Tired from laying out in the hot sun all day at the beach? Wash off the SPF, shake the sand off your feet and head over to The Palace.
Located on the corner of Ocean Drive and 12th Street, the outdoor cafe and bar is perfect for hanging out and watching people. Be sure to ask for the daily drink specials that go on all day and be on the lookout for drag show performances.
The only gay bar on Ocean Drive has limited space. Tables line the sidewalk at street level. People do come and eat, so using the tables to hang out in isn't allowed. The Palace offers a wide array of food and drinks on its menu, so you can begin the day with breakfast, swing by during lunch, and finish with dinner. Prices are reasonable and the food is OK. The service is surprisingly quick, even on weekends when the house is packed. If you're not eating, you can move up the steps to a patio deck with some limited seating, or to the main bar, located at the back of the deck, where there is also a makeshift DJ booth. Here you have more room to hang out, but generally people gravitate toward the front to face Ocean Drive. To the left of the patio deck, another bar has seating and a few chairs line a smallish veranda that faces the street.
The crowd is made up of locals, tourists, men, women, straight and gay. The vibe is always happy and the typical South Beach attitude is nonexistent. The constant pillars of people watching and good music don't change. Sunday is the best day to go. The Palace T-Dance gets good around 3:30. The drag show usually begins around 4 p.m., and you don’t want to miss it. The show usually begins on the strip of sidewalk that is nestled between the cafe-style tables. On occasion, the show has spilled onto Ocean Drive, making it literally a traffic stopper.
The Palace. Image by www.palacesouthbeach.com