunday between 10.30pm and 5am.

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Mjolnir

Like many of the recent Marvel Cinematic Universe films, LGBTQ+ fans awaited the release of Thor: Love and Thunder in open anticipation of the inclusivity that both Marvel and Disney had promised. However, the fans were only setting themselves up for disappointment when the film was finally released.

Despite passionate assurances from studio heads to key actors, Thor: Love and Thunder was NOT spectacularly gay. It wasn’t even that good…

Premiere Night Promises

A bolt of lightning cuts across a rainbow on a dark and stormy night.

Lightning bold across the sky

Photo by Bill D.

Standing on the red carpet at the London Premiere of the film, director and actor Taika Waititi and fellow cast members Natalie Portman and Tessa Thompson were offered up the inevitable question: “How gay is the film?

Amidst some laughter from the crowds, Waititi gestured towards Portman to respond. The actress (who plays Thor’s love interest, Jane Foster, throughout the franchise) raised the microphone to her lips and thought for a moment, before delivering a quiet yet fateful: “So gay!

Barely a moment had passed before the gathered fans went wild and Taika Waititi gave his own verdict: “Super gay!”. Tessa Thompson made no statement on the ‘gayness’ of the film, instead opting to swing her microphone around suggestively. As more cheers erupted, a second round of “super gay” slipped out of Waititi’s mouth, before he urged the fans to enjoy the film.

Thor: Love and Thunder’s LGBTQ+ Potential

Thor’s movie-goers were definitely hyped up for a gay extravaganza and they had a specific character in mind. The fan-favorite Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson, stumbled her way into the MCU during Thor’s third film, Ragnarok. The Asgardian warrior won many people over with her wit, sarcasm, and pure badassery.

After the events of Avengers: Endgame *spoilers*, Thor Odinson gives up his claim to the throne of Asgard and names Valkyrie as king in his stead. This left many fans excited to see what would become of the character, especially after certain revelations were made at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con:

“As a new king, she has to find her queen. So that’ll be her first order of business.”

With these words, Tessa Thompson threw her LGBTQ+ fans into a frenzy, with heavy expectations for the then-upcoming fourth installment of the Thor films. Indeed, in an interview with the LA Times, shortly before the film's release, Tessa Thompson was asked to comment on the sexuality of her character. She responded with several promising remarks, including “there’s a lot of folks that are righteously very hungry for that representation to exist in these movies, as am I”.

*Warning: spoilers ahead!*

So, How Gay Was Thor 4?

To put it simply: not gay at all. Not only did Valkyrie end up without a fabulous new queen, her non-heteronormative sexuality only got the barest mention (a brief line about a previous, now dead, girlfriend). Valkyrie may have made bedroom eyes at some pretty ladies before an action scene spoils the moment, but that’s about as much as we get.

The film does get some credit for introducing a trans character in a minor yet significant role. Thor returns to his people (after a brief stint as a Guardian of the Galaxy) only to find out that the daughter of one of his closest (and deceased) friends is now a boy. The issue is, whether due to personal prejudice or some alien inability to grasp the concept of being transgender, it does take Thor a frustrating few moments to come to terms with the change. And to stop deadnaming.

In fact, the only concession to the queer community was Taika Waititi’s extraterrestrial character Korg finding a husband in one of the closing scenes. This heartfelt moment was somewhat underscored by the revelation that Korg’s entire species is male, meaning he had no other choice but to be ‘gay’.

This Is Not Marvel’s First Queerbaiting Attempt

Close up of an eye reflecting an unknown scene as a rainbow crosses the image.

Photo by Harry Q.

This is, by far, not the first time that LGBTQ+ fans have been sorely disappointed by the workings of Marvel and Disney. In fact, people across many social media platforms have been chiding expectant viewers for once again falling for classic queerbaiting tactics. “Being queerbaited by the MCU is like being a golden retriever with a human who always pretends to throw the ball”, one Tumblr user declared.

Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson, was the perfect moment for the MCU to introduce its first lesbian lead. Larson’s character seemed to have an intense relationship with another woman, going so far as to help raise her child (before Larson’s Carol Danvers disappeared from Earth for 6 years). Despite leaning into several romantic tropes, the status of their relationship was never fully fleshed out. However, it was also the franchise’s first female-led superhero movie, so maybe they thought that introducing her as a lesbian would make the film too awesome.

The heavily anticipated Avengers: Endgame was also slated to introduce the MCU’s ‘first gay character'. While many fans were excited, particularly as this would be the second of Larson’s appearances on screen, the big gay build-up was a massive letdown. The film’s director Joe Russo made a cameo as a blip survivor mourning the loss of his husband. A five-second throw-away scene that had no impact on the outcome of the film. Big whoop...

Even when we did see a film with a gay lead, The Eternals, there were also ten other straight leads. At that point, it just seemed more like basic probability than an attempt at pushing LGBT+ superheroes into the spotlight.

Why Can’t Disney Let Marvel Be Gay?

The big problem with allowing a few characters to be anything other than cishet is that there are still many countries in the world that outlaw homosexuality. As much as we like to think that the MCU is being made for comic book fans, we all know the purpose of the films is to make money for Disney. And without certain markets in Asia and the Middle East, Disney wouldn’t be raking in up to (and over) one billion dollars per theatrical release.

Is There Any Hope For LGBTQ+ Fans In The MCU’s Future?

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the second in the much-loved Black Panther arc, will be released in cinemas this November. The studio has confirmed that the film will contain a queer character. Actress Michaela Coel will play Aneka, a warrior, and trainer of the king’s guard. Whether or not her diversity will stand out in the film (let alone endure for more than a 10-second scene that can be easily cut) remains to be seen.


Next year’s The Marvels film, starring Brie Larson, Iman Vellani, and Lashana Lynch may offer the MCU a chance to redeem itself in the eyes of its LGBT+ fans. The studios may feel it’s finally time to offer us the heartwarming lesbian relationship between Larson’s Carol Danvers and Lynch’s Maria Rambeau that seemed to be teased in the first Captain Marvel. Don’t raise your hopes too high, though, as you may yet end up as a stubborn golden retriever waiting for a cinematic universe to finally throw that rainbow ball.