Nightlife » Bars

Palace - The Longest Running Gay Bar in Miami Beach

by Scott Holland
Monday Apr 16, 2012

I vividly remember coming down to vacation in South Beach 17 years ago, less than a year after I came out of the closet, and sitting at the Palace having breakfast with my good friend Jimmy. While eating I was thinking how wonderful it was to have a gay establishment right across from the beach. A wave of content and love of who I was took over my body. One can only imagine the tens of thousands of other stories people have about their experience(s) at The Palace, which recently celebrated their 24th anniversary. About 6 months ago they hired a new General Manager in Jerry Torres and it was a pleasure to sit down with him for this exclusive Hotspots Interview.

How does it feel to be the oldest gay bar in South Beach?

We are all very proud of what we've accomplished over the past 24 years. As the longest running gay bar in Miami Beach, The Palace has been here when South Beach was just getting its footing as one of the most fabulous gay destinations in the world and we've worked hard to continue to be the only place on Ocean Drive that the gay community can callhome.It feels great!

How has the Palace changed in the last 24 years?

Like the gay community and South Beach itself, The Palace continues to evolve; however, we've always stayed true to what makes The Palace so unique. Our drag performances are still the heart and soul of what makes us so unique. That and our location. Over the years, we have only increased the quality of our programming and the quality of our food. With the exception of Tuesday, you can see amazing shows by our fabulous drag divas every night of the week.

What is your current line-up?

We kick off our weeks with our weekly Monday night, RuPaul's Drag Race Viewing Party hosted by Season 4 contestant Latrice Royale. Wednesday nights, Noel Leon hosts a cabaret party called Elite Wednesdays. Thursday nights, Missy Mayakie Lepaige hosts Stiletto Nights. Friday nights, Latrice is back to the stage to hosts Drag Madness, and on Saturday nights we have Tiffany Fantasia hosting Drags Gone Wild. Sundays at The Palace are just huge. Our weekly Sunday brunch is always packed. Hosted by Noel Leon, the brunch includes some pretty outrageous shows, unlimited mimosas, and delicious food. Sunday afternoons at The Palace are unlike any other place in Miami Beach as we host our weekly Sunday T Dance. We have something big in the works for Tuesdays keep an eye out for it.

What is your favorite thing about working at the Palace?

My favorite thing about working at The Palace is our dedication to the community. Over the past few years, The Palace has supported the community by donating time, energy, and money to a number of organizations, including Miami Beach Gay Pride, The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Care Resource, Equality Florida, SAVE Dade, and so many others. It is great to be a part of something that is greater than yourself.

What have you changed in your short Tenure?

Since I became the General Manager of The Palace, it has really been about refining the already great formula here at The Palace. We have added Elite Wednesdays and RuPaul's Drag Race Viewing Mondays, not to mention amped up all of our regular weekly parties, as well as created bigger productions for our big events like White Party, Winter Party and Miami Beach Gay Pride. We are constantly looking for ways to provide our customers and regulars with something new and exiting!

What are your plans for the future?

I'm a very creative person and always have new ideas floating in my head. Palace gives me the opportunity to explore my ideas and create new ways to entertain our guests and make sure they have an exceptional experience. My plan from the beginning was to have shows seven days a week; we are already working on something for Tuesdays, which I think, will be a great addition to our weekly events. Renovation is in our plans for the end of the year. My goal is bigger productions for our special events with internationally known DJs and artists.

The Palace seems to get more mainstream media attention than any other gay bar, why do you think that is?

The Palace is one of those really unique places that appeal to so many types of people. Yes, we are and will always be a gay bar, but we offer something that a lot of people - gay and straight are looking for... A GREAT TIME!

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