Like a bunker in the Interzone — gay icon William Burroughs' comic/lurid dreamscape of lost leather boys — the squat bland box with glass brick windows that is Fort Dix sits amid the grit and dust of the Georgia Avenue industrial strip just west of the tracks in West Palm Beach, rainbow flag aloft. It's more appearance than reality, though, and the name's a dead giveaway, a punny homage — knowing and sassy — to those dark days of the closet, when gay men cruised the barracks and the bus station bathroom. In fact, it's (in some ways anyway) just another place where everyone knows your name: neon beer signs and other typical tavern décor on the walls, while on a quiet weeknight, the barkeep and a single customer at the bar talk about camping and campgrounds while the sounds of Family Feud come from the large-screen TV across the floor. Another, smaller TV above the bar tells a different tale — gay porn with a vintage look, a nice match for the Tom of Finland-style prints and very macho wrestling posters on the walls. You can be anything you want at Fort Dix; you just can't pretend.

13 Even

It may be considered South Florida's queer mecca, but Wilton Manors tends to swing in favor of those with something swinging between their legs. (After all, you can't spell "manor" without "man.") And while a gal can throw down at Georgie's Alibi with the best of the boys, Wilton Drive might as well be called the Sausage Strip... until you come across this little gem. 13|Even is part-restaurant, part-bar, and all about serving up good juju. Here you'll find Fiona Apple coming through the speakers at that perfect, let's-enjoy-our-conversation volume. It has a selection of suds that will make your craft beer junkie friends foam at the tap. The space glows a welcoming shade of honey, thanks to pumpkin-colored walls dotted with artwork for sale and lights crafted out of recycled Napa wine barrels (... and the occasional SEC softball tourney on TV). And while it may be a place where the girls go, that's not to say 13|Even is exclusively for women; its selection of delicious small plates paired with its extensive beer and wine menu attracts the boys and the most hetero of sexuals. Good juju does not discriminate.

Cafe 27 embodies what every biker bar should be: It's far removed from civilian life, a little rough around the edges, and absolutely massive. To find it, follow Griffin Road west until it winds down to one lane and your eyes are filled with all sky and no scrapers. Drive any farther and you're waist-deep in the Everglades (they don't call this bar "an oasis on the edge of civilization" for nothin'). It's got more than a dozen picnic benches for you and your leathery crew to lounge on as you kick back with a few buckets of beer after that 50-mile Sunday-morning joyride along U.S. 27, and two massive chickee huts with industrial fans at each corner keep the no-see-ems off your callused hands. Is that a ZZ Top look-alike or the real deal? We'll never tell.

There's a time in all of our lives when we gracefully mature from picking up strangers with three-for-ones at Capone's to actually taking someone out on this heretofore-unfamiliar thing called a date. After the kids come along, the partying doesn't end; it just moves away from YOLO. Fort Lauderdale's soccer moms and business dads still know how to live it up — but now they've got decent paychecks, loyal babysitters, connected friends... and secret hideouts. The Sun Tower Hotel, just north of the Pelican Grand, has a boring façade and anonymous name — but that's just to fake out the too-cool crowd. In the back, right on the ocean, tables are packed full of joyous parties chowing down on amazing lobster rolls or expertly grilled red snapper, while friendly worked-here-forever servers come table to table to refill the wineglasses. If kids are in tow, they can jump in the pool or munch on some of the best Angus burgers this side of Texas. Before calling it a night, the grownups might gossip about city bigwigs and jibber-jab with local young professionals who've discovered the special spot. Tomorrow, they won't be too hungover to slide into their khaki shorts and Guy Harvey T-shirts and gas up the boat. Don't fear getting to this stage of life. It happens to all of us, and if we're lucky, it happens like this.

W Fort Lauderdale
Courtesy of the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel

You know what's better than drinking in any old swimming pool? Drinking in a swimming pool while checking out the wavy Atlantic after spending a long day with skilled paws massaging your neck at the W's Bliss Spa. You'll smell of lemon and sage as you dip your toesies in the heated water at the W Hotel's pools — yes, "pools" plural. There are Eastern and Western infinity pools, so you can catch the sun rise or set with booze in hand. Wet West is open only seasonally, but it's private and thus perfect for those less interested in having the paparazzi snap a pic of their damp asses. Or you can let that booty dry off at your cushy cabana spot as you watch the Kardashians do the same on a 19-inch TV while sucking on some strawberries and surfing the web for best Fort Lauderdale restaurants using the W's free Wi-Fi. And if the heated pools aren't warm enough to make your muscles melt, there are hot tubs for a postworkout soak. Or you can just kick back in the warm water after you gorge on grub from Wet's grill or from Steak 954 downstairs. But let's say this time, you have the kids with you. How can you impress your unimpressible, internet-obsessed mini-zombies? There's a dry staircase running downstairs that cuts through one of the pools. As you walk down the steps, you can see the writhing legs of swimmers as they struggle to stay afloat. After the little ones indulge in a little peeping Tom action, they can get toasty at the fire pit, or you can dance to embarrass them as the DJ spins you straight into the night.

