a guide to nyc's best drag shows during pride
Pay tribute (and tips) to the city's hard-working queens at these venues.
Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images for RuPaul's Drag Race.
This article originally appeared on i-D US.
Pride Month in New York is almost upon us, which means a seemingly infinite amount of kikis, LGBTQ celebration and, of course, drag shows. Although one of your stops must be the NYC Pride Parade in the West Village, the festivities really last all month long.
All around the city you’ll be able to find events to celebrate being queer, but with so many fetes to choose from (and so many parties to attend) it can be hard to determine which events are worth your while. Get your glitter ready, your pumps on and your wigs ready to be snatched. From Pieces in Hell’s Kitchen to Metropolitan in Brooklyn, below is a guide to the hottest NYC spots for drag shows.
If you’re looking for an iconic evening, LIPS is a must. Not only does the New York institution have nightly drag dinner shows like “Dragalicious Karaoke” and a celebrity impersonations show like “Dinner With The Divas,” but LIPS is known for its drag brunch experiences like its Sunday Broadway Brunch hosted by theater queen Ginger Snapt. And these working girls pull double duty as both cabaret performers and servers. Werk!
If you’re looking for a possible celebrity encounter, Pieces seems to be the drag show hotspot at the moment. Recently Adele and Jennifer Lawrence were spotted there having a drunken and hilarious night out in NYC. The West Village haunt has weekly “Drag Wars” that take cues from actual Drag Race competitions touting $100 prizes. Win this, and maybe you’ll be ready for Mama Ru.
A Hell’s Kitchen staple, Hardware is a must if you’re new to the drag show experience. You can catch more than a dozen drag events weekly including Shequida Hall’s Thursday night show which always features special guests and some events hosted by Drag Race contestant including Shuga Cain and comedian-queen Tina Burner. If you’re looking for a constant kiki, Hardware is where it’s at.
If you’re hanging out at Hardware, you might as well stop by Therapy. Five nights a week, you can catch iconic drag performers gracing the stage of this Hell’s Kitchen gay bar. Some Drag Race contestants have even had residencies at the venue including Bob the Drag Queen, Monet X Change and Bianca Del Rio. Every Thursday attendees can also catch a screening of Drag Race hosted by the bar.
3 Dollar Bill
If you’re looking to bring your lewk to another borough, the recently-opened 3 Dollar Bill is already becoming one of the most LGBTQ clubs in New York. The Brooklyn venue has weekly cabaret shows and drag performances including one-woman shows from Drag Race queens, drag bingo and karaoke nights. Monet X Change and Drag Race winner Bob the Drag Queen have booked appearances there.
Laurie Beechman Theatre
Anyone looking to see some queens near Broadway will want to hit up the Laurie Beechman Theatre at the West Bank Cafe. Attendees looking for an eccentric drag experience will enjoy Distorted Diznee, a recurring drag series that blends Disney and pop culture. Plus, Drag Race favorites including Courtney Act and Jinkx Monsoon can often be caught stopping by the venue.
For over 50 years, the Stonewall Inn has been a part of LGBTQ history. It’s also the central hub of New York City PRIDE. With a weekly drag performance and competition hosted by Phil Chanel, Kristy Blaze and Fifi DuBois and Monday drag bingo presented by Kenny Dash, there’s no shortage of queens at the historic West Village venue. Get your beat face on ASAP.
Any member of the community will tell you that Metropolitan has to be a stop on your list regardless. But for anyone looking for another spot to see some of Brooklyn’s best queens should definitely check it out. If you come out on the third Thursday of the month, you’ll catch DRAGnet hosted by Merrie Cherry where amateur queens battle to compete in the annual Miss DRAGnet competition. It’s also a sweet spot to watch Drag Race while it’s hosted by queens like Thorgy Thor, Ragamuffin and Daphne Always.
The McKittrick Hotel
Each Friday night, you can catch Susanne Bartsch’s masterpiece the Bartschland Follies in full swing atop the McKittrick Hotel. The late-night show is a fusion of cabaret, a burlesque circus and some of New York City’s most eclectic drag and performance artists. Attendees can expect to local icons including Amanda Lepore, Shequida and DeeDee Luxe. It can be very NSFW so be prepared to blush a little (or a lot).