“It’s not like it once was,” Robert, owner of the Icebox Cafe said to me, while I inhaled the best key lime pie I’ve ever tasted at his restaurant. (His pastries were featured on Oprah so you know I’m not lying.)
It’s true, back in the 90’s and 2000’s there more than double the number of gay bars in South Beach. For whatever the reason, likely a combination of being priced out of the city and apps like Grindr discouraging young queers from going out, a number of Miami Beach gay bars have shut down in the past decade.
Still, that doesn’t take away from how welcoming and inclusive the city is to the gay community. First off, everyone was gay. Walking down the street it was very clear. Guys are checking each other out nonstop. And while there might not be as many gay-specific spots, it feels like nearly ever restaurant or bar I went to was gay-friendly, still catering to the gay community in cute, subtle ways, from having a rainbow pride flag outside, some queer artwork inside, or having muscular gay bartenders who flirt with you.
I started my stay at The Confidante Miami Beach, which looked eerily familiar to me because it was actually where Dua Lipa shot her music video for “New Rules”.