100. Gloria Swansong
For her Miss Hell’s Kitchen talent number, New York’s favorite throwback queen reached for a perfect reinterpretation of a pop culture moment that happened later chronologically then her usual 40s-era repertoire, but was itself a throwback: Madonna’s 1990 VMA performance of “Vogue” with it’s 18th century stylings. Gloria’s take was flawless, winning her the crown. Also known throughout NYC as a top designer and dressmaker, Gloria co-hosts (with Golden Delicious) an immensely popular weekly brunch at Fresco’s Cantina in Astoria, and regularly presents a series of loving Judy Garland tributes at Stonewall.
99. Phil Chanel
The Jersey-based event producer and host is best known for the pivotal Polish The Queen drag competition at Stonewall, but was busy this year helming events at ReBar, Bedlam, Sall Restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen and other spots as well.
98. Lady Bunny
Even the most jaded and seasoned among us can’t help but sometimes be like the other lady in this much-memed pic, gawking at the splendor of New York’s (and Earth’s, really) most famous Golden Age drag queen and her towering coifs. Entirely un-P.C. and unfiltered, Bunny’s had a long career of marching to the beat of her own drum–on her own planet–that we can learn from and respect. Whether she’s getting banned from Twitter for playfully calling Bianca Del Rio a “lezzer” or staunchly Bernie Bro-ing, Bunny can be a controversial figure to some… but that just makes her all the more important to nightlife. Besides DJing disco tea dances at Monster and RuGirl revues for Voss Events, and touring with her new comedy stage show Pig In A Wig, this year our Lady was the lead subject of WIG. HBO’s documentary covered her groundsbreaking drag festival Wigstock and its massive 2018 reboot, and seeing archive footage of a svelte and short-wigged 90’s Bunny shaking it in Tompkins Square Park is a true trip down the rabbit hole.
97. Blvck Laé D
This whimsical cosplayer and performer of original music is Dromedary Bar’s house queen, and the brains behind the popular monthly “Let’s Have…” events there, which includes the new Little Mx. Bitch pageant that crowned Junior Mint. She also hosts the major monthly benefit show at Macri Park, Wallbreaker, and is all-in-all an important new mover and shaker of Brooklyn nightlife.
96. Pepto Dismal
All the way from LA, this edgy queen recently performed at The Vault in Brooklyn but has otherwise become one of that borough’s go-to DJ for parties and shows.
95. Yuhua Hamasaki
A New York drag queen for at least a decade (and she’s only in her twenties), Drag Race Season 10 alum Yuhua maintains a strong presence in the city with her weekly Friday happy hour show at Pieces. She’s also a busy designer and seamstress of drag looks for much of the city. When she’s not home or abroad, catch our gurl on YouTube where she hosts her own Bootleg Opinions drag fashion review show, and now a sewing tutorial for WoW as well.
94. Hot Rabbit
Although it built its reputation as a fun party conglomerate catering to queer women, Hot Rabbit has really become a destination brand for nightlifers across the LGBTQ spectrum over the years, featuring top DJs, and guest performers, colorful flare and a safe space assurance. Currently holding strong with alternating monthlies at DROM in the East Village and Lot 45 in Bushwick, Hot Rabbit also sponsored fun pop-ups in venues like Baby’s All Right.
93. FiFi DuBois
Miss Gay Midwest America! Miss Gay America Top 4! It was a great pageant year for what we still say is one of NYC’s most criminally underused drag queens: the hilarious, gorgeous and dance-tastic Miss FiFi, co-host of Stonewall’s weekly drag competition Polish the Queen.
92. Haus of Sterling
Tiffany Jones, Candy and Sookie Sterling are the fashionable drag trio who, along with DJ P_A_T, are responsible for one of Brooklyn’s hottest weekend parties, The Rosemont’s Fake Nudes. The sisters are now also venturing out to do their own things as well, across all the boroughs.
91. Shane Tate
One of the NYC Bearverse’s best known partymakers, Shane manned Key West Bear Weekend and Fire Island Bear Weekend before bringing his fan favorite weekly happy hour “Beers & Bears” back to The Ritz. He’s since transferred it over to the already bear-friendly Rockbar.
90. Mocha Lite & Misty Meaner
The longtime pair both on and off-stage have weathered all that nightlife and its destructive underbelly have thrown at them, emerging as true cult heroes of Brooklyn and Manhattan as well. And while folk heroism is surely fun, the pair are mostly just here for their mutual love of drag and entertaining people. These days, the duo hosts Queerpong Thursday nights at The Phoenix, while Mocha does shows with Lilith LeFae at Macri Park.
