50. Amanda Lepore
The definition of pop art is Ms. Lepore–who inhabits nightlife’s most famous body–covering David Bowie and filming a video where she’s chasing the late singer’s doppelganger around Stonewall. Her mere proximity to any event makes that event cool, and a night you’re going to remember.
2019’s GLAM-winning Best DJ is everyone’s favorite person to work with. His gigs are vastly spread out across the whole city, more so than any other DJ’s. Let’s see… find JCLEF at Pieces, Rockbar, Macri Park, Club Cumming, The Ritz, Sangar Hall in Long Island City… and everywhere else?
48. Jackie Cox
The darling of The Laurie Beechman Theatre and one of our favorite creators of scripted drag stageshows, Jackie just infuses everything she does with charming warmth mixed with a dash of subversiveness and a self-deprecating wink. At the Beechman, we’ve had fun with her I Dream of Jackie musical revue series in recent years as well as 2019’s hilarious collaboration with Chelsea Piers, Jackie & Chelsea’s High School Reunion… and of course, the instant fan favorite The Hell’s Kitchenettes, a collab with Michael LaMasa and James Mills. This year marks the debut of Jackie’s first ever weekly bar shows, both at Therapy: Sunday Service brunch, and Feud Fridays with Sherry Pie.
47. Hannah Lou
An essential DJ in the Brooklyn scene who will even turn a number every so often, Horrorchata’s drag child has nights in all the borough’s venues. But Hannah is perhaps best known for BitchNasty, the Friday rager at the Rosemont she spins DJ Ickaraus and features a slew of popular queens from the scene. This year, Ms. Lou won some new international fans while touring Europe with various incarnations of Bushwig.
46. Will Sheridan
Alias #GIANT, Brooklyn’s premiere emcee and a very recognizable figure of the bear scene spearheaded GiantFest this year: a queer music festival where performers were largely rooted in NYC nightlife. There are kinks that need to be worked out before the second going, but the seed of something really special was planted–possibly the next wave of nightlife entertainment, if bar drag and circuit parties run their course. Meanwhile, Will heads BPM, Metropolitan Bar’s Monday night party that also incorporates live music, and heads up bear parties like CHUNK in the East Village. And of course, we look forward to new music from one of the city’s first well-known and mad skilled queer rappers.
45. DJ P_A_T
Perhaps best known for spinning the hit Rosemont weekly party FAKE NUDES featuring the Sterling Sisters, Paul A. Tomasiello aka DJ P_A_T is actually a ubiquitous presence in Brooklyn and now Manhattan as well. Aside from being that scarily-thirsttrappy, in-demand BK beatmaster, P_A_T is in the booth for Kandy Muse and Janelle No. 5’s weekly Monday show at Pieces in the West Village.
44. Boudoir LeFleur
Incorporating ferocious choreo, pyrotechnics, tight lip sync, French hooker accouterments and a tambourine, she’s the drag queen you want to bring your straight friends to see so they can understand why drag is great. Anointed Performer of the Year for 2019’s Miss Fire Island pageant, Boudoir once again owned her kingdom of Cherry Grove on Fire Island… but this year worked double duty conquering most of the rest of the Tri-State as well. With fellow founder of drag house The Assassins Kimmi Moore, GLAM winner Boudoir is a smash hit with weekly shows at Pieces in the West Village and sister bar Hardware in Hell’s Kitchen, and the pair now host a brunch in Jersey City’s Six 26 as well. And behold Boudoir solo every Saturday at Icon Bar.
43. Honey Davenport
Let’s face it: Honey’s most memorable moment on this past season of Drag Race was when she came back to the show as a “helper” near the end for a makeover challenge sporting a sexy Trade Beard. Not that she didn’t serve fierceness during her brief tenure as a contestant, but the Editing Gods only let us see dribbles of it. If anyone is deserving of a Vanjie treatment–i.e. new season / fresh start–it’s Honey for Season 13… she sports talent and charisma in the liquid tons that the world has yet to experience. Having said all that, Miss Davenport certainly did not squander her fame from the show: immediately taking over the world with appearances, fresh and intricate looks, words of wisdom on social media, lots of original tunes including possibly the best song to come out of the RuGirls’ collective discography in quite some time, and several local appearances as well (including a ReBar show that she may return to someday). Honey’s recently found a new hive on the West Coast, but we don’t think she’ll keep her sting out of NYC for too long.
