The Manor in Wilton Manors: Like a Gay Dave & Buster's -- With Gargoyles

The Manor in Wilton Manors is self-billed as a complex. And that rings true — mainly because it has a complex: total schizophrenia. Taking up a whopping 16,000 square feet of floor space, the Manor consists of a martini bar, restaurant, lounge, sports bar, dance club, piano bar, and (whew!) coffee bar. It's open for lunch beginning at 3 p.m., serves brunch on Sundays at 10 a.m., offers dinner between 6 and 10 p.m., and morphs into a nightclub after 10. It hosts drag shows , brunches, and cabaret nights. Take February 5 as just one example of the extreme scheduling going on here: It's advertising both a Pirates of the Caribbean theme and a victory party for Miss Noche Latina on the same night.

Walking into the Manor is like entering a cross between the set of a Twilight movie and Liberace's rumpus room. It's supposed to be a campy version of an English manor. The décor is an eclectic mix of cupids, gargoyles, pool tables, gothic candelabras on salmon-colored walls, and standard pub tables. The main dining area/martini lounge/coffee bar are all combined into one open space. It's sort of like a loft apartment, where you make imaginary "rooms" via furniture layout. The martini bar serves as a central focal point, with dining-room seating to the right of the bar and a coffee counter, lounge area, and pool tables to the left. The Manor's large two-story nightclub area is divided from the restaurant by the kind of inflatable wall you would find in a hotel ballroom.

Sitting at the nearly empty martini bar at 9:30 on a Thursday night, my friend and I were treated to music videos that mashed up soft gay porn, Lady Gaga, and Michael Bublé. If I had to guess what theme the Manor was going for, I'd have to say a gay Dave & Buster's.

The seared scallop tapas ($11.95) was large enough to be an entrée.
Candace West
The seared scallop tapas ($11.95) was large enough to be an entrée.

Location Info

Map

The Manor Complex

2345 Wilton Drive
Wilton Manors, FL 33305

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Wilton Manors

Details

The Manor, 2345 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors. Call 954-626-0082, or click here.

The minds (and wallets) behind this behemoth of food and drink are heavy-hitters in the gay nightlife scene. Real estate developers Paul Hugo and Brett Tannenbaum are past owners of several nightclubs, including the Empire in Orlando and Fort Lauderdale clubs the Saint, 825, and the Coliseum. The Manor isn't their first foray into food either. Tannenbaum owned Healthnuts Cafe, and Hugo had Hugo's Deli. Other management team members are nightlife promoter and marketer Gary Santis, who was also behind the Coliseum and, in the '90s, the South Beach megaclub Warsaw; and general manager Jason Tamanini, who was past manager of Halo Lounge in South Beach and Washington, D.C. Executive chef Cedric Washington has been with the Manor since it opened its doors December 16, 2009.

With a team like this, it's no surprise that the Manor can get slammed during its dance parties and private events. But the venue is also trying to be a fine-dining destination. Its website advertises "five start [sic] service with gourmet cuisine." So I wanted to check out the restaurant.

Our cute bartender seemed pretty happy to see us, and I got the distinct vibe that the Manor is female-friendly. I asked for a martini menu and was presented with a spiral-bound minibook. I really just wanted one damned good martini, so I ordered the Perfect Dirty Martini ($10), which came chilled with a few ice slivers floating on top. It was "perfectly dirty," with just the right amount of olive juice and served with three olives. The 007 Martini ($10), made with Bacardi "O" rum, orange juice, and a splash of 7-Up, could have been a sugary nightmare but was made with a light touch and actually tasted like a martini rather than a tropical welcome drink.

The second we sat at our heavy wooden pub table, our server (surprise — a cute guy, wearing black pants and a tight T-shirt!) was already pushing dessert. "You have to have the fried Oreos!" he exclaimed. "It's redneck gourmet!"

Perusing the spiral-bound menu literally took about 20 minutes. The book — I mean menu — is broken into sections: tapas, salads, entrées, and desserts. Selections range from Southwestern and Asian-inspired to American comfort food. The wine list is heavy on American wines, with most bottles ranging from $25 to $40 and glasses averaging $8. I ordered the house Chardonnay.

When it came time to order, I asked our server to bring a selection of their best plates, because I'm the kind of person who can spend an hour deciding which toothpaste to buy, and this menu, with its expansive choices, was making me nervous.