Sunset Grill at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek

Just a few steps beyond the automated glass doors that exit the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek rests the tiki-bar-themed Sunset Grill, a much-appreciated breath of fresh air when one is looking to escape the bells, whistles, lights, loud announcements, and smoke-filled rooms that come with the usual casino experience. Here, bartender Kristal Fletcher will greet you with her smile and friendly demeanor, happy to see you, and genuinely interested in how your week is going. This place isn't about fancy garnishes, mango/tangerine/mint-infused cocktails, or dry-ice magic tricks. This is about good, old-fashioned, personable hospitality and great service, a rare commodity these days. Need to know what band is playing that night at the bar? She doesn't need to check a schedule, and she'll tell you honestly how they are. Never heard of a certain craft beer on tap? She'll let you know if it's worth a try. If there is something you need, she'll make that happen for you and not make you feel like you're being too needy. And most important, she makes a mean drink.

Two Georges at the Cove

Happy Hour used to mean something. It was a refuge, a place you could hide from the pressures of the outside world. A place you could get away from the wife, the husband, the kid, the boss, the dog... the world. But somewhere along the way, that all went to poop. Now, happy hour means half-priced appetizers in a stiff wooden booth, sandwiched between crying babies and coupon-wielding old ladies. But what if I told you that there's a place where Happy Hour still exists? What if I told you there's a place overlooking the deep-blue waters of the Intracoastal Waterway where you can get a beer for two bucks? What if I told you that if you ate a polar bear's liver, you'd die due to its toxic levels of vitamin A? Well, it's all true (even the polar bear stuff), and that place is called Two Georges at the Cove. Monday through Friday, from 4 to 7 p.m., the sun shines down on Two Georges' outdoor bar, and the boats come drifting in to dock. The eclectic crowd smiles, drinks, and inevitably drops their sunglasses in the water. I've never met either George, but I love them both as if they were my own George. From the bottom of our thirsty hearts, thanks, Georges.

Adam Foster expertly weaves together the finest deep house to beat its way through BroCo, and thus, he's also one of the busiest dudes in town. You could call him the king of the Las Olas dance scene. He's the overlord of sounds (i.e., entertainment director) for the Restaurant People who own S3, YOLO, Vibe, and O Lounge. In this capacity, he hosts a wild selection of blowouts for Halloween, New Year's, Carnival, even for Exxxotica and Maxim. As a DJ, he's busy ruling the road, playing gigs from San Diego to his hometown, Philly, to Grand Central Miami and Casa de Campo in the DR. Wearing his collaboration crown, he thrives as part of the Twilight Notes DJ collective that launched the popular night Dialect, once based out of the Museum of Art|Fort Lauderdale. He's a member of Prom Night with DJ Todd Stylez, crafting nü-disco and indie tracks, and works with the Urban Tribal Project and Luciano Stazzone on world-fusion, live electronica. In addition to working on really engaging mixes of his own, he's planning a traveling summertime pool party called Nightswim in Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Whatever way you look at it, Adam Foster is the emperor of EDM as it comes to you from Fort Laudy.

The Black Rose Irish Pub

Boston has watering holes inspired by Irish drinkers, and Boca has a bar based on the boozing of Bostonians in the Black Rose Irish Pub. The place has the brick, it's got the green on St. Paddy's Day, it's got the wooden bar, it's got the name. It's a frat guy's dream with tons of flat-screen TVs for UFC fights, a cornhole court for fuck's sake, and darts. But the one thing that's absolutely perfect for everyone is the karaoke. Whether you believe in life after love or you're having a total eclipse of the heart, you can sing like a freaking champ or like a total dweeb at this Mizner Park-area gem. The room will cheer you on as you yelp and screech, because that's what friends at a Boston pub do when liquid courage allows you to act a fool while expressing your inner Frank Sinatra. Face it, people. There's nothing better than karaoke for a broken heart, a bachelorette party, or just a regular old Thursday night. Come after 10 p.m. with your pipes prepped.

You'd hope the band that plays songs titled "Negrodamus and His White Devils," "Crack Rock 'n' Roll," and "Headless Body Topless Bar" would bring some action to the stage. And you would be correct. Sandratz sweats out the filth of punk and smooths it over with the lighthearted strut of surf. Onstage, they whip the crowd into a frothy mess. The band consists of Ian Brown, Ryan J. Black, Jesus Arteaga, Casidy Moser, and Chuck Loose, who heads up Iron Forge Press and made your favorite local band T-shirt and that poster you got when the Dwarves played Churchill's. They're a South Florida outfit but based mostly out of Fort Laudy. They recently readied the crowd for the Dead Milkmen at Grand Central, disproving the who-gives-a-shit saying "Punk is dead." Punk's just a little older, and that makes it wiser in the ways of party and performance.

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