If you want to see a decent drag show, there’s no better place in the US to be than in San Francisco. Because drag, traditionally, was closely linked to the LGBTQ+ community, as the gay capital of the US, San Francisco has been the homeplace of many of the top drag queens in the world. Plus, plenty of bars & clubs have opened completely dedicated to drag shows.
If you just wander around San Francisco for a while, chances are that you’ll see tons and tons of drag shows advertised. We suggest that you try to head to as many of them as possible. If you can’t do that, that’s cool. That’s what we’re here for. We’re going to introduce you to the best drag shows in San Francisco, or at least the venues where you can catch some fantastic drag shows as it all does switch up on a regular basis.
Note – almost all of these drag venues/shows are centered in the Castro district, which is the main gay district for San Francisco. That’s where you’ll find almost all the drag shows!
We’re going to kickstart this list with an awesome drag brunch found at Jolene’s Bar and Restaurant every weekend. At the heart of the drag brunch is the burlesque group, Womanopoly SF. Some top talents are included in the mix here, including one of our favorites – RedBone.
We absolutely love the show that happens at Jolene’s, and it is all thanks to the show’s director, Sgt. Die Wies. Since this is burlesque rather than just typical drag, you may even end up with a much more extravagant show than you would be enjoying at one of the many other venues scattered around San Francisco.
The food is fantastic here too. You get a delicious all-you-can-eat brunch, which actually uses some high-quality ingredients. Well, high-quality ingredients for a drag brunch.
Afrika America is the host of the 620 Jones brunch every weekend. Afrika has been able to put together an eclectic collection of drag stars from all over the world. Some of them have been featured on international versions of Drag Race, some are social media stars, and some have been kicking around on the San Francisco drag circuit for a while. All of them are incredibly talented.
If you’re looking for some good food, then 620 Jones is said to have some of the best food out of all the drag brunches. They also have tons and tons of awesome cocktails to drink too. Everything is at an affordable price!
House of M’s Barrelhouse Brunch at the Midnight Sun
Three drag queens will be leading proceedings at the House of M’s Barrelhouse Brunch. Laundra Tyme, Mia Munro, and Natalie Ray will be joined by a ton of different queens every weekend to offer one of the most superb drag brunches in Castro.
Because the drag queens rotate on a regular basis, you never quite know what to expect here. Some weeks, we have been able to enjoy an all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza, and other weeks, things have been dialed back a notch and focused more on the comedy.
Couple of the great drag acts with the amazing food that you get at this drag brunch, and it’ll be a place that you want to return to repeatedly.
Lookout Lips and Lashes Drag Brunch
Ask anybody who has been to multiple drag shows in San Francisco and they will tell you that when it comes to the best drag shows in SF, the Lookout Lips and Lashes drag brunch is unbeatable. If you’re looking for the most talented drag performers in the world, then you’re going to find them here.
Carnie Asada will be your host for this drag brunch (there are a couple of sittings at the weekend), where you’ll be guided through some insanely talented drag performances. We are talking about singing, dancing, comedy, and maybe even a dash of acrobatics. Well, we say acrobatics, we just mean a few cartwheels here and there. Because the lineup changes on a regular basis, you can head here multiple times and never experience the same show twice.
The Port Bar (Oakland)
Amoura Teese is the host of this drag show, and she is known for cranking the drag entertainment up to 10. Actually, if you’ve seen ‘This is Spinal Tap’ (or you have any idea about pop culture), then we’re going to say that she is known for cranking the drag entertainment up to 11.
While The Port Bar doesn’t always have the most famous drag performers in the world, Amoura Teese has done a tremendous job at finding the most talented up-and-comers to perform at her shows. The result is an amazing mix of drag stars who are at the start of the career and who really feel as if they have something to prove.
Many people who attend The Port Bar in Oakland for one of the brunches claim that the shows are some of the more unique drag shows in the city. We are inclined to agree.
Drag Brunch at the Beaux
Are you up for one of the filthiest drag brunches in San Francisco? Fantastic! You’re going to need to make a beeline for one of the four drag brunches hosted at the Beaux every single weekend. Actually, if your stomach can handle the alcohol, it may be worth heading to all four of them. One of the cool things about the Beaux is that you don’t get the same brunch twice. Each of the four shows will be hosted by a completely different queen.
It isn’t just the drag brunches that you want to be paying attention to here either. Oh no. The Beaux is known for offering a wealth of fantastic drag shows throughout the week. Each and every one of them is worth checking out. Even if you haven’t heard of the drag queen performers before, still make sure that you head to one of the shows. They are always amazing.
The Oasis Bar has a few drag shows throughout the week. However, the one that we want to draw your attention to is Reparations. This drag show was devised to promote black drag throughout San Francisco. As a result, it is the only show in the city that features an all-black cast.
The Reparations show only happens a few times per week, and the cast is always different. In fact, the only staple is Nicki Jizz. You’ll absolutely want to bring a lot of cash for tips for this show, though. The whole idea is that you pay ‘reparations’ to the black performers for giving you a good show. Yes, we know that is a bit on the nose, but drag is all about emphasizing things like this, and perhaps sometimes getting a bit more political.
If the Reparations show isn’t your thing (and it absolutely should be your thing), we suggest that you check out the Princess show at the same bar. Each week, there will be a themed night where the attending drag queens all perform something around that particular theme. One night, you may find the drag queens give tribute to some of the best musical acts in the world, other nights, you may see them paying tribute to movies or even video games. The cast rotates a lot to fit the theme, but you can be sure that you’re going to get some of the best performers in the world here. You may even catch a RuPaul’s Drag Race superstar or two here too.
Baker Beach Drag Show
Alright, we’re going to wrap up with one of the most unique drag shows in San Francisco. Baker Beach, as San Fran natives will know, is a semi-nudist beach. Every weekend, there will be at least one drag show happening there. The exact position of the drag show will vary, as will the queens. However, watching a drag show on Baker Beach is always going to be a very unique experience. We don’t think there are any other regular drag shows that happen on the beach.
Oh, and no. You do not have to get nude to watch this drag show. Don’t be surprised if some of the people sitting around you are, though.
Remember – we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of the best drag shows in San Francisco. While we do think the places we’ve mentioned on this page are the best of the best, we highly recommend that you spend a bit of time wandering around San Francisco, particularly the Castro district, to see what else is on offer. We promise you that there are plenty of top drag shows that we didn’t cover, and you’ll probably find plenty of awesome ones that we didn’t even mention. There is just so much great drag happening in the heart of San Francisco that we couldn’t really cover it all. One thing is for sure, though – no matter what drag show you stumble across in this city, you are going to have a ton of fun watching some amazing performers.