42. Switch N’Play
With their twice monthly gig at Branded Saloon, featured performances at the Brooklyn Museum and a documentary film about their careers, the collective drag burlesquers known as Switch N’Play (above: Zoe Ziegfeld, Pearl Harbor, Nyx Nocturne, Miss Malice, K. James, Vigor Mortis & Divina Gransparkle) have come a long way from their drag king routes, and are now emblematic of the cross gender-genre pursuits happening all over Brooklyn nightlife.
As the musical trio Stephanie’s Child becomes something of a drag standard here in NYC (very polished in looks and singing and dancing performance, clever mic hosting, social media darlings, altogether glamorous), and are crossing over to the outer world with TV appearances on The Voice and America’s Got Talent, the group’s individual members are showing up positively everywhere in the city. Right now, the very engaging “Pink One” Rosé has shows with fellow Child Jan Sport at Industry, other fellow child Lagoona Bloo as well as Brita Filter at Therapy, and Izzy Uncut at Hardware.
Management, neighborhood (Astoria), drag performers, staffers, excellent stage and audio setups and other factors are shared by both venues. But whereas the long-standing and fascinatingly historical Albatross has always had that friendly gayborhood bar vibe, ICON is becoming more and more of a classy, urban nightclub. At any rate, the two bars have really become their own scene in NYC, taking elements of Hell’s Kitchen’s Broadway polish and pop flare and mixing it up with Brooklyn anything-goes weirdness. Don’t sleep on Astoria, children!
39. The Urban Bear
The queer bear party conglomerate headed by Robert Valin has a strong presence in the city, with a Sunday happy hour at Rockbar and several larger events throughout the year including the world famous Urban Bear Weekend.
The classically trained opera diva and a true legend from the glory days of NYC club life, Shequida’s Thursday night show at Hardware is currently the destination of RuGirls and famous drag queens all over the world to guest star in for the whole “you haven’t really made it until you’ve done Shequida’s show in NYC” experience. She’s also the host of what might be the city’s biggest weekly drag competition and most popular Monday night in general, Pieces’ “Drag Wars.” And for much of the year she was also the showrunner of Voss Events’ Drag Brunch, directing the show’s move to the Iridium theater in Midtown.
37. DJ Ickarus
A now-essential force of Brooklyn nightlife, the artist Ickarus produces the popular annual summer event Tanlines at the Knockdown Center as well as the Brooklyn Nightlife Awards, and is a big part of Bushwig behind the scenes. Meanwhile, Ickarus is DJing shows all over the borough including several at The Rosemont, mainly Friday night’s popular #BitchNasty alongside DJ Hannah Lou.
36. REBAR Chelsea
The Chelsea destination is mostly known as a spot to catch gorgeous, nearly nude guys doing their thing at sexy parties like CALIBR or RAM or the monthly Brazilian Pegate, or Frankie Sharp’s weekly Friday night BOYS. But the young venue (formerly G Lounge) has diversified its entertainment roster significantly as of late to include drag shows, live jazz, drink-n-draws, game nights, college nights and more. And of course *ahem* Thotyssey’s own Thot Mess Thursday has become a Chelsea staple for good drag and cute beats.
35. Brenda Dharling
One of NYC drag’s most graceful dancers and all around lovely humans, Brenda returned to the pageant-slaying game this summer to claim the Miss Cherry’s crown on Fire Island (where she hosted the weekly Pool Show at the neighboring Ice Palace all season). Brenda is currently Hardware’s newest Saturday happy hour show hostess, the co-host (with Pattaya Hart) of the long-running Blackout Fridays at Suite Bar, a longtime member of Industry’s QUEEN rotating cast as well as a castmember of Distorted Disnee at the Beechman, and of course she shares the stage with Bootsie LeFaris and Marti Gould Cummings every week for Legend Wednesdays at Rise Bar.
34. Rify Royalty
A longtime host and producer of Brooklyn nightlife known for serving body-ody, Rify has become much more visible as a drag hostess and in venues all over the city. Still going strong with the long-running party Straight Acting at Metropolitan, Rify now also fronts Thrust Thursdays at Rise Bar in Hell’s Kitchen with Izzy Uncut, as well as some pop-ups at The Vault.
