Best Drag Shows NYC

If you’re looking for a drag show, there’s no better place to be than in New York City. There is a little bit of something for everybody here. You’ve got all-singing, all-dancing drag queens. You’ve got comedians. You have drag queens that rely on pure sexiness, and you have fantastic all-round entertainers. A lot of the best drag queens in the world have even made NYC their home, and they’re putting on fantastic drag shows multiple times per week.

On this page, we’re going to look at the best drag shows in NYC. While we are not going to mention specific shows (as performers do change on a regular basis), we do want to give you a nudge toward the venues that you should be paying attention to if you’re in the mood for a bit of drag.

Lips New York City

Lips New York City is often touted as one of the best drag shows in NYC, and it really isn’t hard to see why. This all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza features some of the best drag performers in the world. The shows at Lips New York City have been running for 30 years now, and we hope that they keep running for 30 years more. They are fantastic, and we reckon that the atmosphere at Lips is enough to reel anybody into the whole drag experience.

One of the things that we really, really love about Lips New York City is that there is a different drag show each day of the week. There is a little something for everybody. One night, you may get to enjoy a bit of drag karaoke, the next some twist on Broadway, and another you may get a bit more glam. This is on top of the brunches they run every weekend. We always encourage people to check out the performance listings at Lips when they are in NYC as you never know what to expect. Well, you do – a night of fun.

You know what makes these drag shows even better? The fact that Lips boasts some amazing food too! Oh, and there are lots and lots of alcohol options, just in case you fancy a boozier night.

Laurie Beechman, Hell’s Kitchen

Fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race? Fantastic! Then you’re going to want to make a beeline for Laurie Beechman. This intimate theater has just 90 seats, but it often plays host to some of the top performers from RuPaul’s Drag Race. While not every performance at the Laurie Beechman Theater is drag, many of them will be. In fact, the Laurie Beechman Theater is fantastic if you’re in the mood for a bit of a drag brunch. However, the limited seating does mean that you’ll often need to book quite far in advance if you want to secure yourself some tickets for the bigger shows happening at the theater.

Once you are inside the Laurie Beechman, you’ll be up close and personal with some fantastic drag performers. A lot of the performances that we’ve seen at the Laurie Beechman often involve a lot of audience participation. Although, we suppose this is the same for pretty much every single drag show that you’ll find featured in NYC, particularly the NYC drag shows in the more intimate venues.

Barracuda Lounge, Chelsea

Over the years, a lot of drag performances have made their way to New York City. Nowadays, you can find some drag every single night of the week. You can thank the Barracuda Lounge for that. This was the very first bar in New York City to feature nightly drag performances, something it continues to do.

The drag shows at the Barracuda Lounge have become a staple in the gay scene. If you can think of a gay celebrity who lives in New York City, chances are that they have headed to the Barracuda Lounge at least once or twice. In fact, Nathan Lane was a staple at the lounge for many years.

As with many of the drag show venues on this list, the entertainment at the Barracuda Lounge changes on a regular basis, so it is always worth checking their schedule to see what is on. However, one thing is for sure – if you head to the Barracuda Lounge for a drag show in NYC, you will be enjoying some of the top drag performers in the world!

House of Yes

House of Yes is one of our favorite venues in NYC, and this isn’t just because of the epic drag shows that happen here on a regular basis. It is the setting. Before it became the go-to venue for circus, theater, and cabaret, House of Yes used to be an ice warehouse. This gives a rather cool vibe that is perfect for those big performances.

The House of Yes is located right in the heart of Brooklyn, and while not everything that happens here is a drag show, there are several that happen on a regular basis.

Some of the best drag shows in NYC happen here. We’ve seen some top performers swing by for the cabaret and burlesque nights. When you see a drag show at the House of Yes, expect it to be bigger and better than you have ever seen. This is because House of Yes is a venue where the vibe is always ear-pounding music, and you can bet your bottom dollar that the more vocally-talented queens are going to make use of all those speakers and lights.

Club Cumming

Club Cumming is owned by the famous actor, Alan Cumming. So, while we assume that there is some sort of play on words going on with the actual name of the club, it has been named after the owner. While the venue is one of the newest on this list, having only opened in 2017, it has rapidly become one of the top gay cabaret clubs in NYC, and you’ll often find its many shows featured on lists of the best drag shows in NYC.

