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Best Lesbian/Gay/Straight/Undecided Bar Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2001 - K&E's II Doors Down

Elaine Roberts wants to make one thing perfectly clear: K&E's II Doors Down is not a lesbian bar. It's not that Roberts is lesbian-averse. After all she and co-owner Kathy Spatenga have been together -- both personally and professionally -- for more than 20 years. It's just that this is a new millennium and it's time to quit classifying things. "I don't want to be labeled a lesbian bar, because we aren't one. We're an alternative-lifestyle bar. We're a straight bar. We're a gay bar. We're a lesbian bar. We're just a bar. We're for all kinds of people," she says. "What is a gay bar, anyway? Are we running around naked with our wangs hanging out?" Hardly. This bar, which justifiably calls itself the "best-kept secret in Lake Worth," is a classic neighborhood joint -- the kind of place where you walk in, order a $2 draft, and instantly feel comfortable. Located just across Dixie Highway from Lake Worth's recently revitalized downtown, K&E's is often overlooked by those rushing to crowd into upstart imitators along Lake and Lucerne avenues. And if clubbers overlook the bar, it's understandable. Located in an old storefront, K&E's doesn't look like much from the outside. But inside, its décor borders on quaint, including the handmade pine bar, which Kathy designed and Elaine's brother-in-law built, and the small dining room, complete with paisley-print tablecloths, low lights, and framed posters on the walls. Elaine says the bar got its reputation as a lesbian bar because it's the successor to Kathy's Bar, a private, women-dominated club that Spatenga operated from 1979 to 1986. But when Roberts and Spatenga opened K&E's eight years ago, Elaine said she wanted to redefine "gay pride" and attract a diverse clientele. She got her wish. And it's easy to see why: The drinks are affordable, the food is good, and the conversation is lively. What more could any bargoer -- gay, straight, or in between -- want?

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