Key West has a vast array of lodging choices including some resorts for gay men.  Among them is the Equator Resort, with its two gorgeous pools, hot tubs and a full-service tiki bar.

Key West Bartender Equator Resort

Master mixologist Billy Record presides over Equator Resort’s bar with a ready smile.

My Saturday afternoons would not be complete without a visit to Billy Record’s bar at the resort. He always greets me with a big smile and asks, “Hey, Greg, how was your week?”

Not only is Billy a talented bartender, but you can also catch him managing karaoke shows at two LGBTQ venues, the 801 Bar and Bobby’s Monkey Bar.

Billy’s hilarious commentary and outlandish costumes make for some over-the-top entertainment with a definite gay flair.

I managed to catch Billy during an unusual lull at his bar’s service area and asked him to give me the “inside scoop” on the Equator.

Keys Voices: Billy, how did you decide to live in Key West, and how long have you worked at Equator Resort?

Billy Record: I came on vacation and never left! Just like everyone that comes here, I fell in love with it immediately. I’ll be at the Equator for six years this summer.

KV: What are your favorite things about the resort?

BR: The view from my “office” (a.k.a. the pool bar).  We have a great staff and our guests always have a fantastic time — I think because of that.

Equator pool bar Key West

Equator’s two pools and easygoing vibe are among the reasons for the property’s popularity.

KV: What do your guests tell you they like most about staying at your property?

BR: Our guests get lots of different things out of the property. Some guys just relax in the sun all day, while others enjoy the bar or pools. Some I never see during the day as they are out exploring the island or enjoying our beaches.

KV: What do your guests tell you they enjoy doing while they’re “out and about” in Key West and the Florida Keys?

BR: The Blu Q is always the top favorite activity for our guests. It offers clothing-optional snorkel excursions and sunset sails, and a lot of guests are here to get rid of their tan lines. The more adventurous ones enjoy the Saloon 1 bar on Friday nights. I always tell people, “In Key West, meander a lot.” There’s so much to see and do here — if you don’t like a vibe, there’s a totally different vibe right across the street.

KV: What percentage of your guests are return guests, and have you made many lasting friendships with them?

Equator Resort pool area Key West

Billy has made many friends among Equator’s repeat clientele and says he treats resort guests as though they were guests in his own home.

BR: Most of them! Some guys have been coming for 10 or 15 years. I’ve made some really good friends — it’s kind of hard not to. I think of my guests at the hotel like they’re a guest in my house; I just have a lot of friends over every day.

KV: Is there any time when the resort’s bar and pools are open for non-guests to come in and enjoy the amenities?

BR: Our property is for guests only most of the time. However, on Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m., we’re open to the public (males only). Lots of locals like to come and enjoy the pools and grab a drink. We do host special events throughout the year as well, which are all open to pass-holders.

KV: What would you tell people contemplating a first visit to Key West to persuade them to check out our island paradise?

BR: There’s always a first trip to Key West; there’s never a last.

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