89. Heidi Haux
Our working theory is that Heidi is currently the city’s funniest, smartest and all around best emcee. It might stem from a year of hosting what may be the city’s longest weekly show (“Get Happy,” Saturdays at Pieces from 4 to 8pm or later), or from just wrapping up the third season as emcee of Icon Bar’s increasingly epic Iconic drag competition, or from being a longtime multitasker at Lips Restaurant, or from presenting uniquely intelligent cabaret showcases like her run of First Haux (a historical tribute to the likes of Jackie O and Mary Todd Lincoln in this age of Melania) at The Duplex this year. Or maybe she was just born that way.
88. Occupy The Disco
One of the best known EDM and House DJ teams in the city, OxD (Josh Appelbaum, Tad Haes and RuBot) maintained their super successful seasonal residency at Le Bain–Paradisco–while bringing the beats to additional venues like Good Room, 3 Dollar Bill and the Pines Pavilion.
87. Viva Vidalia
The drag diva has been gracing us with her versatility as of late: showing off her opera-trained singing chops, her electric dance moves, and her warm, funny presence as an emcee. She also deals with as ever-expanding scope of commissions as a designer for other queens. These days, Viva is hosting karaoke and a monthly party at Boxers HK, Thotyssey’s own monthly “Viva & a Diva” at The Vault, and is now a frequent presence at Macri Park as well.
86. Nicole Onoscopi
The gorgeous and funny queen is tailor-made for pageantry, having placed in several local pageants as well as earning “Fan Favorite” at this year’s Miss’d America in Atlantic City. But Nicole’s also becoming a pretty popular show host in town, currently handling Saturday brunch at La Pulperia East and occasional shows at Rockbar while also co-hosting the upscale weekly drag experience “3 Fine Wines” at the Rosé Mansion with Ritzy Bitz.
85. Jeff Eason
No one captures images of nightlife while its actually happening better or more frequently then this veteran photog, who at any given moment can be found somewhere in Manhattan, or Fire Island, or in the pages of Get Out Magazine.
84. Shiny Penny
Brooklyn’s seminal Door Pixie has graduated to full-on Fairy Queen (well, co-Fairy Queen with OG Ruby Roo) over at Macri Park’s Mondays on Mondays, as well as hosting her own monthly party there, Spare Change. Shiny’s a Lips queen now, too. And really, this emo elf has been sprinkling her magic dust over the whole city this year, enchanting us all.
Showing an increasingly appealing knack for quick comedy (when competing for this year’s Miss Stonewall and mysteriously asked by a judge “Why? And Explain.” her rapidfire response was “Me, cuz I’m that bitch”), the super-appealing Misty makes for the perfect new brunch hostess over at La Pulperia HK. She also hosts a weekly show at Icon (or sometimes co-hosts with Sherry Poppins, or sometimes it’s just Sherry… whatevs), and is the cocktail waitress for the Invasions and Logan Hardcore’s show at Stonewall.
82. West Dakota
Voted the borough’s best drag queen in this year’s Brooklyn Nightlife Awards, West’s vibrant and brilliant looks rank her amongst drag’s most fashion forward and creative queens. Her visage has appeared in magazine spreads and catwalks, and as a co-host of The Rosemont’s uberpopular OOPS Wednesday she also shows off that she can dance, carry a tune and crack a joke as well. Few folks embody the edgy, fringe-meets-couture aesthetic of the city’s historical nightlife today quite like Ms. Dakota.
81. Diogo Ambrosio
The Brazilian bombshell is a relative newcomer to the scene, and is already producing some of the city’s most popular Latin and mixed nights, including weekend parties at various Boxers locations (Atrevete Fridays in Chelsea, Set It Off Saturdays in Washington Heights), plus the monthlies Pegate at ReBar and Fiesta Latina at Barrage.
80. Nowhere Bar
Known for a music-centric, friendly and unpretentious atmosphere, Nowhere remains the East Village staple where folks go to congregate and avoid the scene of a loud dragshow or circuit party. Not that the bar is completely devoid of sexiness (parties like Macho Mondays and Fire In The Hole feature gogo boys, and Ruffhouse is a popular fetish fest) or drag (Shiny Penny, Princess Bitch and Sandy Devastation pop in for special occasions), but the general atmosphere is something refreshlingly unique. It’s noteworthy that Nowhere is also the site of the city’s only recurring trans masc mixer (as far as far as queer bars go), SCRATCH (pictured above).
79. Ty Sunderland
The pop princess of club DJs is riding high with the continued success of his newish nightlife staple Heaven and Earth, a diva-of-the-month dance party / worshipfest at the China Chalet. Now Ty can also add the monthly Love Prism at 3 Dollar Bill to his hit parade, as well as frequent stints with Susanne Bartsch and Ladyfag.
