13 rollicking drag brunches that represent the best of America

Nellie’s is one of the most beloved destinations for drag brunch in Washington, DC. Photo credit: Nellie’s

A longtime tradition for queer friends, bachelorette parties and sweet sixteens, and tourists interested in local culture (and day drinking), drag brunch is a mainstay that has soared in popularity across the United States in recent years.

New York has a rare Bollywood-themed drag brunch, a historic Miami celebrity haven continues to thrill attendees with its stellar performances, and an outdoor drag brunch embraces the California sunshine in Thousand Oaks.

This tradition’s vaudeville roots date back to the early 1900s, making it extra fun, appropriately rowdy, and just subversive enough to push the boundaries in entertainment, costuming, and mimosa consumption (if you’re of age and consent, of course).

Pride Month offers the best reason to explore many of the stellar drag brunches across the country right now. But these brunches happen regularly throughout the year, so consider making them a part of your weekend routine. Cash tips are encouraged—bigger bills, too. Read on for 13 exciting drag brunch destinations in the US.

Lips (New York City)

America’s largest drag chain Lips opened in NYC’s Greenwich Village more than 26 years ago. Founder and drag queen Yvonne Lamé established it as a go-to destination for nightly dinner cabaret shows and Broadway Brunch every weekend. Queens belt out popular show tunes that are best boogied to alongside the all-you-can-drink menu and musical-themed dishes including the Mama Mia Mozzarella Omelet and Evan Hansen Eggs Your Way with bacon and home fries. Lips also has locations in Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, and San Diego.

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Nellie’s (Washington, DC)

Various fried foods including chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, and nuggets placed next to each other on a table at Washington DC bar Nellie’s.

The all-you-can-eat Southern-style buffet is a highlight at Nellie’s. Photo credit: Nellie’s

This gay sports bar hosts a drag brunch that happens to be one of the most beloved in Washington, DC. Over two seatings (11 am and 1 pm) every Saturday and Sunday, diners get a rollicking show with a mimosa or bloody mary included, plus an all-you-can-eat Southern-style buffet with ribs, cheesy grits, eggs, and so much more to fuel up before dancing to Beyonce. The drag brunch is open to all ages, though anyone under 21 must be with a sober adult over 26.

Palace (Miami)

Every queen deserves a palace, and this historic Miami destination has been an iconic spot for queer nightlife and daytime drag since 1988. The fabulous brunch, served Friday to Monday from 11 am to 2 pm, is a thrill. The $55 package includes a main (think French toast with guava glaze or crisp chicken and waffles), bottomless mimosas, and plenty of flair as the queens strut through the indoor-outdoor dining room. Plus, there’s a chance of bumping into a celebrity—famous past guests have included Gianni Versace, Elton John, and Madonna. Drag shows here are limited to people 18 and older. 

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The Brunch Brats (Los Angeles)

A drag queen in a pink outfit in a toy car at the Thousand Oak restaurant The Brunch Brats

The Brunch Brats bring the party outside in Southern California. Photo credit: The Brunch Brats and YUQ Studios

Drag shows see the California sunshine at this open-air spot in Thousand Oaks. Local activist TJ Liedel hosts themed brunches, such as Hollywood icons, every Sunday at noon on the back patio of The Tipsy Goat. Los Angeles queens serve looks under the shade of outdoor umbrellas alongside brunch staples, including chilaquiles and omelets, and cocktails and mocktails such as a Shirley Temple with plenty of red glitter.

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The Original (Denver)

This beloved diner and sports bar adjacent to Coors Field may not be an obvious choice for a fabulously flamboyant drag brunch, and that’s part of the charm. Host Laura Menorah’s Saturday Serve sees the proudly Jewish queen and performer friends create an entertaining afternoon featuring show tunes, crowd-pleasing numbers, and over-the-top brunch dishes, including glazed doughnut sliders, short-rib benedict, and fried country steak with gravy.

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ReBar (Houston)

A drag queen in a green dress places her hand on the head of a diner at Houston restaurant ReBar

Tickets sell fast at the Sunday Service Drag Brunch hosted by historic Houston gay bar ReBar. Photo credit: ReBar

Historic Houston gay bar ReBar returned to its original Montrose neighborhood in 2019 and has been a drag brunch destination ever since. Sunday Service Drag Brunch—hosted by Blackberri and featuring well-known Texas queens Kitty Kontour, Petty Brooks, and Mari Jane—takes place on the patio at 12 pm, 2 pm, and 4 pm. Tickets sell fast for the show, which pairs well with espresso martinis and finger foods, including beignets and breakfast tacos. There’s no minimum order, but a $10 entertainment fee per person is included on each check.