He started with tapas, which ranged from $4.95 to $11.95. On a high note, the Southwestern vegetarian flatbread ($7.95) was crispy, light, and topped with fresh tomatoes, black beans, and corn. The sweet smokiness of the chipotle mayonnaise brought out the flavors in the vegetables. Coconut shrimp ($9.95) were plump and juicy, and the breading had plenty of sweet coconut. The orange dipping sauce wasn't too sweet and had a nice tanginess from horseradish.

Other tapas didn't fare so well. Applewood-bacon-wrapped chilies ($9.95) managed to be both soggy and dried out at the same time. True, the applewood bacon was crisp, but the chili seemed to have soaked up the bacon grease. The dish was accompanied by a cilantro lime crème, which sounds like it would have a nice citrus tang but actually tasted like ranch dressing.

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48 comments
SuperstarNYC
SuperstarNYC

This review must have been written a while ago. I read this review before going since I was visiting a friend from out of town. It was horrible!!! The server so very cute and the look of the place was great. The vibe sucked. It was 9:00 on a Wednesday and almost totally empty (a big sign there's a problem). The one thing this review got right was the that my entree tasted like something dressed up from the frozen food section. I've had a lot of good dinners in Wilton Manors at Galanga, Rosies, Tee Jay and others...I can't imagine why this place is still open besides the owners just want to punish themselves. Must be costing someone a fortune to keep the doors of this hole open!

jason
jason

The Manor is nothing special

Shopqnmom
Shopqnmom

Great review! I appreciate the honesty and humor. The thorough descriptions placed me in the center of it all. As I visualized the scene, I was saddened by how someone's great idea was turned into a bust by the Long Island Iced Teas being served nearby. Perhaps promoting their martinis to draw in more patrons on Thursday nights will shake up some competition!

Dan
Dan

I went there last night for dinner - and it was awsome -place was packed. Loved the new Friday

Yak
Yak

I'm jonesing for those scallops and a cool dirty martini talked about in the review! Yummmm

Evan
Evan

Apparently it's all or nothing with some of the commenters of this review. The reviewer seemed to be honest and fair in her assessments based on her individual experience. She was reviewing her dining experience, not her experience of it as an Entertainment Complex. When something was enjoyed, she said she enjoyed it and lavished it with praise. When she didn't enjoy something, she explained candidly why she felt the way she did. If the Creme Brulee she was served was a little runny, why shouldn't she say that? What if I like runny Creme Brulee? If she thought the meatloaf tasted like a TV dinner, I'm glad she told me, I'll order a different entree. I read no ulterior motives in her assessment unlike many of the comments posted who seem to think that saying anything but rave reviews is going to get this Complex voted off American Idol. I appreciated the detail at describing the environment, as well as the humor. Even after rereading the review, I didn't see any lines suggesting people stay away from this restaurant. She actually suggested a menu item and slight tweak in ambiance to help increase its competitive edge in the gay-dining market in Wilton Manors. She made me want to experience this establishment, order the scallops and fired oreos, and most surprisingly, read an entire review. Nice job.

Jerry
Jerry

New Times - Always entertaining to read - The Manor is awsome - I go there to dance salsa on Saturday nights. Its really one of the few places to do so in Fort Lauderdale. Its an awsome scene. I haven't eaten there but heard the food was pretty decent.

Martina
Martina

Really great entertaining review, makes me want to check out this place and its martinis!! .... and barkeepers :)) !

John
John

My wife and her girlfriend went to the Manors a few weeks ago for Ladies Night and said the place was dead.

Smdrpepper
Smdrpepper

I drive past this place all the time. Always wondered how it was but being straight, always got that vibe I would not be exactly welcome.

KevinH
KevinH

NOT JUST Broward-Palm Beach...........Best Gay or Lesbian Bar in Florida Wilton Manor’s mega entertainment complex is a massive, one stop gay party shop. Mixing the likes of Epic Nightclub, Ivy Ultra Lounge, a restaurant and an outdoor lounge, The Manor Complex blends multiple identities as a welcomed alternative to Wilton Manors “hometown” experience. No doubt the gargantuan grounds attract every demographic known to man, and free entry will lure you into WilMa’s hyper-funhouse, especially packed on Thursday lesbian night and for Friday & Saturday dance parties.

Steveb
Steveb

eric barton why dont you go experience the food at the manor and give your own review, everyone i have talked to says the food is amazing and priced very affordable, and i aggree.

