When it’s time to get back into traveling again, we know we may want to just ease back into it … and that’s what we just did with our recent trip to Miami Beach.
Luckily my birthday is just a little post Spring Break so this year, after everyone left Florida to go home, I broke out of the four walls of my Fort Lauderdale home and did a beginning of the week staycation, just 30 miles south to Miami Beach.
Where to Stay –
When it comes to choosing a spot to rest my rump, I always have a conversation with myself. I was not looking to be in my room that much so I did not need one right on the beach overlooking the ocean but close would be nice, it was just me so I did not need more than one bed or a lot of room, and I wanted to be near the gay nightlife just in case I decided to see how South Beach was showing its gays and its rainbow guests a good time.
The Moxy brand was a perfect for me so I chose the Moxy, South Beach, Miami. I’ve known about the brand from friends that have stayed at their other locales around the country. The rooms are well-appointed, which honestly means they are just the right size to sleep, use the bathroom, store your stuff and then do what you are in that city to do, go out and explore and enjoy. I’m not going to say the rooms are small for they are just the right size for what you need when you are supposed to be out and about.
What is also great about this Moxy is that once you leave your room, you have many great things at the hotel before you leave the grounds. I enjoyed:
- a drink at Bar Moxy and worked it out with the bartender that the phone country code for Cuba and a phone number made up the designs on the ceiling.
- an amazing pork burrito from Los Buenos – an all-day taco stand and bodega in the lobby.
- a refreshing spicy margarita and grilled skirt steak at the Serena rooftop restaurant, which is actually on the second floor rooftop, same rooftop as but separated from the pool.
And that’s what I did for my first day at the Moxy. For the second day, I was even more of a slug and stayed on the rooftop deck, my room was on the 7th floor, rooftop was just above me. Yeah, I was there from 10 am to 6 pm, but I did go down stairs once and that’s when I ate the Los Buenos burrito. The Moxy had what I needed for my staycation. I could have walked to the beach which was just 2 blocks away, I could have borrowed one of the bikes from the hotel and rode around South Beach, but nope, I didn’t. Staycation was a relax-cation.
Where to Eat –
I did not venture out much from the hotel for food (see above) but there were two places I did eat at away from the Moxy. The first place I’ll mention was actually the second place I ate at as I wanted a memorable meal for my birthday dinner, the second night of my visit to south Beach.
il Pastaiolo was my choice for my birthday meal. I made a reservation (recommended) and was seated in the parking lot. I mean, I was seated on the makeshift and comfortable outdoor seating/eating area. So many restaurants have been fortunate enough to have their cities allow them to capitalize on a parking spot or three outside of their businesses. I always loved in the Quartier Latin in Montreal, loved it in our September visit to Savannah, Georgia. Did I mention it was my birthday? So yes. I had a good meal – a bottle of Argentinian Malbec, burrata for an appetizer, lamb chops for the main, and cheese cake for dessert. And everything was on a red plate making this Aries – fire sign baby and red lover right at home.
The second place I’ll mention was my first night’s venture away from the Moxy and I was going to go eat at a gay bar. There’s no shame in this any more right? I looked at the Palace Bar website and saw that they were doing shows on a Monday night so I ventured out. I also saw they had a great mention and layout of the bar’s chef, too, so they were committed to good food, right? After all, it is called Palace Bar and Restaurant.
I didn’t make a reservation, but was lucky enough to find a cute little table to see the live show and to enjoy the view of the very fit staff walking around in their tight shorts and unbuttoned shirts. I settled down to the tuna tartare which was amazing and the caesar salad, they added some chicken to it for me. All was washed down with an adult sized strawberry margarita. The evening was actually pretty charming and perfect with the drag performances spaced out nicely and the food and service both items that I would come back again for in a heartbeat.
Where the Gay Boys Are –
I had done Twist before. If you have not, GO! It is a great deal of fun and there are boys boys boys and men men men all around and go-gos galore in the little red room. I was just not in the mood for the crowds and I didn’t want to feel like I had to be prepared to be seen. I just wanted to go and be with my kind.
The Palace Bar and Restaurant, or also known as Palace South Beach, may not be a place to meet someone for the first time by chance, unless your tables are touching or your pee breaks happen at the same time, but it is still a great place to go and just be part of the gay culture in South Beach. As mentioned, I would love to go back again and enjoy some time with friends, enjoy the food, enjoy the staff, and enjoy the drag performances.
The other venue I wanted to check out was Nathan’s Bar. After my temperature was checked at the door, I walked into a great welcoming space. I was reminded of some of the Columbus, Ohio gay bars I had been in. Direct, welcoming, and fun. There were not a great deal of frills and gimmicks present at Nathan’s Bar and I loved that. the semi eclectic style that darted in and out of smaller seating areas/cubicles along one wall while the very well-equipped bar ran along the left side of the space. Out back, our favorite decoration, disco balls hung from the ceiling over a larger gathering area that could also be the dancefloor. I was alone so between looking around I was kept company by the music videos playing around the room. Nathan’s is not a South Beach-ified space and I like that. There’s enough of South Beach outside and there’s plenty of South Beach over at Twist, so Nathan’s is a great escape, shelter, balance and I welcomed that.
It was great to get out of my home for a mini staycation or my birthday. The 30-mile trip to Miami was what I needed, received, and loved. The laziness of rooftop lounging paired with varied succulent food options and energetic drag entertainment within a five minute walk from my hotel was almost too easy (see map below). I need to look into more of these sanity stays. Thank you Moxy, Palace, Nathan’s, and Eduardo Ricardo from il Pastaiolo for the break I needed.
Hotel Images from the Moxy, Palace performer @nickymonet from palace Instagram.