Monday, November 21, 2011

Queer Geography: from the Closet to the Biscayne Corridor

After a weekend of carousing I think I can say that the Gays have finally moved on, or off the beach that is. With the closing of 321 (which I still called Laundry Bar) it's official, there are more gay hangouts off the beach than on.  The fading 90's idea of Miami Gays as buff South Beach boys clubbing at night and tanning by day has given away to hip professionals driving BMW's to posh strip clubs and driving home to Donna Reed bliss in Miami Shores, Belle Meade and Morningside. 

It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that almost all of the neighborhoods along the Biscayne corridor from Downtown to Aventura have become areas where the gays are gentrifying, moving up and settling down. Affordable housing, good shopping, easy access to the airport and downtown make North Miami, El Portal and Miami's Mimo district all magnets for those gentrifying gays. As you move north the crowds get decidedly older and wealthier, as you move south they get decidedly younger and prettier. Those very gays who used to sashay down the aisles in daisy dukes at the Publix in South Beach can now be seen with their partners in khakis actually buying produce at the Publix in Miami Shores. 

It used to be that the gay bars would attract gay people to the neighborhood, in Miami the opposite is true. Now that the "gay area" is firmly established, new business are springing up to accommodate them. Moving south to north along Biscayne Blvd. there are several. Starting with Discotekka, which while fun, is decidedly young....caters to the 18 to 23 year old crowd and those who prey on them.  A hop up the street is Creative Male which sells underwear that should only be on guys aged 18 to 23. There's Midtown Mall with of course there is Target('nuff said) and then the design district. You can always substitute the word "Gay" wherever you see the word "design". Driving north there is Details in case you need "pretty things" for your house.At the 55th Street Station: Details, Soyka, Sushi Siam, Idol's Gym and Andiamo Pizza are all gay friendly and welcoming. There is even an unofficial Friday gay happy hour at Soyka's for GWM (guys with money).

Further north there is the ignominious Jamboree bar, a Miami staple for 30 years, if sleaze is your style(or mood) you are welcome here. A few more blocks and you reach Magnum, a very fun piano bar, where professional singers who work the cruise lines put on a great show for old Jewish ladies and middle aged gay men. A few blocks away is Sandals Club for drag shows and lots of guys from Hialeah in gold chains. Something for every taste I guess.

The two new additions are Eros, which is actually a very nice neighborhood bar located just north of Miami's "Mimo District" on 81st and an offshoot of the famed Atlanta strip club: Swinging Richards located across the street from Filene's Basement on 174th.  I went to Swinging Richards and it is unique in two ways: firstly the strippers have been recruited from all the local health clubs so if you ever wanted to see your personal trainer in the "full monty" Swinging Richard's is your place. On a side note: I saw Dennis Rodman there last Saturday giving male strippers dollar bills....whatever.

So there you are folks, whether you want to invest in real-estate, cater to a gay clientele or just be where the hipsters are: Any neighborhood along Miami's beautiful Biscayne Boulevard.