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Top Ten Working NYC Drag Queens

Updated on January 14, 2015

There is a drag scene in just about every big city all over the United States, but none compares to that of New York City! Of course, the hit LOGO TV series “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has brought much attention to drag queens and given many of these ladies their 5 minutes of fame; but what most people don’t realize is the vast amount of undiscovered talent and free nightlife entertainment available at their local gay bar. The hours of work and immense theatrical abilities put into these weekly shows will rival much of the live theatre in NYC or any RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant. Whether you’re a tourist to the Big Apple or a long time resident, here is a list of the top ten drag queens that you can see out and about working hard almost every night of the week keeping NYC the “city that doesn’t sleep!!”

10. Kareem McJagger

The bearded, gender bending scene queen Kareem McJagger will get your party started wherever the party may be! This hot-bodied hunk with a heart of gold has been turning out off-the-wall looks making him the belle of every ballroom. Kareem is not afraid to bare some skin to get your blood pumping and the booze flowing.

  • Saturdays:“Glow” at G Lounge (19th St. between 7th and 8th Ave.)
  • Mondays: “How to Get Away With Mondays” at Boots and Saddle Bar (Christopher St. between 7th Ave and Bleeker St.)
  • Tuesdays: “Karaoke Tuesday” at Pieces Bar (Christopher St. between 6th Ave. and Gay St.)

9. Ari Kiki

This larger than life lady is a hot mess in a dress….and sometimes she foregoes the dress! Ari is an act you won’t want to miss in NYC, with her farcical mannerisms and over the top clown makeup. She will have you in stitches, and then if you’re lucky she’ll strip you down for a sexy selfie. Ms. Kiki’s lip synchs are like no other, with comedic style you won’t be able to un-see. She’s a tacky Latina who loves the boys and the boys love her right back!

  • Tuesdays: “Tacky Tuesdays” at Boots and Saddle Bar (Christopher St. between 7th Ave and Bleeker St.)
  • Select Saturdays: “Riot” at Stonewall Inn (Christopher St. between 7th Ave. and Waverly Place)

8. Lauren Ordair

Move over, Adele…this lady can sing!! When she’s not serving you booze, breakfast, and belting at Lips Restaurant, she is hosting one of her many gigs around town with a voice you have to see to believe! This full figured class act has a vocal range that rivals any queen on the scene with vocal power that can be heard all around Queens and Manhattan. She’ll seduce you first with her voice, then her friendly personality as she takes the stage throughout the week, finishing up with a Broadway Brunch at Lips Restaurant that will beat any Sunday matinee!

  • Sundays: “Broadway Brunch” at Lips Restaurant (56th St. between 2nd and 3rd Ave.)
  • Wednesdays: “Spotlight Karaoke” at Icon (33rd St. between Broadway and 31st Ave. in Queens)
  • Thursdays: “The Fat Lady Sings” at The Duplex (Christopher St. and 7th Ave.)

7. Bootsie Lefaris

An NYC drag queen should ideally be a triple threat, and Bootsie is no exception! She’s got the voice, the hostess personality, and the dance moves to keep any audience entertained all night long. Bootsie is a staple at Industry Bar’s “Queen” and a woman of many faces in the “Distorted Diznee” Series at the Laurie Beechman Theatre. Make sure you get a chance to see her sing live and experience her lady-like vocal range that will make you want to double check her tuck.

  • Saturdays: “Sinful Saturdays” at Pieces Bar (Christopher St. between 6th Ave. and Gay St.)
  • Saturdays and Sundays: “Bootsie’s Boozy Brunch” at Gallo Nero Restaurant (7th Ave. South between Bleeker St. and Grove St.)
  • Thursdays: “Bootsie LeFaris” at Boots and Saddle Bar (Christopher St. between 7th Ave and Bleeker St.); then “Queen” at Industry (52nd St. between 8th and 9th Ave)
  • Fridays: “Pop It Up” at Hardware Bar (10th Ave. between 47th and 48th St.)
  • Select Fridays: “Distorted Diznee” at the Laurie Beechman Theatre (42nd St. between 9th and 10th Ave.)

6. Frostie Flakes

The fight for equal rights in NYC may seem like a thing of the past, after gay marriage became legal a few years back, but the fight remains real for this drag activist! By day, she is yelling into a megaphone or getting arrested for stopping traffic, and by night she is belting out karaoke tunes as a staple of XES Lounge. She even raises funds once a month for homeless LGBTQ youth at the historical Stonewall Inn, and most recently led a rally against anti-gay neighbors of the West Village’s Boots and Saddle Bar. Don’t let the pink wig and makeup fool you…this chick is no clown!

