Why venture out into the city’s drag bars alone when you have “RuPaul’s Drag Race” stars to guide your way?
Season 11’s East Coast queens — most of whom have already sashayed away from the VH1 reality competition series — left us with their tips on navigating their favorite clubs in Manhattan, Brooklyn and beyond.
Honey Davenport, Scarlet Envy, Ariel Versace and New York City’s sole surviving queen Shuga Cain mapped out the spiciest venues for first-timers, bachelorette parties, brunch seekers and more.
“We’re downtown girls. We’ve all worked the same bars, we shared parties,” Scarlet Envy said.
If it’s your first time at a drag show, be sure to simply “dip your toes in,” Scarlet Envy said. “You want to get that classic drag queen show, and that’s definitely in Hell’s Kitchen.”
Ariel Versace, a New Jersey queen, offered up this Hell’s Kitchen staple as a go-to for the drag-show newbies. More than a dozen drag events are held weekly, with some hosted by “Drag Race” contestant Shuga Cain (Thursdays) and drag comedian Tina Burner (Saturdays). Ariel recommended Shequida Hall’s Thursday night show: “She literally is a legend, icon, star … It’s really hype and she always has a special guest. Go in there with an open mind, because she’ll call you out.” (697 10th Ave., Hell’s Kitchen)
Honey Davenport, of Washington Heights, and Harlem-based Shuga Cain offered up advice for those aspiring queens looking to hop on the stage, rather than join the audience.
Self-dubbed “New York’s legendary gay bar,” this Chelsea spot’s Star Search is notorious for serving as a launchpad for new faces, Honey said. (275 W. 22nd St., Chelsea)
This West Village bar, one of the city’s oldest, hosts a weekly Drag War event inspired by “Drag Race” competitions. Any aspiring queen who wants to see herself inside Ru’s Werk Room needs to first try for the bar’s $100 Drag War prize, Shuga Cain suggested. (8 Christopher St., Greenwich Village)
“There is a brand-new Taco Bell over on Eighth that sells liquor now, so that’s where I’m taking my bachelorette party,” Scarlett Envy said. If you’d rather take the ladies to a drag show, these spots should be on your list.
“Invite me, I’ll come to your bachelorette party, ehh!” Honey Davenport added.
The Voss Events Drag Brunch at The Iridium is “the place to go” for a bachelorette party, Shuga Cain said. Held every Sunday at noon and 2:30 p.m., the “world famous” event often features appearances by former “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contestants. (1650 Broadway, Midtown West)
Tropicana Hotel & Casino
“I’m gonna throw in a bit of Jersey spice here and say there are shows in Atlantic City — just because sometimes a typical drag show is different from what a bachelorette party is looking for — but AC has shows like diva impersonator shows targeted for these parties,” Ariel Versace said. (2831 Boardwalk, Atlantic City)
Brunch is good; drag brunch is better. “Absolutely, hands down, the best drag brunch in New York is in Bushwick,” Ariel Versace declared. “There are so many little amazing brunches around the city.” Picking their two favorites, Scarlet Envy and Ariel Versace narrowed it down to Bizarre and Intermezzo.
The queens here “are sure to get naked on your plate of food and if that doesn’t sound like a good time, I don’t know what does,” Scarlet Envy said. “When you go see these two, you don’t need unlimited booze.” Sunday brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (12 Jefferson St., Bushwick)
This drag brunch party hosted by some of the city’s hottest queens, from Monet X Change to Sherry Vine is not to be missed, Scarlet Envy and Ariel Versace agree. The “Electro Brunch” is held twice weekly, on Saturdays and Sundays. (202 8th Ave., Chelsea)
If you’re looking for a party that doesn’t end when the mimosas run out, consider one of these club nights.
3 Dollar Bill
“3 Dollar Bill in Brooklyn is the spot,” Honey Davenport said. The new venue, branded as one of the city’s few LGBTQ clubs, hosts weekly cabaret shows, DJ nights and drag performances. It gets wild after dark, per Honey Davenport. (260 Meserole St., Williamsburg)
Harbor is “so lit on a Friday night, packed wall to wall,” Shuga Cain said. (1095 6th Ave., Midtown)