As we’re writing this, we’re preparing to bid adieu to one of the city’s most beloved and bawdy Broadway comedy queens as she prepares to embark on her latest annual residency in Puerto Villarta. We’ll make due with her also amazing co-hosts from Hardware’s Broadway Mondays, Cacophony Daniels and Paige Turner, in her absence. But we’ll still be counting the seconds til her return (as will the fans of her weekly Albatross show). Hopefully she’ll bring a new scripted show back with her, like she did this last time around with the mega-entertaining DRAGFLIX.
77. Kandy Muse
The Haus of Aja may be no more, but that family’s second best-known member has built a new family of her own: The Doll Haus. Kandy continues to host both Pieces’ popular Monday happy hour Queen 4 Queen alongside daughter Janelle No. 5, as well as Frankie Sharp’s Saturday night Metrosensual at Metro. She remains a popular queen both locally and in cyberspace.
76. The Nobodies
Reading the comments below the trio’s latest episode of Nobodies Watching Wrestling, their YouTube web series gay-critiquing (queertiquing?) recent matches, one really gets the impact that Ariel Italic, DJ Accident Report and Lady Bearica Andrews have had on that fandom. Their viewers seem to be mostly young, straight wrestling fans wishing love and luck to Bearica’s sobriety (which she discusses in the ep), reminding us all that sports and drag entertainment are not mutually exclusive worlds, and that wrestling fans are not completely homophobic. Likely The Nobodies’ popularity with wrestling fans (the three really do know what they’re talking about in their albeit salty commentary, after all) helped soften a bit of the homophobia that was there. And who knows… maybe they helped open the doors for the WWE’s first out wrestler? Meanwhile: the Mx. Nobody all-exclusive, drag-as-art-friendly pageant they run had a fourth successful season; Accident Report is still getting actual articles published in real magazines; Ariel and Bearica host a popular brunch at Dromedary; and the trio make several queer wrestling event appearances a year in addition to hosting a monthly dance party called Nope at the Vault.
75. Izzy Uncut
Known for her flexible athleticism and sunny disposition, Izzy’s becoming One To Watch this year. For now, check her out at Hardware on Sundays (with Rosé) and Fridays (with Jasmine Kennedie), and at Pieces on Wednesdays (with Miss Ogeny).
Acerbic and unfiltered, funny and fashionable, generous and benevolent… Alotta is a lot of all these things and more! Known as a veteran Brooklyn queen where she hosts weekly trivia at Metro and a monthly at Macri Park (which is also where she, Miz Jade and Acid Betty throw Brooklyn’s best Drag Race viewing parties), Ms. McGriddles is an East Village queen as well, featured at The Phoenix’s Saturday night party. Alotta survived a health scare this year and is thus twice as badass as she ever was… and we are cheering her all the way.
A true style icon mixing “high” and “low” fashions to create some truly sexy statements, Brooklyn bombshell Magenta mesmerizes the Rosemont audiences with her looks and moves every OOPS Wednesday. She also hosts two monthly situations at Macri Park with Merrie Cherrie and DJ P_A_T, respectively.
A drag performer for just about two years now, pint-sized powerhouse Egypt emerged from the ball scene to become a fan favorite bar queen thanks to her electric dancing and flair for drama and costuming. A protege of Tina Burner, Egypt is one of that legend’s favorite guest performers and the host of The Monster’s Monday night party. She’s also a surviving castmember of Voss Events’ Drag Brunch, currently at the Imperium.
71. 3 Dollar Bill
Brooklyn’s cavernous, castle-esque venue is still fairly new and working out the kinks, but in certain respects has already found its groove. It doesn’t hurt to have a killer sound and light system with an actual stage for ideal live performance, a chill outdoor space, delicious Mexican food, and an overall dungeon decor that pushes carnality right to the surface. It’s the perfect spot for circuit parties (M.E.A.T.), drag shows (King Ivy’s weekly House Down Boots), balls (Leggoh LaBeija’s OTA Mondays), bigger ticket events (more and more Drag Race girls are starting to favor this younger, hipper spot for their stage shows over the same old cabaret spaces), awards shows (the Brooklyn Nightlife Awards), live music festivals (GiantFest) and immersive theater (the hit Oscar @ The Crown, pictured above). Lets hope more of the kids catch on soon enough!