33. The Eagle NYC
NYC’s manliest destination hearkens back to the earliest days of gay cruising, and that’s exactly how the patrons like it. Bears and otters and leather daddies and muscle queens and pups and twinks all have very traditional roles to play here. Some strikingly gorgeous Eagle bartenders have larger social media followings then the city’s most popular drag queens, and while a general brotherly friendliness can be found within the walls of this establishment throughout most of the week… prepare to leave your inhibitions at the door.
32. The Ritz
Always drawing one of the younger, more vibrant and sexy crowds the city has to offer, the Ritz in Hell’s Kitchen is known for its two floor dance parties with renown visiting and resident DJs as well as drag shows by the likes of Zarria, Maddelynn Hatter, Digna, and now a weekly competition hosted by Holly Dae.
She’s as well-known for her outspokenness as for her pageant glamour and amazing classically-trained opera pipes, but we all know that our Jasmine is a total sweetheart through and through. A popular and beloved queen successfully representing nightlife’s most legendary drag house, Jasmine can be found doing her thing (singing, throwing playful shade, turning looks and getting boys naked) every week at Pieces, Hardware and Rise Bar… when’s she’s not traveling the world and making new fans across the globe, that is.
30. Sherry Pie
A truly colorful and creative queen, Sherry’s aesthetic is a few splashes of horror amid a sea of campy comedy. Adding breathtaking (and painstaking) levels of production into everything she puts out there–perhaps most evident in her Marquee Mondays at ReBar which is themed both in content and physical stage dressing after a different musical each and every week–Sherry is truly the George Lucas of drag. In addition to ReBar, catch her more stripped down weekly show at The Duplex and her couplings with Pissi Myles at Barracuda and Jackie Cox at Therapy.
29. Club Cumming
Not unlike the Kit Kat Club of Cabaret whose fictional emcee was played famously by Club Cumming’s real life owner Alan Cumming, this tiny East Village venue has become a hub for eclectic and provocative entertainment. Drag queens, singers, bands, performance artists, burlesquers, circus acts, and (as we must always mention) that guy who uses his dick as a paintbrush all grace the stage throughout the year. Celebrity sightings here have become the norm, and some like Ricki Lake and Jill Sobule have even become Club Cumming performing acts as well. With that lineup and a cute, charming staff that includes Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic winning ginger barman Sam, this Club is an essential experience for queer nightlifers and anyone who appreciates that uniquely New York fringe experience.
28. DJ 2Face
He’s called “The Drag DJ” for a reason… and NYC’s most in-demand drag show knob-turner has become a nightlife celeb in his own right. Now with merch to boot! Larry “2Face” Peoples can be found at Hardware, Pieces, Vodka Soda Bottoms Up, Rise Bar, No Bar, and on YouTube being mistaken for Monique Heart and Latrice Royale as a The X Change Rate audience member in the videos’ user comments.
27. Pissi Myles
When your Facebook newsfeed consists of 50% impeachment hearings news items and 50% drag queen miscellany, it can be a real existential crisis to see those two feeds collide. But that’s precisely how it went down November, with Pissi showing up to the first Trump impeachment hearing in full drag as a correspondent for Happs TV. I mean, she wound up on the cover of The New York Post… let’s see Trinity the Tuck do that! All the media attention showed the world what New York and New Jersey already knew: Pissi is a ferociously funny, daring and whip-smart comedy queen. Before the Drag Race machine undoubtedly gobbles her up in the near future, catch Ms. Myles at Pieces, Barracuda and Rise Bar, or giving college lectures alongside her brilliant photographer husband David Ayllon.
26. Pixie Aventura
One of Manhattan’s most popular entertainers, dance queen and engaging hostess Pixie continues to pack them in for her shows at Barracuda and Hardware… as well as Therapy, for one of the city’s most highly regarded nights that she co-hosts with Kizha Carr on Wednesdays, “The Help.” Pixie’s also turning it on select Fridays at The Laurie Beechman Theatre with the all-star cast of Distorted Diznee.
