The best drag there is.
I don’t know about you, but there’s only one show that’s been getting me through the third lockdown - and that show is Drag Race UK. Having been a massive fan of the US original, I was so gassed when I realised they were making a version right here in the UK. It’s bold, brash, and unapologetically unique; whilst also being wholesome and empowering, which is exactly what the doctor ordered amid one of the bleakest winters on record. Over the last few months, I’ve come to the conclusion that Bimini Bon Boulash can get you through anything.
I can’t claim to be directly involved in the UK drag scene – there have been plenty of queens involved in it for decades; hustling, facing discrimination, and basically doing whatever it takes to follow their passion. However, thanks in part to opportunities like Drag Race, the UK drag scene has exploded in mainstream popularity over the last couple of years. Although queens across the country have been temporarily stopped in their (platform heeled) tracks due to the pandemic, as restrictions ease, we are slowly seeing shows and drag bars coming back – bigger and better than ever.
We have so many recommendations we can offer you if you are either a hardcore drag fan, or like me, have been introduced to it more recently.
1. Bar WOTEVER at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, Vauxhall
It would be unthinkable to compile a list of the best drag nights without including the Royal Vauxhall Tavern somewhere on our list. The Royal Vauxhall Tavern has been a gay institution since the end of World War Two when servicemen and local gay men used the venue as a meeting place. In the 1980s, The RVT became known as ‘The Palladium of Drag’ with stars such as Paul O’Grady as Lily Savage who had an 8 year, 4 times a week residency.
Steeped in heritage, Bar WOTEVER – otherwise known as the Royal Queer Variety Show – happens every Tuesday night. The event welcomes everybody regardless of how you identify, and offers cabaret acts, live music, films, spoken word nights and even film screenings.
Tickets are available on the door for this event with a suggested price of £6 for full price entrants and £4 for concessions – amazing value for money. Find out more here.
2. The Drag Brunchette at Zebrano, Soho
We love Zebrano here at Licklist. Nestled in London’s historical Greek Street, Zebrano has a long history of offering world-class alternative comedy, music, and drinking – the site was once owned by iconic comedian Peter Cook.
Post-lockdown, Zebrano is picking up exactly where it left off. Breaking us all out of the pandemic blues, Vanity von Glow is bringing us an exciting new drag and cabaret show. This Brunch event gives Vanity a chance to show off her hilarious repartee and amazing live vocals, accompanied by the world-renowned pianist Alice Keys (not Alicia Keys – I know, we had to do a double-take too).
Bottomless bellinis and 50% off cocktails is the best way to shake us all out of our post-pandemic paralysis. Book here now.
3. Between the Bridges, Southbank
Calling all Drag Race fans – Between the Bridges is hosting drag brunches every Saturday from 29th May with some of our favourite stars from the show including Ginny Lemon, Lawrence Chaney, Tayce, and (my personal fav) BAGA CHIPZ! It promises to be an incredible night, with some truly outrageous moments. Expect live performances, lip sync battles and death drops. We wouldn’t expect less…
Set right along the Southbank, Between the Bridges looks set to rival Alexandra Palace’s Terrace for the title of “London’s biggest beer garden”. The site is a brand new 4,000 square foot venue boasting food, music and plenty to drink.
You can find out all you need to know here – be warned, this place looks all set to sell out fast!
4. Glitterbomb, Kent
Glitterbomb is planning an absolute drag extravaganza this summer, and we can’t wait. Plucked straight from Ru Paul’s Drag Race, Glitterbomb will be hosting the sensational Baga Chipz, the hilarious Lawrence Chaney and the breath-taking Bimini Bon-Boulash – if this wasn’t enough, also joining them will be Drag Race alumni Sum Ting Wong and Britain’s Got Talent Veteran Danny Beard!
Taking place in Maidstone in Kent on the 25th June, Glitterbomb is all set to pave the way for future festivals of drag. Tickets are on sale now and you’ll have to get in there quickly to secure your place. Book now!
5. Keela Kraving’s, Hoxton
The sassiest drag show in the capital is back, and they’re giving us everything we’ve been waiting for over lockdown! Every Saturday at Gigi’s Hoxton, Keela Kraving and her gaggle of girls including Santi Storm, Soraya Marchelle, Mocha, Baby, take to the stage, bringing you the best performance east London can offer. Find out who exactly will be joining Keela Kraving on her IG here.
Tickets include a free welcome cocktail, a premium two course meal, bottomless prosecco, two hours of the best drag around, and – get this – free access to the bar for the rest of the day! This is the perfect post-lockdown celebration for everyone, young or old.
Find out more here.
So, there you have it – the unadulterated guide to the best drag around. Sashay away girls!
Words by Rebecca Clayton