The Valley: Idle Hour
One of the best (and only) drag brunches in the San Fernando Valley is also one of the newest: 1933 Group’s Idle Hour in North Hollywood hosts Bottomless Drag Brunch the last Saturday of every month. “We couldn’t help but notice that there has been a large absence of drag related events in the Valley, so we decided to drum up our Bottomless: Idle Hour’s Monthly Drag Brunch — a fun daytime diversion, and it is one of the few that serves the local NoHo community,” says Idle Hour general manager Nicholas Hammond. “Locals have a ton of typical brunches to choose from, so we wanted to kick ours up a notch. The drag brunch is starting to becoming an L.A. mainstay — scrambled eggs with a dash of sass and personality. The 1933 Group has always had a reputation for having a bit of [an] edge, and the dramatic, theatrical feel to Idle Hour makes it a natural stage. The outdoor patio at Idle Hour amplifies the chance for the crowd to be really interactive, an element we fee most of the other drag brunches in the city tend to lack. Robyn Closson and Diana Dzhaketov’s meticulous curation of entertainers has been really fun to watch come to life.”
August performers included Beverly Luxe, Kyra Jeté and Tia Wanna Ross, while the September 28 show featured Kornbread, Bible Girl and Jessica Wild from RuPaul’s Drag Race. “Shaded by a large tree that branches out in the middle of the patio, guests are greeted by a quartet of drag entertainers as outdoor misters keep them cool. Diana Dzhaketov, Bottomless’ host, begins with a stunt-filled high energy number that leads into a just as engaging monologue that singles out audience members and brings them into the show,” says Hammond. “Each of the four performers continue into what is a smorgasbord of drag excellence that comes at you from every angle and every direction. Of course, the revelry is fueled by brunch’s de facto beverage, the mimosa. That’s the bottomless part, as well as Truly Hard Seltzer or Pride Vodka cocktail specials. Drag brunch is the most important meal of the week! Pardon the pun — but you’re definitely in for a barrel of laughs, screams and talented queens.”
Silver Lake: Ross Mathews’ Dragtastic Bubbly Brunch
How could a drag brunch organized by one of the judges from RuPaul’s Drag Race not be a highlight on our list? Ross Mathews’ Dragtastic Bubbly Brunch at the Rockwell Table & Stage every Saturday features some of the best drag performers around and is one of the only venues on our list that features an actual stage with proper lights and sound. If you’re looking to go to a more traditional drag show that also offers food, this is the show for you — as opposed to the other venues which are more brunches that also offer a drag show. And of course, the show is hosted by L.A. legend Jackie Beat, who explained why people should check out the Bubbly Brunch. “First of all, I host it! Hello!? Second of all, it’s presented by Ross, who is not only a judge on Drag Race but [is] obviously no stranger to brunch, so it’s a win-win,” says Jackie. “He gets the creme de la creme of all sorts of drag: Drag Race bitches, legends like myself and Sherry Vine and amazing queens you may have never heard of but who have perfected their craft by performing night after night after night in clubs across the country. There truly is something for everyone!”
But don’t get it twisted — just because the performers may be legendary, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t bring cash for tips! “I lovingly remind the crowd — many of whom are attending their very first drag show — to tip. OK, sometimes it’s not so loving. I have been known to stop my song after about 30 seconds and point out that I haven’t made even one dollar yet!” says Jackie. “As Dolly Parton says, ‘It costs a lot of money to look this cheap!’ I wow the unsuspecting audience with my hilarious live vocals and then the guest stars come on, one by one. And they turn it out, henny! They work the room, do death drops, wig reveals, mid-song costume changes — while I stand off to the side in my flats eating free bacon. It’s honestly the only reason I took the gig!” And even though Jackie thinks she spends most of the time standing off to the side, her hilarious jokes are a huge attraction for drag fans from all around the world. And she definitely agrees. “Quite frankly, it’s the best drag brunch in town. Pretty much thanks to me! Just kidding. No, I’m serious. It’s all about me! Don’t trust any drag queen who doesn’t think that way about herself,” Jackie says. “So make your reservations now and come enjoy what I affectionately call Legs Benedict!”