  • Sundays: “Truth or Dare Karoake” at XES Lounge (24th St. between 6th and 7th Ave.)
  • Mondays: “Let’s Take a Selfie” at Boots and Saddle Bar (Christopher St. between 7th Ave and Bleeker St.)
  • Select Saturdays: “Riot” at Stonewall Inn (Christopher St. between 7th Ave. and Waverly Place)

5. Holly Dae

This leggy blonde is hostess to some of NYC’s hottest nights, including the long running, award winning weekly drag revue “Queen;” as well as the “Distorted Diznee” series on Friday nights at the Laurie Beechman Theatre. Not only is Ms. Dae a lovely host, but much of her hard work goes unseen as she runs the behind the scenes of these major productions: the costumes, the scenery, the makeup, the props! But she sure does know how to let loose and lead you to where the boys are, the naked boys that is: at her weekly show at Pieces Bar, “Spunk!”

  • Sundays: “Spunk” at Pieces Bar (Christopher St. between 6th Ave. and Gay St.)
  • Select Mondays: "New York's Next Top Drag Queen Contest" at The Metropolitan Room (22nd St. between 5th and 6th Ave.)
  • Wednesdays: "Holly and Her Dollies" at Monster Bar (Grove St. and Washington Place)
  • Thursdays: “Queen” at Industry (52nd St. between 8th and 9th Ave)
  • Select Fridays: “Distorted Diznee” at The Laurie Beechman Theatre (42nd St. between 9th and 10th Ave.)

4. Marti Gould Cummings

This gender-bending queen is like watching Liza Minelli on speed! The seemingly scatter-brained, high-energy vocal styling of Marti Gould Cummings will be sure to titillate and entertain you as this attractive, sometimes un-tucked man in a dress bounces off the walls and belts to the rafters at one of his many NYC one (wo)man shows. Marti is both Emcee and Sally Bowles of these cabarets, and is sure to regale you with one of his/her many celebrity encounters along the way to stardom.

  • Sundays: “Untucked and Uncensored” at The Ritz (46th St. between 8th and 9th Ave.)
  • Tuesdays: “Karaoke Tuesdays” at Pieces Bar (Christopher St. between 6th Ave. and Gay St.)
  • Wednesdays: “Drag Academy” at G Lounge (19th St. between 7th and 8th Ave.)

3. Paige Turner

Known around town as the “Showbiz Spitfire,” Paige Turner is always accompanied by a gander of twinky theatre boys and is known for getting them to strip down to their birthday suits, especially when it’s not their birthday. It’s no wonder her catchphrase is “Slurp,” as her followers will leave you drooling before the curtain even rises on this blonde Broadway bombshell. Her offbeat banter, old-timey style, and musical theatre production numbers will transport you to the old days of the Great White Way!

  • Sundays: “Slurp” at Therapy (52nd St. between 8th and 9th Ave)
  • Wednesdays: “Werk Wednesdays” at Hardware Bar (10th Ave. between 47th and 48th St.)
  • Select Thursdays: “So You Think You Can Drag” at New World Stages (50th St. between 8th and 9th Ave.)

2. Tina Burner

A mix between hot mess and, well…she’s a hot mess, but a hilarious one at that. Tina puts her signature boozy stamp on countless lip synch mixes compiled of sound bites from top 40 music, Broadway, cult films, classic sitcoms, or outdated infomercials. No topic is off limits: STD’s, domestic abuse, dead celebrities…she runs the gamut. With the mouth of a sailor, the body of a scarecrow, and the cocktail appetite of Lindsey Lohan, you’re in for a night of inappropriate remarks and groaning laughter at one of her many long running shows.

  • Sundays: “Electro Brunch” at Intermezzo (8th Ave. between 20th and 21st St.)
  • Mondays: “Rated X” at The Ritz (46th St. between 8th and 9th Ave.)
  • Wednesdays: “Burner and Brooks” at Barracuda (22nd St. between 7th and 8th Ave.)
  • Thursdays: “Star Search Drag Contest” at Barracuda (22nd St. between 7th and 8th Ave.)

1. Bob the Drag Queen

Don’t let the name fool you, coming in at #1 is this curvy comedy queen who has dazzled audiences of almost every gay bar in NYC at one point or another with her quick wit, eclectic style, and lip synchs that will bring you to your feet! Hers is the show to see, boys; weather she’s leading a competition of newly born drag queens on Tuesdays at Industry’s “Bad Drag Queen” or doing musical numbers mixed with stand up at Barracuda’s “The Bob Show” on Monday nights, I will guarantee you will not be able to get enough of her!! Bob is THE MUST SEE of NYC nightlife!!

  • Sundays: “Look Queen” at Monster Bar (Grove St. and Washington Place)
  • Mondays: “The Bob Show” at Barracuda (22nd St. between 7th and 8th Ave.)
  • Tuesdays: “Bad Drag Queen” at Industry (52nd St. between 8th and 9th Ave.)
  • Wednesdays”The Help” at Therapy (52nd St. between 8th and 9th Ave.)
  • Thursdays: “Bob at Boots” at Boots and Saddle (Christopher St. between 7th Ave and Bleeker St.)
  • Select Thursdays: “Queen” at Industry (52nd St. Between 8th and 9th Ave.)

© 2015 Brian Kalinowski


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    • FreakFran profile image

      Francine Oliveira 

      4 years ago from Minas Gerais, Brasil

      Fierce queens! They have such different styles, and it's so interesting to see each performer's interpretation of drag!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I live for Bob!


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