The Pulp Blog
The Pulp Blog

So far it seems the comments have unanimously trounced our review. That's understandable, because I know a lot of people dig this place. But in this piece, we're reviewing The Manor simply for the experience of dining there. If you know much about the place, you've probably heard mixed reviews of the food, and I think the article here nails that aspect.

But if we're talking about The Manor as a bar or entertainment complex, well then New Times is in agreement that the place works. In fact, we named it Best Gay Bar in our Best of Broward-Palm Beach edition in 2010: http://www.browardpalmbeach.co...

So my point: It's a great bar, but The Manor's food could be improved.

MoniqueEller
MoniqueEller

I have a slightly bias opinion of this place due to the fact that I am an ex employee, But I gotta tell u if you look at their team, as stated in this review, there is NONE BETTER!. That's what they do! They surround themselves with the best, and it shows! I am a 46 year old woman that is a single parent. I had to leave due to personal reasons. These owners took a personal interest to see that myself and my daughter were well even to this date 8 months after I left. I wish them the best.

InvestCap
InvestCap

I am not sure who wrote this article about the manor, but I am sorry, I don's see it your way. Yes you are entitled to your opinion, but c'mon, there is so much going on there all the time. I know it must have taken a lot of ballz to do this venture in this economic climate, but to the people who did this, You did it right. I travel a lot for a living, I am in a different city twice a month, I have NEVER seen a place that is so well thought out and well put together. They (whomever the owners are) surely put a lot of effort into this incredible joint.

Kenny J.
Kenny J.

The Manor is far from what this joke of a critic is describing it as. They don't say they are a "gourmet" restaurant, and nor do they play "soft-core porn" on the TV's. It is branded as a COMPLEX which is part of the name. Last time I checked the dictionary, the definition of a complex is: A place consisting of many different and connected parts. So, if you are a normal person, walking into a place called "THE MANOR COMPLEX", you would automatically assume that you are entering a place that would supply you with a variety of options. If you want to make a visit to a nursing home, then go do that. But if you want to experience a amazing mixture of live music, excellent drinks and food, and a fun nightclub, then you go to the Manor. The food is AMAZING, the staff is AMAZING and the entire complex is AMAZING. Your so called review needs to be checked, because it sounds like you were awfully confused on what it was that you actually experienced.

SharonS
SharonS

I wish one, just one other bar in WM was as upscale as these people have given our community, I am a lesbian who has lived in WM for 8 years now, there is NOWHERE I feel as comfortable going to as the MANOR! (and Blue Moon to get laid)

Marcinla
Marcinla

What a great Place, I loved the food, I think this food critic had the wrong place.

Steveb
Steveb

as a lover of live music, the manor is the only glbt venue in the state that offers live bands weekly. they also have awsome wine and apps. sundays they have have an amazing piano night-the only cabaret in town

Jo-Anne
Jo-Anne

 This is the only place a girl can bring her family for a meal and feel comfortable. I think the staff treats you like a friend or parents - no stuffiness

riby84
riby84

Omg did you actually go to the Manor i feel that you are way off base and need to rethink your position as a gay male who lives in Fort lauderdale i think that its nice to finally have a place to go that makes me proud to gay not a place that smells of cheap beer and cigarets the Manor offers everything that a gay male or female would like to have in a city that is so prominently gay and lesbian i am offended that you would make such statements and the Manor is a great place to hangout and have a good time and have a great meal

Shineylewis
Shineylewis

WoW, I could not believe this person has had such a view on this place. "Fine Dining" where does that come from, the prices are extremely reasonable and the atmosphere is great! What more could you ask for?

MAYORGARY
MAYORGARY

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU MANOR, YOU ARE WHAT WE HAVE WANTED AND DESERVED IN WILTON MANORS FOR SUCH A LONG TIME. I BELIEVE YOU HAVE SET A NEW STANDARD IN OUR GREAT CITY.

Ken
Ken

Give me a break - This Article is a joke - The Manor had a rough start, but come on they do more community events and help so many organizations. The Food is night and day from a year ago - to comment her last statement - lost the fine-dining pretense.....what gives you fine dining about the place? That its clean? lol -

Mastafokkah
Mastafokkah

The only truth to this food review was about the size ofthe place and the fried oreos

Silverdaddi
Silverdaddi

I am sorry, I don't agree with the food critic. I have had many meals at the Manor and have had really good, friendly, delicious food. I even had a 50th birthday party there last month, and the management was great. It's sad that the food business is so subjective. Some like, some don't. All I can say is a lot of effort went into this place, the owners are there every houre and they take pride in the place. It's more than I can say about some of the other establishments in the area.

