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Two drag queens pose by bar holding cocktails
Photograph: Anna Kucera | Miss 3D and Etcetera Etcetera at the Imperial Hotel, Erskineville

The best places to watch 'RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under' in Sydney

Cheer on Sydney's first Ru girls at these top viewing parties around town

Written by
Maxim Boon

Hold onto your boas, babe, because it’s finally time to say ‘G’day’ and ‘Shantay’ to the first Antipodean series of the reality TV megahit that has made drag fans of literally millions of people worldwide. 

And it’s about damn time – Sydney has a proud pedigree of drag excellence going back decades. Long before Mama Ru made megastars of her legendary children on screen, fabulous drag queens were kicking up their heels in queer bars and pubs across Sydney. So where better to watch the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under than in those very same haunts where Sydney’s rich drag culture was forged?

We’ve selected the very best viewing parties across the city, where you can not only marvel at our fabulous Aussie drag stars on screen, but you can also see many of them in the flesh. Can we get an amen up in here?

Start your engines, cobber!

  • Gay and lesbian
  • Darlinghurst

One of the Oxford Street strip's best drag bars was bound to throw a good Drag Race viewing party, but what's particularly great about Universal's screening is how little it gets in the way of the show. With a rotating roster of resident drag hosts MCing, there's not much in the way of pre-show housekeeping or warm-up acts, because this venue understands that its punters are here to see what's on-screen rather than what's on stage. Thanks to the club's excellent sound system, you can still enjoy a natter about the episode with your mates without risking talking over the show, and a well-placed bar and bathroom break between the challenge and runway lets you grab a drink or have a tinkle without missing any of the action. The screening starts promptly at 6.30, but since the projection and sound are easily enjoyed from anywhere in the downstairs bar, it's not too much of a scrum for seats near the front if you rock up a little late. 

Hosted by the she-larious drag talent Vybe, every Saturday from 6.30pm.

  • Bars
  • Darlinghurst

Ginger's might not be the most prominent venue on Sydney's LGBTQIA strip, tucked quietly away on the first floor of the Oxford Hotel, but it might just be putting on the best Drag Race viewing party in the city right now. Its cabaret lounge layout means it's already perfectly suited to the task, and thanks to a recent $20,000 upgrade to its audio-visual gear, the picture and sound quality of the screening are second to none. With its collection of booths, small tables, banquets and bar stools spread across its raked levels, it can pack in a surprisingly large number of patrons without compromising anyone's view of the action, and its tap-to-order buttons offering table service means you can keep the cocktails comin' without having to disturb fellow Drag Race stans on your way to the bar. Hosted by local drag stars Tora Hymen and Felicity Frockaccino, the vibe is fun, cheeky, and all about having a great time. But the biggest selling point has to be that Drag Race Down Under royalty Coco Jumbo and Maxi Sheild headline Ginger's after the screening. Ask nicely, and you can even grab a selfie with these living legends before they take the stage.

Screenings every Saturday night from 6.30pm.

  • Bars
  • Darlinghurst

The most famous gay bar on the Oxford Street strip is where many of the stars of Australia’s Drag Race first cut their teeth and batted their lashes. So of course, there’s a weekly viewing party hosted by one of its talented resident queens, including local legend Mini Cooper. Doors open from 6pm.

  • Bars
  • Erskineville
  • price 1 of 4

Every Saturday, the latest episode will be streamed to the basement bar in the presence of Drag Race Down Under contestant (and resident Imperial queen) Etcetera Etcetera. There are two screenings, one at 5pm followed promptly by one at 6.30pm. Entry is absolutely free, but capacity limits apply and no pre-bookings are taken, so may the odds be in your favour. 

Shantay, they stay!

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