The season 11 queens are getting ready for their Drag Race tour and the show’s alumni are gearing up for what is expected to be the biggest pride season the world has ever seen. Today, drag is at its most visible (and profitable) and it just so happens to be the 50th anniversary of the riot that made it all possible. Sure, you can tune into VH1 at 9:00 p.m. on May 30, but drag is about doing more.
While the season 11 finale was already filmed in Los Angeles’s storied Orpheum Theatre, the RuPaul's Drag Race fandom waits with bated breath to see which of the final four will be crowned. The four finalists, Yvie Oddly, Silky Nutmeg Ganache, A’Keria C. Davenport, and Brooke Lynn Hytes will be watching the finale at a private party in Levi’s Plaza in San Francisco. While it would be any fan’s dream to be there to congratulate the winning queen and console the runner-ups, an experienced Drag Race fan knows the best way to watch the finale is at a local viewing party.
Drag is a sport and if that doesn’t make sense to you, it’s because you haven’t been to a viewing party. Fans will scream, cheer, laugh, and cry on Thursday night as the final four lip-synch for their lives and ours. It’s a stressful time for us Drag Race fans and you needn’t worry yourself with where to go (if you live outside of North America, Reddit has you covered). Start off pride season right by supporting your local queer haven. Here we’ve compiled a list of bars and clubs that will be hosting viewing parties all over the country, and beyond.
While Silky Nutmeg Ganache might be first and foremost a Southern queen, she came to Season 11 by way of Chicago. And Roscoe’s doesn’t just host viewing parties, they also host panels where the hardest-to-book queens offer their expert commentary and get to reading. On Friday, local queen T. Rex will host Trixie Mattel and Alyssa Edwards, who will stick around for a post-finale meet & greet.
A list of RPDR alum who work at or came up through Hamburger Mary’s: Roxxxie Andrews, Detox, Chad Michaels, Mayhem Miller, and Delta Work. Morgan McMichaels and Raven have hosted regular nights there but on this hallowed occasion, Eureka O’Hara is in the house. Hamburger Mary’s watch party will be hosted by April Showers and Wilhelmina Caviar and is open to fans of all ages.
Show your support for Denver’s commoddity of drag oddity at her home bar. Yvie Oddly was once the club manager at Tracks and this is where she was crowned by Nina Flowers as Denver’s Ultimate Queen. On Thursday, #TeamYvie will show up and show out for their local girl. The Tracks watch party will feature Denver’s largest LED screen as well as free popcorn. After the finale, the local gals will compete in Tracks Ultimate Queen Competition 2019, the local IRL version of the Vh1 blockbuster where the audience votes for the winner.
It almost seems redundant to include a New York bar on this list. You can’t throw a heel anywhere in Lower Manhattan this Thursday without hitting a “viewing party” promo sign. But this one is special because Nina West will be there and local legend Marti Gould Cummings will be hosting and there’s a meet and greet.
If Toronto native Brooke Lynn Hytes asked for Twitter’s help finding a place for her mom and cousin to watch the finale, then finding a spot in Ontario, Canada must be a very tall order. Drag Race is a lot harder to stream in a lot of places outside the United States, where Logo and Vh1 are more conservative with the show’s distribution rights. But fear not, because the Lookout Bar & Nightclub is hosting the watch party you can’t miss. Not only might you possibly spot Brooke Lynn Hytes’ mom and cousin, but you can also stick around the first installment of Ottawa’s Drag Race.
Forget the Met’s take on camp, this season was all about banjee. Banjee girl style is an artform that makes the Met’s take on camp look like child’s play. If a Drag Race watch party in Miami is what you seek, Gramps is what you’ll find. Local queen Juanita LaBanjee knows how to turn a party and Gramps is offering a two-for-one special: Come for one drag race finale and get two drag shows after.
New York City is often over-represented in the world of drag and for fans upstate, a decent viewing party shouldn’t be hours away. Albany’s Palace Theatre is throwing a live drag show competition followed by a screening of the Season 11 finale. Dusty Ray Bottoms will be hosting along with local queens Ithika Cerise and Sybil Syrvice.
Correction May 31, 2019: An earlier version of this story said the Lookout Bar & Club was in Toronto, Canada. It is in Ottawa, Canada, not Toronto. We regret the error.