From variety nights to solo performances and brunches, here are the best drag events at LGBTQ+ venues around London.
Last year, the drag community was hit hard by the pandemic. The closure of LGBTQ+ spaces meant that events and gatherings have been paused for nearly 18 months. “I fear that, because budgets have been squeezed, we will see a lot of queens taking off their heels and setting them aside for the last time,” Muslim drag queen, Asifa Lahore, told Stylist during the summer. However, she insisted, “Drag will survive.”
Now that lockdown is easing and spaces are starting to reopen, we know that Lahore was 100% right. Sure, we’re still waiting for nightclubs to return, but there are still plenty of other ways to join and celebrate the drag community in real life again. And, with Pride Month in full swing, now is definitely the time to book plans this month and beyond.
If you’re looking for some fun plans, check out these five drag events in London…
Proud Embankment is home to the majestic two-storied venue in the West End where Proud Cabaret hosts a spectacular array of shows. Expect world class drag, circus and burlesque. This June, Duncan James stars in Cabaret All Stars, a variety dinner show with lots of LGBTQ+ talent providing entertainment.
“The importance of the return of drag to London can’t be overstated,” says head of talent at Proud Embankment, Victoria Emerson. “After what was for most the dreariest year ever, a night of sequins, feathers and cabaret is certainly what the doctor ordered.”
The Karaoke Hole
Sadly, karaoke fans will need to wait a while longer to get their hands on a microphone in Dalston’s K Hole. But there are plenty of drag acts to keep you entertained in the club’s cabaret nights. Yes, your favourite drag queens will be hosting hilarious nights such as Meal Deal For One: Songs For The Broken Hearted and The Wind That Shakes The Wig: A Celebration Of Irish Queer Icons.
The Clapham Grand
The Clapham Grand is one of south London’s most famous venues, and its drag nights are beloved by all who visit. As well as hosting a variety of UK drag artists from Diane Chorley to Lilly Snatchdragon and beyond, The Grand is the capital city’s home of extraordinaire drag promoter, Klub Kids – who bring the likes of the fabulous queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race to its stage for vibrant variety nights and solo shows.
One of east London’s most legendary LQBTQ+ bars, The Glory proudly calls itself a “drag hothouse”. Run by iconic London drag queens Jonny Woo and John Sizzle, they invite a dazzling line-up of drag performers to its stage. There’s a wildly creative selection of shows that are put on throughout the week for all your drag entertainment needs and beyond.
Dalston Superstore is a thriving queer club in Hackney, proudly catering for the local LGBTQ+ community. Its Drag Brunches have gained cult-status, as has its wild club and drag nights. Most events are still running – guests just need to try to stay at their tables rather than getting up for a dance together (which, admittedly, is quite an ask).
Image: Proud Cabaret