Stonewall’s house DJ was a pretty important person this past World Pride Month, providing the soundtrack for the million or so visitors who came through to celebrate one of the most important civil rights movements in the country’s history. But Chauncey’s a busy guy in general, manning the audio and lights for most of Stonewall’s shows and parties (including his own monthly live music and poetry-centric showcase Freak-Out and his annual Madonna Worship) while occasionally venturing out to DJ in spots like The Cock and Rockbar. Also a recognizable figure in the NYC Bearosphere, Mr. Dandridge helps run the events of The Urban Bear Weekend, while almost simultaneously helping to steer the Dance Parade these past few summers. Somebody let this man hibernate!
69. Miz Jade
The longtime Brooklyn beauty can do it all: dance, turn a look, destroy RuGirls with blistering Drag Race viewing party commentary, etc. Nowadays she’s hosting a Sunday weekly at Metropolitan and monthlies both there and at sister bar Macri Park, but Jade is definitely a queen who can make the children gag all over the city when the opportunity presents itself (she’s a daytime dance teacher, so a diva has only so much time to serve us).
68. Lady Simon
Although rarely revisiting the drag stage these days (he was an angsty pioneer of a certain generation of Brooklyn art queens), Lady Simon has become one of the favorite DJs for both kikis and shows thanks to his eclectic discography. Catch him in the booths of Macri Park, Metro, The Rosemont, The Vault, Happyfun Hideaway and wherever queer Brooklyn people happen to be craving out-of-the-box music.
67. David Serrano
A longtime DJ of the scene via both dance floors (currently including the Ritz and Rise Bar) and drag shows (the longtime knob-turner for the seminal QUEEN revue at Industry and the Voss Events Drag Brunch to name just two), David has as of late really come into his own as a photographer as well. His photos showcase the glam and sexiness of his nightlife colleagues. It’ll be interesting to see the categories of GLAM love he gets this year… especially considering he DJ’ed last year’s awards show.
66. Scarlet Envy
One of NYC’s most beautiful queens made for some great television. Even though she’s well-known in this city for being a kind professional, we still got five minutes in the RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11 reunion episode of cast members talking about how unlikable she was. It was kind of a gross moment–especially in a season where Silky Nutmeg Ganache hogged the bulk of camera time with tyrannical drama and was widely panned by viewers–but to her credit, our girl seemed largely unbothered. The season did showcase many of her hidden strengths: she was a skilled comedic actress in the sketch challenges, and in her quite unjustifiable elimination she cut herself out of a gold dress with scissors while her competitor (what’s her name again?) relied on the usual dipping and dropping for the win. Obviously Scarlet is busy now on the road with her castmates and without, but here’s hoping we see more of her in the city in time.
65. Logan Hardcore
This past season on Fire Island has been described by many participants as “challenging,” which we interpret to mean “not a lot of people showed up.” There are probably several reasons for that, but let’s mention a big one right now: there was no Logan Hardcore show! The brutally blunt, wickedly stylish and always hilarious drag monster is synonymous with the Island, so her absence was a strange thing indeed. Oh well! Her NYC fans were lucky though, because not only did they get to enjoy another year of her longrunning Throwdown Thursdays at Stonewall, but her new twice-a-month Saturday liquid brunch at Hardware as well.
64. Ritzy Bitz
New York’s most gymnastic queen is also one of our favorite brunch hostesses. In 2019 Ritzy left La Pulperia (where she hosted brunch shows in the East Side location on Saturdays and the HK location on Sundays) to start an all-new, super fun Saturday and Sunday brunch experience at Haswell Green’s. And less we forget that this queen also comes out at night on occasion, Ritzy currently co-hosts a Wednesday show with Nicole Onoscopi and Jack Barrow at the Rosé Mansion.
63. Kimmi Moore
Turnting out your Spotify with a catchy original song “One Night” (which comes with a lavish video directed by her sis Nick Gaga), Kimmi reminded us that she is more than dancing queen–although she’s pretty damn good at that as well. One half of the founding members of drag family The Assassins, Kimmi’s been electrifying audiences with killer performances at her Tuesday Pieces show and Thursday Hardware show–both co-starring that other founding Assassin, Boudoir LeFleur. And this summer, she was a main attraction at Cherry’s on Fire Island.
62. Jada Valenciaga
A musical theater actor first and foremost, Jada has spent much of the year touring and rehearsing for productions. But this textbook definition of “fierce queen” did grace us with two versions of “Gurlesque,” her show with Tina Burner and Holly Box-Springs: weekly Wednesdays at Barracuda, and also this past summer at Cherry’s on Fire Island. She’s also a castmember of both QUEEN at Industry and the Voss Events Drag Brunch at the Imperium.
