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August 30, 2014

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Queens define the night at Drink & Drag, Downtown’s hot new venue

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Bill Hughes

From go-go boys to luscious drag goddesses, D&D is a sexy adventure for all.

Drag queens have long been a fixture in the gay nightlife industry, but in Las Vegas they’ve rarely defined a venue—until Drink & Drag. At the new Neonopolis hangout (where the second floor of Jillian’s once stood), drag queens aren’t only performing—they’re making your mojito, too.

With drag’s popularity increasing thanks to RuPaul’s Drag Race and other pop culture nods, it’s no surprise that such a bar would come to be. Prior to Drink & Drag’s opening, Drag Race alums were already performing at sister-venue Krave, and the tradition continues at D&D, where Season 2 contestant Pandora Boxx just performed on Sunday night.

I enjoy the company of drag queens when I’m out—and I’m a devoted Drag Race viewer—so I couldn’t wait to step inside the new venue. With hopes of seeing a Madonna lip sync, I ascended the outdoor escalator on a recent evening to the sound of thumping bass emanating from the venue’s doors.

The Details

Drink &Drag
Inside Neonopolis, 450 Fremont St., Suite #250 (second floor), 489-3724.
Daily, 4 p.m.-4 a.m.
Click to enlarge photo

After being greeted atop the escalator by a duo of drag queens, I showed my ID to the bouncer—a man who was certainly not tucking. I let it slide, as I imagined his job could be tricky in stilettos. Once inside, though, I could see that the “100 percent staffed by America’s best drag queens” tout on D&D’s Facebook page wasn’t 100 percent true. Not only were there skinny young men go-go dancing, but a muscular guy in black briefs was mixing drinks. I chalked it up to the fact that Las Vegas loves its eye candy.

Opting instead to order a drink from one of the venue’s lovely ladies, I positioned myself in the middle of the bar in front of Charlee Brown. Dressed in white reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe, she quickly stirred up a pair of very strong vodka sodas for my plus-one and I. All that was missing was some amusing innuendo—maybe I’ll order a Screaming Orgasm next time.

Soon, a crowd swelled behind me as a drag queen began an impromptu lip sync. These happen regularly and all around the venue; patrons always get a show at Drink & Drag.

Cocktails in hand, we checked out our surroundings, then headed to the bowling lanes. Yes, bowling lanes. D&D has 12 of ’em, alongside an expansive billiards area complete with dart boards and free seating. A “gaymers” room (with big screens and an air hockey table) lies just beyond the billiards zone.

Since the lanes were full and I’m an awful pool player, I decided to park myself at one of the many tables and people-watch. The crowd was incredibly diverse: women and men, young and old, gay and straight. And why wouldn’t it be? A Downtown bar with seating and games staffed by some of the sweetest, most hilarious characters you’ll ever meet—Drink & Drag is more than a night out; it’s a must-do experience.

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