Phil
Phil

I just saw this - Was this lady on crack? The manor never claims its fine dining lol - I was there Sunday for an amazing dinner for my birthday. The severs were fun and everyone was really nice. I saw an amazing show and left very happy. I just don't get food reviews -this is the same paper that had GAYBIES on the cover - the most un-gay friendly publication out there.

Djsupastar
Djsupastar

I agree wilh Louis, I think the Manor has done a wonderful job morphing themselves into a mega comples with something always going on. I have been going to the places these guys have been involved in since I am a teen. They are always TOP NOTCH. Looking forward to the next venture they do!

Stevieb
Stevieb

Kudos to all the guys at the manor, U ROCK!

LouisReme
LouisReme

I have been to the Manor every week for the past 5 months, I have to say thet have done a full circle from when they opened. I enjoy everything about the place..........Thank You

Jjsymons
Jjsymons

Elliot, I agree with you, I have had the pleasure of both Dining and partying at the Manor. I believe this is a GREAT new addition to Wilton Manors. I usually do not post on these sites, but I feel that these comments must be coming from the competition, and the write up seems to be bias towards advertisers. In looking a little deeper and reading some of the other reviews, I could tell the good reviews are all for advertisers in New Times. A word to the wise, ADVERTISE BEFORE YOU INVITE A FOOD CRITIC!!!

Elliot
Elliot

You all must be crazy - The food is night and day from the day they opened. It is amazing now - it is a complete turnaround from the start. Lets stop being "typical" haters and realize they have thousands of people there weekly and provide amazing entertainment and are the only gay nightclub in Fort Lauderdale. They have THE best martinis in the city. ACCTGUY is talking out of his butt -

Jasonjay1818
Jasonjay1818

I had brought guests from out of town to the Manor,the parking,service and drinks all sucked.My guests were totally unhappy with the staff.Total waste of time and money.

guest
guest

I had two friends go there a few weeks back. They sat at the bar for a while and NO bartender served them. They walked out and mentioned the lack of service to the doorman. His comment was "you are too OLD"This attitude is a sure way to to put this operation out of business VERY soon. We do not need a place like this in our community.

FTLMATTHEW
FTLMATTHEW

I must agree with "acctguy" Although my partner and I have been known to stumble down that way once or twice past years just to show some out of town friends it is pretty much a trip wasted!

AcctGuy
AcctGuy

The Manors will be closing this year. They are simply fulfilling the contracted obligations to entertainers now and will close soon as part of the exit agreement with the property owner.Visitors take notice: STAFF IS ARROGANT AND EXTREMELY RUDE! When will the owners of these gay establishments realize that their business depends upon the satifaction of the clientele? Make us happy or we don't want you here. It is because of us that you all receive paychecks afterall."Dave & Busters"... I think not!

Scripscan
Scripscan

I'm sharing this review on Facebook so that others are aware of the ambience and cuisine offered at the Manor. Let's hope the Manor sits up and pays attention to what is said here.

Mmik70
Mmik70

Drinks are expensive and weak

lillias
lillias

This was funny, though it kept me reading.

The Pulp Blog
The Pulp Blog

Yeah, good idea, Steveb. After all this debate, I think I will.

Chuck
Chuck

Maybe you were just being a Debbie Downer... Wa waaa

Rob
Rob

That is a JOKE... You are crazy dude

1stUnited
1stUnited

What an A**Hole, I an so sick and tired of ppl saying this place is going bankrupt, they are closing, yadda,yadda,yadda. All I keep seeing is world class DJ's, constant remodeling after just like a year of being open, Smells Great (unlike some others, that mop their carpet) Ya, I am sure they are closing, but 1st lets dump a lot of money in the place. GET REAL PEOPLE.

Charlie W.
Charlie W.

Oh? I guess "ACCTGUY" in the name says it all on this one... You must know everything about the financial situation. Well, you are far from correct. Put your glasses on and check over your "imaginary financial documents". What a joke!

Shineylewis
Shineylewis

Where do you come off stating something like this? Do you have the inside knowledge to the financial position of the Manor. I would bet you work for another similarly located restaurant or night club that has been financially hurt by the Manor opening.

 
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