We explore the story of Melbourne’s drag scene.
Many of us know drag queens through the hit show RuPaul’s Drag Race. You may be familiar with people screaming “YAAAASSSSS QUEEEN” followed by a very loud tongue pop, or you’ve seen some exuberant costumes strutting down a runway.
RuPaul Charles has been integral in paving the way for many drag queens, however Melbourne’s drag scene consists of a large variety and history of different acts, all unique and fabulous in their own right – Okurrr.
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The most pivotal moment in Australian drag was in the early ’90s, when The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert launched drag into the mainstream. It was no longer seen as something which was taboo or shameful, but something to be celebrated. One of Melbourne’s most famous drag spots was Trish’s Coffee Shop in North Melbourne, which ran for over 25 years supporting new and emerging queens into the industry.
Fast forward to 2021, there is an abundance of regular drag shows across Melbourne. Not only can you go see a choreographed show, but you can participate in drag bingo, see drag queen stand up comedy and even hire queens to come to your bachelorette party.
Here’s an insight into where to go and who you can visit when exploring Melbourne’s thriving drag scene.
Mollie’s Bar & Diner
From ‘Drag and Spag’ nights, to drag bingo, this Fitzroy institution features a variety of different themed events, hosted by the likes of Sasha Starr, Leasa Mann and Tequila Mockingbird.
103 Smith St, Fitzroy. More info here.
Dinner and a show! Friday and Saturday nights at Vau d’vile is a sit down dinner with drag performances so gear up for a boozy night and a lot of fun. Vau’s also do drag bingo on Thursday nights. Expect to see the Vau d’vile Vixens made up of Bumpa Love, Jemima Handful, Jacqui Meoff, Bubbles International, Isis Avis Loren and Daytona 500.
62-70 Johnston Street, Fitzroy. More info here.
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The Rubber Chicken
At The Rubber Chicken, get ready for drag bingo hosted by Alexander McKween. Get yourself a $5 bingo card and expect a lot of laughs – it’s a cheap and cheerful night out every Wednesday.
256 Moray Street, South Melbourne. More info here.
Pride of our Footscray Community Bar
Pride of our Footscray’s signed pledge is “I am part of the human race and I respect diversity, including but not limited to, diversity of thought, opinion, gender, culture, ethnicity, religion and sexuality”. They have drag bingo Wednesdays hosted by Aurora Arsenic, Friday Pride Live featuring live music and drag, hosted by Joslyn Bosoms and Saturday Night Party with Bathsheba.
1/86-88 Hopkins St, Footscray. More info here.
On Tuesday nights Hawthorn’s Nevermind Bar hosts drag bingo with Simple the Drag Qween. $10 to play, it coincides with a $10 pizza night as well.
336 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn. More info here.
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Every Sunday, Kali Fornikate and Babyslutxo host a two-hour brunch for $65 per person. It’s bottomless spritzers and drag queens lip syncing for their lives! Where else would you want to be?!
213 High St, Prahran. More info here.
Thomas Jasper’s Big Gay Trivia Night is on every Tuesday, while there’s Candee Shoppe Cabaret weekly, featuring performances from queens, Miss Candee, Laura Gravity and Suzie Ridge. DT’s Hotel is described as an unpretentious gay-friendly space.
164 Church St, Richmond. More info here.
Keen on another fun read? Check out our piece on all the spots to get your film developed in Melbourne.