Downtown: Wigs & Waffles
You may have already read our piece on The Standard’s Wigs & Waffles back in May, but since it really is one of the best drag brunches in town, we thought it was important to also include it in this list. Hostesses Maebe A. Girl and Indica Sativa’s infectious energy and original performances raise the bar in this otherwise tiny space and inspires other talented queens like Drag Race alum Mariah Balenciaga to join the show, which is held every Saturday. “Wigs & Waffles is it’s own unique brand. We have two regular co-hosts (a dynamic duo at that) with a rotating cast of seasoned queens in a fun and hip location. The Standard, Downtown L.A. is a destination on its own — add a fabulous lineup of drag performers and it makes for the perfect outing for friends or family — or come alone! There’s an all-inclusive food and drink option, or guests can enjoy the menu a la carte,” says Maebe A. Girl, who moonlights as the first drag queen to be elected to public office in California when she was elected to the Silver Lake neighborhood council in April.
While Wigs & Waffles may be one of the most high-energy drag shows around, Maebe appreciates the ability to spread drag to as many people as possible beyond those who just frequent nightclubs where drag shows are usually held. “As the world capital of entertainment, it should come as no surprise that L.A. has a fleet of world-class drag entertainers. The L.A. drag scene is eclectic, yet over saturated. There are many options to see a drag show in L.A., however most shows take place at a bar or in the nightlife context, which can exclude many people from participating,” says Maebe A. Girl. “We’re happy to have the show at popular hotel restaurant, 24/7, during the day, which brings in a diverse crowd -gay/straight, young/old, etc.” And she definitely has a point — there were even families in attendance at this show, the parents laughing and eating along with their young children, marveling at the moves of the drag queens together.
West Hollywood: Hamburger Mary’s and The Abbey
Because WeHo is the largest gayborhood in Los Angeles, it seemed only fitting that we included two brunches from this area. The first has been a staple of the WeHo scene for years: Hamburger Mary’s Bar & Grille. With multiple locations across the country, including one in Long Beach and one in Ontario, the WeHo Hamburger Mary’s offers two seatings of drag brunch on both days of the weekend. “While other brunches may give you a show, brunch at Hamburger Mary’s gives our guests a one of a kind experience, from our retro diner atmosphere, our amazing cast of entertainers including drag queens and kings, delicious gourmet waffles and of course bottomless mimosas served in our signature leg glass,” says owner of Hamburger Mary’s Long Beach and West Hollywood and Master Franchise Dale Warner. “Hamburger Mary’s…is a safe space where everyone is welcome, and a place where everyone can party together, no matter what you are celebrating we want to celebrate with you.
Warner also described what a typical brunch experience is like at Hamburger Mary’s WeHo. “You’ll first be greeted and seated by one of our fabulous hosts, and if you’ve upgraded to our VIP seating, you’ll be front and center for the show. Next it’s time for some delicious food and drinks. Choose from our traditional breakfast brunch menu which includes huge waffles and healthy scrambles or try one of our Kobe Burgers any number of ways including my favorite the Mac Daddy which is topped with our gooey mac’n cheese,” Warner says. “Sip on one of our fun and fruity cocktails, Mary’s Sized Bloody Mary, or party all show long with bottomless mimosas. Once the show begins its nonstop glitz, glamour, energy and entertainment until the last drop.”
Finally, we couldn’t have a roundup of drag brunches in L.A. without including The Abbey, where drag brunch is held every Saturday. “There are several drag brunches around LA but only one at The World Famous Abbey,” says The Abbey general manager Todd Barnes. “The Abbey has been the unofficial town hall for West Hollywood and LGBTQ+ community for almost 30 years. The Drag Brunch features some of the best talent in town, with a nice mix of the girls from RuPaul’s Drag Race and the local queens on their way up. The show is usually hosted by [Drag Race alum] Mayhem Miller and is the only brunch with the show outside. When it rains, we move the show inside to the dance floor. You get to enjoy Southern California weather, the greatest drag entertainers in town and bottomless mimosas. Because it’s The Abbey, the party transitions straight to dance party after brunch. It’s not unusual to come for brunch and not leave until last call.”
So what can patrons expect from a drag brunch at the Abbey? “Bottomless Mimosas and an in-house pastry chef mean the food and drink are also stars. The Abbey’s Saturday Drag Brunch [is a] naturally high energy, comedic and engaging experience with performances by legendary Drag stars,” says Barnes. “Performers are known to host celebratory birthday contests, giveaways with prizes and lip sync battles with patrons…For 28 years, there is no better place to meet old friends, make new ones, spot a celebrity and enjoy a generous 10-ounce martini, eat a delicious meal and just kick back and have fun.”
Idle Hour: idlehourbar.com/calendar
Ross Mathews’ Dragtastic Bubbly Brunch: rockwell-la.com/shows/
Wigs & Waffles: standardhotels.com/la/
Hamburger Mary’s: hamburgermarys.com/weho/
The Abbey: theabbeyweho.com