25. Ruby Roo
Glamorous but relatable, dripping with dark humor yet friendly, funny and chatty on the mic but also climbing up on furniture to slay numbers… Ruby is truly a Queen For All Seasons. This adaptability of hers is likely what makes her one of the few performers today who succeeds in both the Manhattan and Brooklyn scenes. And now thanks to Cosmo and NBC LX, she’s an internet star as well! See Real Life Ruby at Macri Park (for her long-running Mondays on Mondays, now co-starring Shiny Penny), Fridays at Pieces with Brita Filter, Saturdays at Hardware, bartending at Pieces and Lips Restaurant (she’s now a GLAM-winning bartender, btw) throughout the week, or hiding at home cooking huge meals for her her husband and puppy.
24. Maddelynn Hatter
Known for her beautifully batshit beats and accessibly demonic stage presence, this notorious NYC drag queen and photographer was the perfect choice to be our city’s first representing competitor in the increasingly-popular streamed horrordrag competition Dragula. And while groundsbreaking performer Landon Cider got the much-deserved win, Maddelynn certainly brought a healthy portion of flair and drama along with talent to the proceedings, and “made some fucking good TV” (if you’ve ever found yourself saying “fuck the big picture, Clint,” you know what we mean). The other event that made 2019 arguably the Year of Hatter was Maddelynn’s relocation to Brooklyn, where she now has very popular local shows at Macri Park and The Rosemont in addition to her weekly at The Ritz in Hell’s Kitchen (those last two also feature her new litter of drag daughters: La Zavaleta, Virginia Thicc and Blue).
Having come up during the Golden Age of New York nightlife, this too-cool-for-words event producer curates lovingly lavish parties that are sadly in short thrift nowadays. But we can enjoy Ladyfag’s brand of chic fun for her monthly romp Battle Hymn in Chelsea, her more low key 12:12 in the East Village (a revival of her smash hit party 11;11), and the No Frills series of stripped down, music-essential warehouse dance parties in Brooklyn.
The seminal, historic Barracuda in Chelsea and it’s chic sister bar Industry in Hell’s Kitchen remain hubs of some of the City’s best weekly drag (Barracuda: Star Search with Tina Burner, Mondays with Pixie Aventura; Industry: the epic QUEEN revue on Thursdays, Kizha Carr on Sundays… to name just a few from each) and top DJ weekend dance parties. SImilar but different, both must be experienced to understand the variety, excellence and abundance of City nightlife.
21. Merrie Cherry
Brooklyn’s most prolific performer and producer remains as vital today as ever, hosting the DRAGnet competition and summer BBQ shows at Metropolitan, a monthly show at sister bar Macri Park, Drag Race viewing parties at The Rosemont, bingo at Brooklyn’s Clinton Hall, and making monthly guest spots at Bootsie LeFaris’ show at Pieces in Manhattan.
20. Lagoona Bloo
The shade heard round the world came from the mouth of the normally well-mannered Ms. Bloo. It was in retaliation to judge Simon Cowell’s asshat remarks on the America’s Got Talent episode featuring Lagoona performing a lovely live number with her Stephanie’s Child sisters JanSport and Rosé. Oh, how we gagged for her then and now, given that she’s one of New York drag’s fastest and highest rising stars. You can now do the Bloo at Barracuda, The West End, Therapy, Hardware, Stonewall and Don’t Tell Mama.s
19. Paige Turner
Elevating a 50s-60s camp aesthetic to high art, Ms. Turner is truly one of the City’s most iconic queens. Known for her Broadway musical tributes and bawdy humor onstage, Paige’s rabid fanbase comes to Therapy every Sunday for the seminal Slurp (co-starring handpicked naked audience hotties) and Broadway Mondays at Hardware opposite Sutton Lee Seymour and Cacophony Daniels. But Paige is perhaps best known for her enjoyable self-scripted stage shows at The Laurie Beechman Theatre and Green Room 42, which are filled with both smart pop culture parody and carefree toilet humor. And puppets.