Because of its celeb-owned status, Club Cumming is easily able to attract top drag queens from all over the world, and you’ll often find multiple performances every single night. It is rare that the same performance will happen twice here, so you can head to Club Cumming every single night of the week and end up with a completely different show.

Remember – Club Cumming is not just about the drag. While that is a heavy focus for the nightclub, you’ll find all sorts of gay-focused events here, from movies, music, comedy, and more. It is a must-add to your calendar if you’re looking for top LGBTQ+ places in the Big Apple.

Suite Bar, Upper West Side

The Suite Bar in Upper West Side is a rather laidback, chill cabaret bar. Apparently, this is where many drag queens go to unwind after a long, hard day on the circuit. A few nights a week, you may find some of the top drag queens in NYC (and sometimes the world), roll into the Suite Bar to put on a much more intimate show. There has never been a show that we haven’t enjoyed at The Suite Bar.

The real highlight, however, is Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. For the time being, The Suite Bar has become a residency for the immensely funny queen, Victoria Chase. For three nights per week, Victoria runs an open-mic karaoke event. Between awesome songs from the bar’s patrons, Victoria shares a bit of her drag stylings, and she may even belt out a couple of songs herself (seriously – you have to hear Victoria’s voice to believe it). She is one of the top up-and-coming drag stars in NYC, and this is the only place you are guaranteed to catch her.  

Industry, Hell’s Kitchen

Industry has been named, repeatedly, as the best gay bar in New York City, and it is incredibly tough to argue with that. The atmosphere in Industry is something that really needs to be seen to be believed.

At least five nights of the week you’ll get a different drag show. Top performers show off their drag art here, including Kizha Carr, Hibiscus, and Yasmin Delano. You also have a few guest appearances during the latter part of the week.

If you’re in NYC and want to experience one of the best gay vibes, and one of the best drag show venues, in the city then you need to pay Industry a visit. You’ll quickly discover why so many people rate this place so highly.

Lucky Cheng’s

Established in 1993, Lucky Cheng’s is one of the oldest drag palaces in New York City, and it is still going strong.

Not only can you enjoy fantastic food at Lucky Cheng’s, but you can enjoy some world-famous drag performers. At the time of writing, Gioconda Productions, a Eurovision superstar (that’s a European song competition if you weren’t aware), has taken up residency here. She has produced one of the more unique drag shows we’ve ever seen. We don’t want to give you any spoilers here, but this performance is highly interactive.

There are drag brunches every weekend, featuring the likes of Vivacious, Lola Michel Kiki, Prima Love, and more. It isn’t too expensive to visit one either. Just $45 for a show, brunch, and bottomless mimosas (don’t forget the tip for the performers, though!)

3 Dollar Bill

3 Dollar Bill, in Brooklyn, is one of the best queer performance venues in the city. They are the largest queer venue in Brooklyn, and they host multiple drag shows throughout the week. In fact, some of the best performers from RuPaul’s Drag Race have taken up residency here. Every so often, you’ll catch the likes of Luxx Noir London, Sasha Velour, and more performing here.

Hardware Bar, Hell’s Kitchen

Finally – we have Hardware Bar. If you’ve ever been active in the NYC gay scene, then chances are that you will have heard of Hardware Bar. It is one of the best gay bars in Hell’s Kitchen, and almost every single night they play host to a drag show or two. Most of their shows are heavy on comedy, but you may find the odd musical performance too.

Many of the drag stars that appear at the Hardware Bar are up-and-comers, although you may find some more experienced drag queens here too e.g., Tammy Spanx and DJ Ohricky.

The Hardware Bar does a nice combination of late-night entertainment and drag brunches, so there should be a little bit of something for everybody.

Final Thoughts

Remember – we’re just scratching the surface of the best drag shows in NYC here. New York City is genuinely one of the best places in the world to catch a drag show or two. While we highly recommend that you check out the places on this list, don’t let that stop you from wandering around the streets (particularly in the Hell’s Kitchen area) and seeing whether there is a show or two that catches your attention. There probably will be, and you will always have fun! Who knows, you may even end up catching a top drag star doing a super-secret performance (it happens sometimes).

Gay Worlley

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