This piece initially appeared on Pride.com. Read the original here.
When you think of drag queen hubs around the U.S., Florida isn't usually the first place that comes to mind. But during my visit to Miami, I discovered some of the best shows I've ever witnessed firsthand.
When I first arrived in the city, I stopped for a drink at Palace South Beach, an iconic Miami Beach bar that's been around for decades just yards away from the water. When the show starts, you'll quickly learn why. One queen performed Bon Jovi's "You Give Love A Bad Name" in the rain, broke into cartwheels in high-heeled boots, and shook her titties under the pouring water like she was in Flashdance. The gays were gagged, of course, but the restaurant was packed with people from all walks of life and it was surreal to see women who looked like my Aunties screaming over drag queens right next to a table of exotic dancers throwing ones like their lives depended on it. On top of that, Palace's servers are so beautiful that it feels like you're staring directly into the sun as you order your QuesaDiva.
Time Out Market also hosts a Drag Queen Bingo night every Thursday and when it aligns with RuPaul's Drag Race, you can catch a watch party. Alongside the games and show, the marketplace allows visitors to choose between seventeen of Miami's finest restaurants for a delicious meal. The bar featured a beautiful Pride-themed cocktail with multi-colored gummi bears. I stopped by Pho Mo because there's nothing I love more than hot Vietnamese soup on a summer evening (I'm not being funny here, I really do) and the staff was so sweet.
I wish I had the chance to taste a pastry or two from award-winning chef Antonio Bachour. My chef friend recognized where I was from my Instagram story and yelled at me to try one but the establishment was closing and I missed out. Next time!
But the highlight of the trip was R House's drag brunch. Located in Wynwood not too far from the area's iconic graffiti walls was this unassuming gem. I showed up at 2:30pm and the line was down the block. For $50, each guest gets bottomless mimosas, a full family-style meal from Chef/Owner Rocco Carulli, and one of the best shows of your life.
The royal Athena Dion hosts the boozy brunch, Morphine Love Dion slammed into splits during her Nicki Minaj medley, Angie Ovahness Pryce twerked in a headstand to Rihanna's "Bitch Better Have My Money," and the stunningly beautiful Gadfrie delivered a show-stopping Beyonce Coachella medley that nearly had me in tears of joy. In another performance, Gadfrie stripped away reveal after reveal to strut around nearly naked, then straddled a patron and (with his consent) poured a full carafe of water over the both of them. You can hear my squeals in the video below:
At one point, Dion led the crowd into a conga line that quickly evolved into an all-out twerk-session in the middle of the venue. I haven't screamed so much in a long time. Book early!
As I checked out Miami's drag scene, I realized I'd seen many of these queens – and the bars they were performing in – on TikTok and Twitter. And this is just a taste of the queens out there! Miami has a reputation that proceeds itself, and it's about time these incredible drag queens are recognized.