The Best Drag and Cabaret Shows in NYC

Sparkles
Sparkles | © Caitlyn Wilson / Unsplash
Photo of Julia Goicochea
8 November 2019

New York City is home to all kinds, making for one of the most exciting entertainment scenes in the world. For fans of song and impossibly high heels, the city’s LGBT (and a few NSFW) bars are ready to step into your spotlight. Fit for royalty – or local queens – here are New York City’s best drag and cabaret shows.

Drag Dinner Show at Lucky Cheng’s

Restaurant, North American, $$$
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© Courtesy of Lucky Cheng's | © Courtesy of Lucky Cheng's

If your dream dinner party guests include alums from RuPaul’s Drag Race, the Drag Dinner Show at Lucky Cheng’s is for you. Each Friday and Saturday, personalities including queens from the VH1 program join Lucky’s queens for New York City’s original drag-dinner show, serving supper and serious diva vibes for over 20 years.

Bushwig

Music Venue
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This traveling drag extravaganza may venture as far as Berlin and Los Angeles, but it calls New York City home. Combining performances, dancing, and fun food and drink, Bushwig is the party you always hoped to be invited to. Keep an eye on the group’s Facebook page to stay on top of upcoming dates, and start Speedo shopping in the meantime.

Hedda Presents the Classics

Movie Theater
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Drag personality Hedda Lettuce hosts the funniest movie night in town with Hedda Presents the Classics. The green queen brings her sharp wit, which fans will recognize from her appearances on Project Runway and Sex and the City, to Village East Cinema, where Hedda provides comedic commentary during screenings of Mommie Dearest, American Gigolo, and more.

Polish the Queen at The Stonewall Inn

Bar, LGBTQ Bar, American, $$$
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Fans of the hit VH1 series RuPaul’s Drag Race will love Polish the Queen, a real-life drag competition. At this event, held every Tuesday at the historic Stonewall Inn, New York City’s biggest drag divas battle it out for a cash prize as presenters Phil Chanel, Kristy Blaze, Godiva Romance set out to “polish a legend.”

Drag Brunch at Lips NYC

Restaurant, American, $$$
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Take your friend who swears they don’t like brunch to Lips NYC’s Drag Brunch. Mid-morning classics taste all the better when served with a side of Broadway tunes courtesy of Lips’ resident divas. Outrageous performances, such as a Mary Poppins lookalike singing ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’ while toting a bag of suspicious looking white powder, make this Sunday staple even better than caffeine.

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Monday in the Club with Lance

Theatre
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Emmy award-winning composer Lance Horne headlines this East Village cabaret show hosted at Club Cumming, co-owned by former Cabaret star Alan Cummings. Horne, who has worked with Liza Minnelli, Justin Bond, and Kylie Minogue, shows off his chops at this weekly show featuring show tunes, special guests, and if we know Cummings Bar, an (in)decent amount of debauchery.

Cabaret at Le Scandal

Theatre
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The locals’ go-to for all things burlesque has a lesser-known secret hidden up its sleeve, or rather, in its stocking. Known mainly for its risqué performances, Le Scandal also happens to be one of the city’s best cabaret destinations, featuring alums from BB Kings and more.

Don't Tell Mama

Bar, American, $$$
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Cabaret connoisseurs such as Liza Minnelli and Bette Midler have been fans of Don’t Tell Mama since the Theater District destination opened back in 1982. Named after a song from the 1966 Broadway musical Cabaret, the Restaurant Row mainstay hosts several cabaret shows, including the award-winning ‘Judy and Liza Together Again!’ and ‘Seth Rudetsky’s Broadway Chatterbox.’

This story is part of the Culture Trip collection: New York After Dark.

These recommendations were updated on November 8, 2019 to keep your travel plans fresh. This article is an updated version of a story created by Julia Goicochea

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