61. Pattaya Hart
Beauty and grace personified, the Thailand-born Pattaya kept the Miss Gay America crown in New York for one more year thanks to her 2019 win. Today you can find her with the casts of QUEEN at Industry and the Voss Events Drag Brunch at the Iridium, at Lucky Chengs, and co-hosting a new weekly drag competition with her Miss Gay America predecessor Andora Tetee.
60. Amber Valentine
A favorite DJ of Susanne Bartsch and the entirety of Brooklyn nightlife (she was 2019’s Best DJ winner at the BNAs for the second straight year), Amber is known for her thunderous beats and ferocious fashions. Her weekly party MISSTER at The Woods continues to be a popular Brooklyn Wednesday night, and the monthly PAT party she spins with JD Samson is also well-attended.
59. Ari Kiki
Is there ever a bad time to be had when Ari Kiki is nearby? No way! And there are a lot more opportunities to be near NYC’s beloved comedy mess queen these days: most Saturdays at Phoenix, monthly Saturdays for RIOT at Stonewall, hosting happy hour karaoke Fridays at GYM Bar, and soon a new show at Boxers Washington Heights as well. Also, her podcast with Viki Villainess, The Shade Parade, is required gay listening.
Our city’s amazing “reveal queen” (how’d she get that ball gown under that sun dress under that bathing suit under that faux fur?) is super popular both onstage and online… she’s even gotten to hang with her idol and impersonation inspiration, Kathy Griffin! Holly is currently the Tuesday night hostess at Industry Bar, a Sunday night pop-up queen at Rise Bar, Tina Burner’s “Gurlesque” co-host Wednesday nights at Barracuda, and Jasmine Rice’s special guest every other Thursday at Pieces.
57. The Carry Nation
DJs Will Automagic & Nita Aviance, both legends in their own right, have enjoyed a professional partnership for several years now. Best known now for their annual residency at Brooklyn’s Good Room, the pair ignite tons of dance floors here and abroad, together and individually.
56. Shuga Cain
As sweet as her namesake, this stunner made Top 7 in this season’s RuPaul’s Drag Race, lasting longer than any other of the NYC queens in the cast. She showcased some divinely chic, gaggable looks and… ate a snowpea? We actually saw very little of her on camera, which can be attributed perhaps to a kind disposition that doesn’t lend to soundbites, as well as that all-devouring Silky Effect that stole moments from the whole cast. Shuga’s been out of town for most of the year on tour post-filming, showing fans across the globe up close and personal what a fun and charming performer she is. She also hosts a cute drag-themed baking show on WoW’s YouTube channel.
Both nightlife insiders and eye candy-hungry tourists can’t get enough of the fairly simple gimmick that makes Flaming Saddles such a hit: cute bartenders line dancing on the actual bar. Most of the bartenders there have extensive performing backgrounds and put on a legit good show, so there’s no reason why they shouldn’t keep packing it in for years to come.
While most of the subjects of HBO’s documentary WIG are veteran queens who performed alongside Lady Bunny in the earliest Wigstock festivals, Charlene’s inclusion shows us how today’s Brooklyn drag scene directly evolved from the punk counterculture of those earlier days. And really, it doesn’t get much more punk rock than this outspoken and truly iconic trans performer, who lets it all hang out literally and figuratively during her riveting performances. Check her out long-running monthly JIZZ at Metro, her occasional pop-up brunches with Tyler Ashley, the several other appearances she makes across the borough, and in music videos she appears in with artists like Colin Self and Blew Velvet.
53. Monet X Change
New York’s first queen to win Drag Race All-Stars (well, whatevs… but come on, she clearly won the finale), Monet is the delight we miss seeing in the bars several nights a week. But in addition to her cameo in Madonna’s “God Control” video (and oh, that beautiful shade thrown at Murray & Peter when they smeared her for backing out of their roast machine so she could do so) and her own “visual EP,” we can see Monet truly killing it as the host of BUILD’s “The X Change Rate” on YouTube, with a style reminiscent of Wendy Williams’ sass imbibed with Oprah’s warmth.
52. The Cock
The City’s most sextastic watering hole is still everyone’s favorite open secret in queer nightlife. With a variety of thirst traps among the bar staff and really in every dark corner of the space, there is a lot to keep us coming back to the East Village night after night.
51. Steve Sidewalk
A DJ who has always been popular with young nightlifers thanks to his pop friendly playlist and pro-request policy, Steve’s big night is Gay College Tuesdays at The Ritz (where he’s joined by host Zarria and protege DJ Mikey Mo). You can also dance to his beats at Monster, POSH, Club Feathers and Paradise among many other venues.
Continue to #50-1