The top 5 bars to see drag shows in Toronto
Drag shows in Toronto are energy-packed performances by phenomenal entertainers in gender-bending getups. There are only a handful of places that offer regularly scheduled drag shows, but these venues attract a ton of admirers who love to interact with these larger-than-life personas. Relative newcomer Mojo Lounge deserves a nod, but these are the top places to watch queens nail high-kicks like fierce ballet dancers, and kings exude confident swagger that you just can't quite get enough of.
Crews & Tangos
Every night of the week at this Church St. mainstay the city's finest talent struts all over the main stage. The front room gets packed with all types of drag fans, cheering on shows that are chock-full of spins, splits, and sass like you ain't nevah seen. It's a hub of drag culture in the city, where aspiring kings and queens hope they'll land a recurring gig one day. There's no cover on weekdays, and it's $5 on weekends.
Zipperz / Cellblock
The kings reign at Zipperz every Wednesday night. It's the only show on the list that features kings rather than queens, and therefore it tends to bring out a predominantly female crowd. Things get crazy, scandalous even, when audience members take $10 bills between their teeth and lure in one of the dapper Kings. These high-energy shows make the crowd go bananas, with the kings gyrating all over the dance floor, swinging from the ceilings and busting out coordinated dance routines. With no cover, you can save your cash for the dancers.
El Convento Rico
This College St. club has been around for over 21 years and is a staple of Toronto's drag scene. Its welcoming atmosphere brings out a diverse crowd of all ages and sexualities, generally those who are looking for a healthy dose of latin music. On the weekends, Queens take over the stage just past midnight. This is a show to gather around and watch, the Queens give entertaining the crowd their all, which usually involves flirting with a handful of bachelorette parties. Cover is $10, but the drinks are cheap, usually around 6 bucks.
The hip little West Queen West bar holds Industry Nights every Monday. There's an open call for new kings or queens to play MC for the evening and try out performing two routines. It's an encouraging environment, where audiences can cheer on some up-and-coming talent. It won't burn a hole in your wallet either, as entry is free and bottles of Labatt 50 and Budweiser are only $3.50.
Woody's has a fun and relaxed environment and provides a Village meeting place for gay men to mix and mingle. The drag show has stayed relatively the same for many years, with queens performing their stage routines before haggling men in the audience to take part in the Best Bum and Best Chest contests. You can choose to participate in the show, or just let it provide the background noise while you chat up the bartenders. There's no cover, making it a perfect place to start out a night.
Buddies in Bad Times
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre turns into a wildly busy nightclub on the weekends. Drag Queens take their places on a long flight of stairs located in the middle of the dance floor. The DJs spin top 40 pop, dance, and house, while the Queens give attitude by stomping up and down those stairs in the highest of high heels, entertaining hundreds of gay boys and, typically, about a dozen ladies. Cover on the weekends is between $5 and $10.
Photo from our review of Crews and Tangos