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Union Cafe (Columbus)

If you’ve never been before, it’s time to introduce yourself to this iconic LGBTQ restaurant and bar, which has been a Columbus staple since 1966. Drag brunch on Saturdays is a merry diner-style affair that begins at 11 am with plenty of crispy bacon served with extra-Midwestern friendliness. It’s hosted by Deva Station (Miss Gay America 2018) and other local queens who strut, lip sync, and dance to kick off the show at noon for what’s typically a mixed crowd of students from Ohio State University and Short North Arts District residents.

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Blend (Boston)

Local gay couple Luis Arzuaga and James Clements have made this Dorchester bar a welcoming space for LGBTQ staffers and diners since 2018. (The venue itself dates back to 1963, when it was called Peggy O’Neil’s). Drag brunch takes over the historic dining room every other Sunday with strong cold brew-centric cocktails such as the Reese’s with peanut butter whiskey, chocolate liqueur, cold brew, and whipped cream—and even stronger performances. Watch the queens eat their routines while you chow down on watermelon feta salad, steak and eggs, or a signature booze-infused French toast enriched with Irish cream liqueur and bourbon chocolate whipped cream.

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Le Moo (Louisville)

Three drag queens standing side by side on a stage Louisville restaurant Le Moo

Le Moo hosts Kentucky’s premiere drag show. Photo credit: Le Moo

Kentucky’s premiere drag brunch takes place every Saturday and Sunday at this trendy steakhouse in the heart of Louisville. Forty-three dollars secures diners prime views of the performances, plus an unlimited buffet of scrambled eggs, French toast, and much more. Queens, including Dusty Ray Bottoms, go all out to embrace weekly themes including Britney Spears, Disney princesses, Saturday Morning Cartoons, disco divas, 90s nostalgia, and more. Hosts rotate every weekend, so you can become a regular and never get bored.

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Copper Blues (Phoenix)

Arizona drag queen Barbara Seville at the Phoenix restaurant Copper Blues

Famed Arizona drag queen Barbara Seville leads the show at Copper Blues. Photo credit: Copper Blues.

This downtown Phoenix pub is renowned for its Saturday Bacon and Leggs Drag Brunch. Barbara Seville, one of the best known drag queens in Arizona, hosts the show alongside two additional queens each week. Expect a 21-and-over party vibe that includes drink specials, brunch items such as a mini skillet full of breakfast hash and eggs, giveaways (like tickets to see famous queer performers on tour in Phoenix), and plenty of campy glamour—the costumes and hair are big—to kick off the weekend.

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Jolene’s (San Francisco)

Eccentric San Francisco queer-owned spot Jolene’s is one of America’s most unique LGBTQ bars and hosts a popular Sunday drag brunch known for its alternative performance art and very cool crowd. The brunch buffet and variety show kicks off at noon with $45 tickets that include fruit plates, avocado toast, deviled eggs, bagels and lox, plus much more. Performances never repeat themselves—the acts include classic and quirky drag shows, burlesque, acrobatics, and aerial artists including Sweetpea, Edie Eve, Drago, and more. Jolene is open to people 21 and older.

Kween (New York City)

Four staff members of the NYC LGBTQ bar Kween standing next to each in black t-shirts that have the word “Kween” on it.

Kween is a welcome, more intimate alternative to some of the more touristy drag shows in Manhattan. Photo credit: Kween Lounge

New York is packed with drag events, but fierce weekend brunches at Pedro Alvarado’s Astoria cocktail bar stand out. A strong community of local drag lovers (read: fewer tourists than a Midtown drag event) keeps the energy high in this narrow, queer-owned venue. The performances are intimate, with queens dancing right next to diners stuffing their faces with avocado-topped breakfast burgers, cheese-drenched chilaquiles, and craft cocktails.

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Sona (New York City)

NYC drag queen Malai in a blue outfit at the restaurant Sona

Queen Malai leads a Bollywood dance party on weekends at Sona. Photo credit: Sona

Co-owned by actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Sona has quickly established itself as a go-to destination for upscale Indian fare and Saturday drag brunch. The twice monthly event is a family-friendly affair that takes place between 11 am and 3 pm. Host Queen Malai serves Bollywood realness in festive Indian attire as diners enjoy the best of Manhattan and Mumbai in dishes such as cured gravlax with everything bagel-seasoned naan, eggs Benedict with gunpowder (a South Indian spice mix) hollandaise, and a South Indian-style fried chicken sandwich with masala fries. A kids menu featuring naan pizza ensures all ages can have a great time.

Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner is a writer based in Brooklyn, where she lives with her wife and rescue dog. You can follow her on Instagram @melissabethk and Twitter @melissabethk