London for drag superfans

DJ, aerial acrobat and founder of queer cabaret night Mariah & Friendz, Crystal Beth picks her favourites from the city’s diverse drag scene

London is busting at the seams with drag talent (you can’t sneeze on Kingsland Road without hitting an up-and-coming star from the scene), but it’s our diversity that makes us sparkle. Nowhere in the world can you see more varied queer cabaret and general nutbaggery. From drag-owned and operated venues (Her Upstairs and The Glory) to political protests and festival takeovers – there’s never been a better era to be a drag superfan in London. 

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A weekly showcase of queer drag and cabaret talent, Bar Wotever is a political, inclusive and extraordinary show that’s just turned 13 years young at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.
372 Kennington Lane, SE11. Vauxhall. Tue Mar 27, then weekly. From £4.

Drag Syndrome at Vogue Fabrics Dalston is London’s first ever underground drag event featuring performers, artists and guests with Down’s Syndrome. Go and make fabulous history. 
66 Stoke Newington Rd, N16 7XB. Dalston Kingsland Overground. Thu Mar 29. £5.

Shit Show is an anarchic showcase of London’s most exciting queer, genderfucking talent. It’s hosted by drag monster Baby Lame and is always host to (literal) gag-inducing performers.
Shit Show – Holy Shit! Easter Special! at The Glory, 281 Kingsland Rd, E2 8AS. Haggerston Overground.
Sat Mar 31. £8. Check The Glory webiste for additional dates.

BoiBox is one of the best drag king shows in town, held at She Soho. They're having one of their biggest blow-outs yet this Easter weekend: female DJs and the finest drag king cabaret until 3am for four whole bicep-popping days. 
She Soho Old Compton St W1D 5JL. Thu Mar 29-Sun Apr 1. Leicester Square tube. Prices vary. 

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Drink here

The Glory is where the best and brightest east London queens take to the stage and sharpen their claws. Something absolutely ridiculous happens here practically every night of the week.
281 Kingsland Rd, E2 8AS. Haggerston Overground. Open daily.

Imagine a proper, traditional men’s club that’s been taken over by messy drag queens and you’ve got Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club. Scene legends and newcomers host the most varied nights you can find in London.
42-44 Pollard Row, E2 6NB. Bethnal Green. Open daily.

Metropolis Gentleman’s Club is where queens go to unwind. A strip club during the week and a euphoric gay disco all weekend you’ll always find a queen in the corner at 4am on Saturday, struggling to keep their last eyelash on as they gyrate to Donna Summer.
Metropolis 234 Cambridge Heath Rd E2. Cambridge Heath Overground. Tue-Sat.

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Dalston Superstore now hosts drag brunches every Saturday and Sunday. Eggs benedict and hungover drag queens stealing your bloody marys. Perfect.
117 Kingsland High St, E8 2PB. Open Sat-Sun. Prices vary.

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No drag list would be complete without something from ‘Drag Race’! Find your favourite RuGirls at the Drag World UK convention, where former contestants turn up to meet their adoring fans.
Olympia London, Hammersmith Rd, W14 8UX. Kensington (Olympia). Aug 18-19. From £35.

My very own ridiculous cabaret/circus/drag show Mariah & Friendz (loosely inspired by Mariah Carey) is heading to the South Bank for the Underbelly Festival. It’ll be a joyous queer riot in the iconic Spiegeltent.
Belvedere Road Coach Park, SE1 8XX. Waterloo. Jun 6. £14.

 

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Kingsland Road Shopping Centre is a mecca for drag on a dime – giant jewels and every colour hair extension you can imagine. If you look closely, you can usually spot at least 83 different East London queens desperately pulling together a last minute lewk.
Kingsland High S E8. Dalston Kingsland Overground.

For those super profesh shimmer tights and suck-in fishnets, try Capezio on Endell Street. Good enough for Beyonce, good enough for a drag queen.
33 Endell St WC2H. Covent Garden. Open daily.  

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