First Signs of Spring

Warm weather hijinks are just around the corner. Really.

Tan at Soleil or on the rooftop deck (courtesy of 12th Street Gym)

It may be a wet weather week in Philly, but there are more than a few signs that spring has practically sprung in the Gayborhood – and beyond. Here’s what’s already triggered our seasonal gaydar:

Man Tans: If our favorite mixologists look like they’ve been vacationing in the Islands, think again. With swimsuit season just around the corner (not to mention Mr. Gay on Saturday) the boys are hitting the tanning salons with a vengeance (Soleil at 12th Street Gym has a half-price special). That might explain why this writer looks especially pasty next to Jeb and the guys at Knock. Mojito, please!

Brights are in (courtesy of Matthew Izzo)

Barking Orders: The bistro table-and-chair sets are beginning to creep out of the dark and onto the sidewalks again at some of our favorite gay-friendly hot spots. We enjoyed a little taste just last week. And with alfresco adventures at the ready, we’re making sure even Fido looks his best. Doggie Style is offering some specials on baths and cuts for our furriest canine friends. Sorry, Bears.

Style Changers: Some of us have been working out (and others of us need some new duds that actually fit after a carb-loving winter). Either way, we’re hitting up a few of our favorite local shops to find out what’s in style. The sleek and neat look is always in at Matthew Izzo – including brightly colored slim-fit pants and layered tops with rolled-up sleeves for guys and gals.

Try on the vintage Levis (courtesy of Sugarcube)

We also trekked over to Old City to see what Sugarcube has for us this season. We picked up Bridge & Burn looks inspired by the Northwest and plenty of vintage denim from Levi’s. And on gay East Passyunk, Metro has all the men’s clothing you could need for both city and out-of-town play (hello, Rehoboth!).

Bring beautiful blooms indoors (courtesy of Moda Botanica)

Nothing to Sneeze At: Pop a Claritin and check out what’s in bloom at Verde and  Almeidas (formerly Chartreuse before it moved to East Passyunk). Garces Trading Company also has a small, but pretty selection of stems (to go with all the gourmet grub).

And if you’re planning an event – or just want to make your house look sunny this season – the guys at Moda Botanica (winners of the Flower Show two years in a row) do up blooms right.

South of the Border: One word: margaritas. The blood orange margaritas and fresh guacamole at El Vez are enough to make you feel like you’re on vacation – even if you’ve never left 13th Street. You can also enjoy a spicy nosh at lesbian-owned Lolita where the BYOT (the T stands for tequila) offers up Mexican flavors in a creative and contemporary way – including braised pork gorditas and ensalada de calabaza. Now if we could only find our Charo album…