There’s nothing else in America quite like it. In 1975, a dying Johnson-era, 130-room motel was revitalized as an amusement megacenter for gay folks. Its rambling size—10 acres, including a beach on a small lake out back—justifies it as a hangout not only for gay guys, but also for the friends who love them, women who want to dance without being accosted, and open-minded straight guys. Think of it as a fabulous entertainment minimall: There’s the Footlight Theater for cabaret and drag hosted by longtime resident mistress Darcel Stevens; a diner; a pool; a disco, which gears up around 9pm; a video bar; and a scuzzy cubby called Western Bar, for leather-and-jeans-wearing guys who play pool and, um, know how to handle a stick. The scene is unexpected when you consider that its operators are a straight couple with six kids and that Orlando politics are still controlled by conservative Christians. It’s considered a nucleus of Florida gay life, and when it entered rough financial waters in recent years, some locals advocated for it to be landmarked.
Parliament House Orlando
410 N. Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando
Our Rating Phone 407/425-7571 Web site Parliament House Orlando Other Cover and hours vary