Anniversary Party is Set for Sunday, September 13
Hotspots Exclusive Interview
Ramrod (1508 NE 4th Ave., Fort Lauderdale) celebrates a very big milestone this month: it will be celebrating its 21st anniversary, making it one of the longest-lived gay bars in South Florida. The bar’s appeal to the leather, Levi, and uniform crowd has made it a popular place with locals and tourists alike. As the bar has grown, even people outside those communities have come to Ramrod for great service, equally wonderful dance music, and a great time. New Times Broward/Palm Beach named Ramrod the best gay bar in their 2015 “Best of Broward-Palm Beach” edition.
Ramrod has sent representatives to the International Mr. Leather contest nearly every year since 1995, and two of their representatives have won the coveted title. Ramrod is the only bar in the world that can say their contestants have won the contest twice. In addition, they have also fielded two runners-up to the title. Recently, the current International Mr. Leather, Patrick Smith, flew in from the West Coast to visit Ramrod for a special event, and he was very popular with the crowd.
As you’ve read here and as many of you have seen, Ramrod has a very illustrious reputation to live up to. As a result, the bar’s staff is going all-out for the 21st anniversary celebrations, which will be held on Sunday, September 13. There will be a balloon drop at midnight, and also $1,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs, including a free helicopter ride above Fort Lauderdale, and fifty copies of the limited edition single “Ramrod Muscle (Take Your Shirt Off),” produced for this special occasion by Bryan Reyes. As is the custom, the Ramrod anniversary club pin will be given out during the anniversary party as well. “We have a few people who have all 20 — soon to be 21 — club pins. They’ve stuck with us, they’re very loyal, and we’re thankful for that,” owner Steve Whitney told Hotspots in an exclusive interview.
When asked about Ramrod’s appeal, owner Zak Enterline told Hotspots, “We’ve had staying power because we’re niche, but we’re also welcoming of everybody. I know some people have stepped into this bar totally afraid and not knowing what to expect, and then they love it,” he said.
One thing that Ramrod is well-known for is its music. “People always compliment us on the music we play; they say it’s different and they like that,” Zak told us. They’re also renowned for their great customer service. “We have very talented bartenders. Some of them, four of five of them, have been with us for 13, 14 years, and that’s rare that you’ll find so many bartenders staying in one place for so long. It’s because they have such loyal followings and people come in to see them,” he said.
Another popular staple at Ramrod is the Pig Dance, which has been held monthly for the past seven years. It’s become so popular that over the course of one recent evening, over a thousand people attended the event. “We have DJs who specifically come to us and ask to DJ the Pig Dances,” Steve told us. “We’ve almost completely booked our whole DJ schedule for the Pig Dances all the way through to next spring, and they come to us and ask this because they love it that much.” Zak also told us that in lieu of a float at this past June’s Stonewall Wilton Manors celebrations, Ramrod manned a booth to represent the bar, and their larger-than-life inflatable pig was a big conversation piece that everybody loved.
In addition to the popular Pig Dances on the first Saturday of every month, Ramrod offers other fun events such as Leather and Fetish Gear Night on Fridays, Leather Night on Sundays, and of course the wildly popular Battle of the Bulge contests every Thursday. The first Battle of the Bulge contest was held nearly 21 years ago, when Ramrod was still a new bar in the Broward County gay scene, and it’s still going strong. Each week’s winner receives $100 in cash.
After all these years, both Steve and Zak agree that the biggest compliment they could ever receive is that their customers are happy and that they continue to come back week after week, year after year, and that people know Ramrod’s reputation not just in Florida but across the country and worldwide as well.
Ramrod is open from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. For more information on Ramrod, feel free to call the bar during business hours at (954) 763-8219, visit them online at ramrodbar.com, or press “like” on their Facebook page at facebook.com/ramrodfortlauderdale to get updates from the Ramrod team regarding upcoming events and daily specials.