Best known as a bear destination–scene essentials Shane Tate, The Urban Bear and Joe Fiore among others have recurring nights there–Rockbar actually boasts one of the city’s most diverse venue itineraries. The bar boasts out-of-the-box drag shows, burlesque, cult movie screenings hosted by actual stars of the films, trivia and games, geeky genre gatherings, gogo boys, Broadway viewing parties, live rock bands, cabaret, Eurovision concerts, leather and fetish events, and butt-ass naked people. It’s location at the very end of Christopher Street in the West Village has been too “gay far” for folks for some time, but people have finally caught on that what Rockbar has to offer is worth the few extra blocks of your walk (or dollars toward your Lyft). Bonus: lovely doorman Dijoun Thompson hosted the best POSE viewing party of the year there, attracting true legends of the ball scene to stop by.
17. The Rosemont
Sweeping the Brooklyn Nightlife Awards this year–several of the bar’s house performers and staple parties won bricks, plus the bar itself in a first ever upset for Metropolitan–The Rosemont in Williamsburg has become one of the city’s most important queer destinations. With a “safe space” philosophy that invites patrons representing every letter of the LGBTQ spectrum and a combo of boundary-pushing performances and youthful, sugary pop sensibility, the bar epitomizes the new queer generation’s venue. In other words, it’s the sort of place that may ultimately win out in the battle against Netflix and hookup apps for attention spans and young dollars. Featuring wildly popular parties like the drag-driven OOPS Wednesdays and the House of Sterling / DJ P_A_T collab Fake Nudes Saturdays, a friendly bar staff of all-stars and a great patio space, the Rosemont is truly an experience to revel in. But fair warning, patrons: if you are over 25, you will feel like you’re 95 among this very young, very cute crowd.
16. Bootsie LeFaris
This good time gal is one of the city’s most popular (and busy) queens who enjoyed working vacations in Ireland and Australia this year, as well as two country music Invasions with sis Tammy Spanx at Stonewall. Throughout the week, catch comedy queen and Celine Dion devotee Bootsie giving you House Down Boots at Pieces (her Sinful Saturdays there just turned five years old), Hardware, Rise Bar, Industry for the QUEEN revue, the Laurie Beechman Theatre for Distorted Diznee, the Iridium for Voss Events Drag Brunch, and a new Saturday brunch uptown at Da Capo.
We don’t see this pioneer of Brooklyn drag doing weekly bar shows so much these days, but that hardly makes her unbusy. Horrorchata is still heading two of Brooklyn’s biggest monthlies: Be Cute at Littlefield, and Yas Mama at C’Mon Everybody. Oh yeah, and there’s that whole Bushwig thing she founded and continues to run. The colossal drag performance festival grows exponentially each year, and 2019’s production included a strict screening process for performer as well as an apparent date for a streaming broadcast of the show to be announced. Not to mention the fact that ‘Chata toured much of North America and Europe with mini-Bushwigs featuring local performers from each city. Really, the whole world is a Bushwig stage nowadays.
14. Therapy Lounge
It’s hard to be a Hell’s Kitchen drag bar and distinguish oneself from all the other bars in town. But this year, Therapy made some interesting efforts towards that effect. And this was despite a temporary closing in the spring, due to the city declaring the derelict property next door a construction hazard. Things turned around much quicker than anybody anticipated, and by year’s end Therapy premiered a very successful Sunday brunch starring JanSport, Kizha Carr and Jackie Cox (pictured above), plus the venue’s first Friday happy hour show with Jackie and Sherry Pie. And although Marti Gould Cummings’ long-running Stage Fright Mondays recently concluded there, other Therapy shows like The Help (Wednesdays with Kizha and Pixie Aventura) and Soaked (Thursdays with Brita Filter, Lagoona Bloo and Rosé) remain nightly HK staples.
13. Jan Sport
Aw, we remember when Baby Jan was a wee Kris Jenner impersonator! That seemed like five minutes ago, actually, which is a testimony to the quicksilver speed and blinding glow of her starpower. Known for her violet-hued glamour, quick wit and general Broadway-caliber magnetism, Jan Sport has become one of the city’s best known queens, and is frankly on the global radar at this point thanks in part to the success of her singing trio Stephanie’s Child with Lagoona Bloo and Rosé (they performed together on America’s Got Talent and The Voice). For now, see Jan weekly at Therapy (Sunday brunch and hosting Tuesday’s “You Tried It” singing competition), Industry (Wednesdays with Rosé, select Thursdays with the QUEEN revue), and Icon Bar (Friday nights).
