There’s a new cowboy-themed drag and karaoke bar opening in Fitzroy this Friday

There’s a new cowboy-themed drag and karaoke bar opening in Fitzroy this Friday

words by sidonie bird de la coeur

Ahead of the launch of his new bar on Friday we speak to Nicholas Jones, the owner of Wows, about camp, cowboys and queer nights out.

If you ascend the staircase next to Yah Yahs next Friday, you’ll find yourself in a hyper-camp Western themed saloon, with drag queens hosting karaoke performances, bartenders dressed up as cowboys and DJs spinning tracks late into the night.

This is Wows, the newest queer-oriented venue owned and operated by Nicholas Jones, who currently owns Yah Yahs and Cherry Bar. “It’s going to be camp,” Nick says when asked what a typical night at Wows will look like, “I wanted to do something that was silly and fun. I wanted drag queens to run the karaoke [because] I think it will be really disarming – everyone loves drag queens and they make you feel really comfortable. We thought: how can we make karaoke even more fun and even more camp? Let’s have drag queens.”

What you should know

  • Wows is a cowboy themed drag and karaoke bar on Smith Street
  • It’s a queer space that will be open until late all weekend
  • The opening is on Friday night!

Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around Melbourne here.

Designed to look like an old Western saloon except with a lot more glitter, guests are invited to dress up to fit in with the theme. When asked about the cowboy theme, Nick says “I love in queer spaces when you flip the script – drag is about flipping gender norms, giving the middle finger to what society says that you should be – and what better way to do that than with something that is as hyper masculine as cowboy?”


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“Wows is … 100% my biggest passion project, this is about me trying to give back to the community and trying to create a space that I wish existed when I was 18,” he continues. “It’s not lost on me that the clubbing experience can be intimidating and that’s particularly pertinent for younger queer kids – so creating spaces where they feel safe to express themselves and feel safe to explore themselves, I think is really important.”

“This project is probably the project that I’ve spent the longest on. I’m out here on the strip every Thursday night meeting people … talking to the younger queer kids who come out here on a Thursday night and it seemed really apparent to me that there was a big gap in the market for a space for those kids to come on Friday or Saturday night on Smith Street.”

If you’re looking for a venue that is a safe space for all those who identify as LGBTQI+, want to belt out some tunes at karaoke or just really like wearing big hats, chaps and spurs – check out Wows. “Let’s just be camp,” Nick says, “and camp is about being irreverent, being fun, being silly – we all take ourselves way too seriously and I think we have the best nights when we don’t.”

Visit Wows, the yee-haaa Karaoke Bar, at 97B Smith Street Fitzroy, or follow them on Instagram by heading here.