Ah, drag queens. What better way to say, “Hey, I’m a man, but hells yes I’m fabulous,” than to dress up in gold and pearls while belting out Shakira on a midnight stage? New York, the cultural center that it is, has a lot of drag options to offer those wanting an exotic night out—or just some good laughs on a drunken Tuesday evening—in every possible flavor. Whether it’s entertainment for your grandma or your gays, this city’s got it all.
Best Overall Drag Experience
Lucky Cheng’s, 24 1st Avenue, varying times nightly
No New York drag review can be complete without including the wildest, most sexually confused bar on the continent, Lucky Cheng’s. Being served by an old tranny waitress, who, according to the receipt, is “Jap Bitch A,” should be the first indicator that this is no ordinary night out with the girls. But having the 300-pound bartender give you a lap dance is an even better sign, meaning you need another orgy bowl (it’s a drink, don’t worry). Guaranteed to be a night you won’t soon, but may want to, forget. Pricy drinks, but a priceless experience.
Click here for more info on Lucky Cheng's New York.
Best Drag for the Politically Incorrect
Bianca Del Rio
Barracuda, 275 West 22nd Street, every Tuesday around 12:30am
By far one of the funniest performances going in Chelsea, Bianca Del Rio will make you want hit confession after her ridiculous antics on stage. Not for the faint of heart, our host pulls four lucky audience members on stage to get their asses torn to shreds in a dance-off, where each contestant must bump and grind for the house’s, and Bianca’s, approval. Only two rules apply: don’t touch the host, and for God’s sake take off those sequins.
Click here for more info on Barracuda New York.
Best (and Only) Drag Queen Puppet Show
Drag Queen Puppet Bingo
View Bar, 232 8th Avenue, every Friday at 7:30
Puppets? Bingo? Drag? It doesn’t get any gayer. Liberal grandmas and fat friends alike will adore this laid-back Friday drag event. Starting at 7:30, the Avenue Q-esque Greta Green calls the bingo numbers for prizes like Holy Mary nightlights, bunny-shaped candles and cash. Between games, the pants come off and the fishnets slide up, as Greta performs her best musical numbers and comes around the audience for a little Q&A. Free bingo cards and 2-4-1 drink specials make this show the perfect place to get quietly drunk with your friends after work or before hitting up the rest of Chelsea on a
big gay Friday night.
Click here for more info on View Bar New York.
Best Drag Karaoke
Splash Bar, 50 West 17th Street, every Tuesday at 8pm
Hosted by the rudely insane (but funny) Shequida, this show offers bar-goers a chance to get up on stage and let their hearts sing/screech to a crowd of after-work lushes. Besides the typical handful of wordy bridge-and-tunnelers and Chelsea snobs, the crowd is pretty supportive, even if you suck. Shequida, known little for her gentle demeanor, even makes the guests feel at home, making fun of people not for their voices, but rather their obvious sexual preferences and their race. All in all, it’s a great place to go with a big group of guys for a no-frills—yet hilarious—night.
Click here for more info on Splash Bar New York.
Best Amateur Drag Show
Barracuda, 275 West 22nd Street, every Thursday around 12:30am
What could possibly be funnier than a drag queen named Anne Frank performing Björk’s “It’s Oh So Quiet?” Nothing! Except, perhaps, that act being followed by a massive blob of sparkles, studs, and stars shaking both Madonna and the floor boards. Another show hosted by the illustrious and bodacious Shequida, Star Search is pretty much the drag equivalent of American Idol, where the audience decides which of three contestants goes home the reigning queen. Everyone is a winner at this show, which makes it a drunkenly fabulous Thursday night out with friends at an
already friendly Chelsea establishment.
Click here for more info on Barracuda New York.
Therapy, 348 West 52nd Street, every Wednesday at 11pm
Hosted by the candylicious Peppermint, Cattle Call is a weekly show at Therapy that can best be described as Gay Night at the Apollo, sans the booing, obnoxious crowd. Some acts are more entertaining than others—ranging from dance numbers to guitar solos—but one thing holds true throughout: Peppermint is consistently able to find a heart-warming compliment for each performance. Overall, this is definitely the best show in which to break out your new song and dance, and the overwhelmingly mixed crowd makes it a safe bet to bring all your straight friends without anyone feeling
Click here for more info on Therapy New York.
Best Drag for a Monday Hangover
Urge, 33 2nd Avenue, every Monday at 10pm
Here is a show that requires almost no thought or effort, which is exactly what a lush needs on a Monday night after a long weekend. Our host, Gusty Winds, who’s size is only matched by her hair (which literally hits the lights when she walks on stage), calls bingo numbers and discusses what everyone loves (boys, booze and cake) to a small, laid-back crowd. As is always the case at Urge, the bartenders are super friendly, and there’s a $500 jackpot, which makes convincing friends to go out on a Monday night so much easier.