12. Kizha Carr
One of the few super-popular Hell’s Kitchen queens to regularly experiment with edgy makeup and wardrobe looks–and the only one from that elite crew to sport facial hair–Broadway veteran Kizha is teaching the children about the limitlessness of drag while slaying them with ferocious, hilarious, highest of high energy numbers. These days, Kizha’s at Industry (her longrunning solo Sunday show). Barracuda (a newer Tuesday show) and Therapy (Sunday Brunch, and the fan favorite Wednesday pairing with Pixie Aventura, “The Help.”)
11. Holly Dae
One of New York’s dominant comedy queens is still going strong as the showrunner of Industry Bar’s QUEEN–the city’s biggest and most popular larger scale drag revue–as well as the house queen of hot gogo boy army SPUNK for their nights at Monster and Pieces. In addition to all that, Holly has her own Wednesday show at Monster (which has become a West Village institution), is part of the always wildly successful Distorted Diznee troupe at the Beechman, and this year has returned to her cherished role of drag competition hostess with “Open Call” Fridays at the Ritz.
10. Brita Filter
Although she battled some health problems throughout the year… have you seen her lately? Girl is snatched now, and is filled to the rim with the energy and joy that made us love her in the first place. A natural hostess and performer, Brita has a large and devoted NYC following, as well as the respect of her peers. And her fame has spread quite beyond the local, thanks to viral appearances on webshows and social media, and her many endorsements as well. Right now Brita has shows at Hardware, Pieces and Therapy… and there’s really no limit to how far and high this superstar will fly.
Sometimes called “Gay Hooters,” this franchise certainly has a simple, winning formula that keeps the ‘mos coming back for more and more: a chill and masc atmosphere, good eats, competent DJs, as much or as little sports as you care to absorb, and of course an impossibly sexy barstaff that you can hopelessly stare at for hours but who are actually cordial in return. Oh, and dirt cheap happy hour drinks don’t hurt either. In addition to flagship locations in Chelsea and HK, Boxers opened two new locations last year. While the Upper East Side addition fizzled out prematurely, the new Washington Heights edition has proven quite popular. Also, these past two years or so, Boxers broke their “no drag queens ever” unofficial business model and has welcomed such great painted ladies into their fold like Kizha Carr, Viva Vidalia, Inita D, Yasmin Delano and Hibiscus.
8. Tina Burner
New York drag’s most consistently creative force and a truly great performer, Tina was finally crowned National Comedy Queen this year. And does anyone deserve the title more? Ms. Burner pours countless hours into mixes, garments, beats, and stage production… all with the ultimate goal of making us laugh our asses off through these largely unfunny times that we’re living in. Give her all the comedy crowns! In addition to being the main attraction at Fire Island’s Cherry’s on the Bay this summer, Tina is the host of Gurlesque (Wednesdays) and Star Search (Thursdays) at Barracuda as well as a SHOWS (Mondays) at sister bar Industry, and there is a new brunch underway as well. More Tina is never a bad thing… we’re addicted!
A veteran trailblazer of the city’s nightlife since the glory days of the giant clubs, Susanne Bartsch’s name has become ubiquitous of what many consider the highest forms of the scene: where art and music meet sexuality and society, all in the name of an unforgettable night. A documentary subject last year, Susanne shows no signs of stopping in her effort to keep the city’s bars, clubs and secret places in heavy layers of color, beats, creativity, personality and fun. Her weekly offerings of “Bartschland Follies” at the McKittrick Hotel feature many stars of the scene that Bartsch’s events have launched; her seasonal weekly “On Top” at LeBain keeps it cute and classy while introducing tomorrow’s stars to us, KUNST rages through Brooklyn’s Elsewhere a few times a year; and a newer party she co-produces with protege Linux called “Play Now” at 3 Dollar Bill combines the best elements of all things Bartsch.
6. Metropolitan & Macri Park
Although the Rosemont and the Vault are coming into their own as vital Brooklyn destinations, Metropolitan and little sister bar Macri Park remain the standard for Brooklyn nightlife excellence and diversity. The more vast Metro Bar houses large scale weekend parties like Rify Royalty’s Straight Acting and Frankie Sharp’s Metrosensual, both featuring renown guest performers from all over the city, Drag Race and beyond. The smaller Macri showcases the borough’s more intimate shows, like Ruby Roo and new co-host Shiny Penny’s latest incarnation of the long-running Mondays on Mondays, and Maddelynn Hatter’s newer weekly and monthly frightfests. And bonus points for Macri Park: fucking Kesha was there in October.
