The drag scene in Miami has a long and rich history, dating back to way before bachelorette parties were “yas queen” -ing their way down Ocean Drive. Local queens have been entertaining Miamians and tourists alike for years, and a recent surge in popularity (thanks, RuPaul!) has allowed the art form to explode into the mainstream. This guide features three spots with weekly shows to catch some local and national talent. Just be sure to remember the first rule of drag shows: always tip your queens.
Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 11am and 2pm
Neon t-shirts, sunburned tourists in flip flops, a drag queen doing a death drop off a double-decker bus. Some things are just quintessential South Beach. You can find all of these and more at Palace, possibly the most iconic LGBTQ+ venue in South Florida. It’s located right on the recently pedestrianized Ocean Drive, so those unable to snag reservations at the always-packed seatings tend to line up along the street to enjoy the show. Stars like Fantasia Royale Gaga and Elishaly D’Witshes (the aforementioned “Queen of the Bus”) use the sidewalk as a runway, strutting between tables to classic drag hits from Whitney and Beyonce. Bottomless mimosas at $45 per person (including an entrée) ensure the crowd stays rowdy and engaged throughout the shows, and while the food is just alright, it’s the last thing we’re thinking about while watching a performer backflip into a full split in the middle of the sidewalk.
Sundays at 12:30 and 2:30pm
Head about a mile north and you’ll find Sweet Liberty’s slightly less chaotic Fruit Cocktail brunch. Mostly indoors (and air conditioned), it’s less of a beach rager and more of a cabaret-style experience. Hosted by local legend Karla Croqueta, the recently relaunched show features a live DJ and a rotating list of entertainers. The drink menu is as long as a Spotify-curated Pride playlist, featuring hits like “The Breakfast Martini” and the titular “Fruit Cocktail,” but there’s also a bottomless rosé option at $35 per person that’s hard to pass up. You can find a platter of oysters on almost every table, although we’re partial to the Ridiculous French Toast, which, smothered in caramel and vanilla cream, definitely lives up to its name. Reservations are required, but bar seating is first come, first served, and usually available.
Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30am and 2:30pm
Owners and husband-and-husband duo Rocco Carulli and Owen Bale created R House with a vision of a “judgment-free zone,” and that definitely shows in its now-famous drag brunches. The showings are always packed with everyone from families to coworkers to sorority girls to guys who were dragged here by their girlfriends but are now kind of digging the whole thing. While the restaurant has decent indoor space, the outside patio is where the action’s at. Grab one of the Wynwood spot’s giant handheld fans and sit in the tented shade while host Athena Dion and friends rile up the crowd. The family-style options like the Cuban breakfast croissant and the chimichurri cheeseburger sliders are pretty good, but they’re hard to focus on since the servers tend to be very generous with the bottomless drinks. Everything’s included in the $50 per person fee and there are vegan and kids’ options as well.