Probably more than any other drag queen working today, Marti has come a long, long way from where they started in the biz to where they are today. They’re many years sober, openly non-binary and the 2019 GLAM-winning Entertainer of the Year. Marti is constantly creating new showcases for themselves and other queens, and more politically aware and active than most of the rest of us. And Marti’s importance to the local queer community now extends far beyond nightlife; we are certainly much better off with their advocacy. And even while the queen prepares a major campaign to run for local political office, they continue to be a busy performer through and through: currently rolling Sunday bingo at Pieces and starring in a Sunday night show at sister bar Hardware, hosting the Ultimate Drag Pageant at the West End, and sharing the Rise Bar stage for Legend Wednesdays with Brenda Dharling and Bootsie LeFaris.
Circuit parties are hard to throw in a city with staggering commercial rents, but the ones that find homes make for good times and big business. Jake (who gets special props for introducing a “3D” circuit experience in November to the brand new club Zero Space), Alan (founder of BoiParty) and John (co-owner of Rise Bar) have it down to science, and are currently the best known partymakers in NYC–famous for their monthly slutfest M.E.A.T. at 3 Dollar Bill as well as Rhythm Nation at Bogart House.
Since the 90’s, Pieces bar in the West Village has been a small but important venue: pioneering weeknight karaoke and sexy underwear parties, and showcasing drag. It remains a vital destination for that third item, drawing young college crowds of all genders to see some of the city’s biggest queens like Brita Filter, Bootsie LeFaris and Jasmine Rice. Younger sister bar Hardware in Hell’s Kitchen has become a strong edition to that legacy, now one of NYC’s favorite gay bars. Both spots are known wiorldwide, thanks to constant celebrity drop-ins at Pieces and a girth of successful Drag Race girls being plucked from the Hardware shows. A third edition to the empire managed by Eric Einstein and Justin Buchanan will be The Playhouse (site of the former Boots & Saddle Drag Lounge in the West Village), which as of this writing is expected to open any day now… and we are more excited for a new space than we have been in years. If anyone can make it work, it’s these guys.
We’re not sure who made the collage above, but we imagine it to be a perfect snapshot of the inside of Frankie’s brain. Nightlife can be a rote business if you let it, yet this guy is bursting with ideas, creativity, and a golden contacts list… and it shows in basically everything he produces. A Frankie Sharp night will have the best music, the best eye candy, the best performing talent… hell, even the best window view. Whether he’s running the small but mighty / sexy BOYS party at ReBar on Fridays, the seminal dragtastic Metrosensual Saturday nights at Metropolitan, the loungy excellence of Dreamland at the Chelsea Dream Hotel or any number of massive pop-up ragers that churn out of him… you know he’s going to give you a night to remember with all six of your senses. Oh, and he recently hinted to us that he’s gonna be bringing a whole new venue to us soon… as always, stay tuned!
Whether you ventured out on World Pride or not, it’s impossible to downplay the significance of the bar at the epicenter of it all. Stonewall is not only the game changer for how queer people go out at night, but the riots in response to police raids 50 years ago paved way to a civil rights movement that changed every aspect of LGBT life forever. Not thought of very highly by the patrons back in the early days when homosexuality was criminal, Stonewall is now a national monument and the spot that every tourist wants to drink in, every bartender wants to work in, and every performer and DJ want to make magic happen in. And, trust… when you are standing there on the small upstairs stage, you feel the full importance of the location surge through you like an electric current. But besides all of that heavy historical stuff… there’s just great things happening in Stonewall: Logan Hardcore’s magically irreverent Throwdown Thursdays, Chauncey Dandridge’s annual Madonna Worship, Ari Kiki’s monthly Saturday RIOT, and of course the honorable Sunday Invasions hosted by queens either well-established or about to be. Stonewall is the most important milestone of our queer past, but 50 years later it is very much a beacon of hope and excitement for our future as well.