The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
It’s no news that Drag Queens are stealing the spotlight in entertainment. With the internet and the queer community being more engaged and embraced by artists and media, drag culture gains the prominence it never had.
Drag queens are on television, in music, and at parties, and have gained superstar status. Whether with the famous reality show “Rupaul’s Drag Race” or the success of Pabllo Vittar, Gloria Groove, and other singers in the scene, it’s impossible not to have heard this word that generates doubts and curiosity in so many people.
The concept of Drag Queen comes from very ancient times, starting back in 500 B.C in ancient Greece when women weren’t allowed to participate in theater and men had to dress femininely to portray them. This representation has fairly changed over the years, and in the 1960s this art gained great prominence in the LGBTQ+ community with the popularization of clubs and bars for this marginalized community to perform. There’s a lot about this movement we cannot forget, such as the Club Kid scene, the Ballroom scene in the United States, mostly composed of trans Afro Latinas, the camp aesthetic, pantomime, and burlesque.
The national drag scene also grew along with the international one. On television, it was not strange for men to play women’s roles, especially the comic ones, like Bernadete in “Chocolate com Pimenta“, performed by Kayky Brito. During the dictatorship period, the queer community, and consequently the drags, lost public space.
In the 90s, the scene was reborn, and drags gained space in gay clubs and nightclubs, especially in São Paulo. With that in mind, we listed eight bars and parties in São Paulo to get to know the scene up close and to provide a complete experience outside of our cell phones and television screens.
1. blue space
Perhaps the most traditional club in the city, São Paulo’s “mini Broadway” celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2021 and stands out both for its tradition and for the large spaces composed of two floors, four bars, and two lounges. In addition to receiving international and national stars, such as Alaska Thunderfuck and Pabllo Vittar, the club has a fixed cast of drags. Every week, three new shows are created and performed on Saturday and Sunday.
Location: Brigadeiro Galvão street, 723 – Barra Funda – São Paulo
Opening Hours: On Saturdays from 11 pm to 6 am, on Sundays from 20:00 to 00:00. On Holiday Eves from 11 pm to 6 am
2. drag combat
Inspired by RuPaul’s Drag Race, the fun part of the Drag Combat party is the lip-sync contests and the winner of the night, in addition to winning an award, makes a special presentation. Another wonderful thing is the inclusion in combat, where drag queens, lady queens, and drag kings compete together for victory. It’s been a while since the latest edition, but it’s a party worth keeping an eye on it.
Location and opening hours: Drag Combat constantly changes its location, always in a different club in São Paulo. You can check out the new dates and locations on the party’s Instagram.
3. casa fluída
Perhaps the most immersive experience on the list, you can be a drag queen for the night here. The cozy bar features wigs, clothes, makeup, and high heels for any of its customers to dress up in. To do so, just book your spot on the website and enjoy a complete makeover and mouth-watering drinks.
Besides the amazing experience of being a drag queen for the night, you can also enjoy nice drinks and beverages, and have fun with pocket shows and exhibitions on display.
Location: Bela Cintra street, 569 – Consolação
Opening hours: The bar stays open from Thursday to Saturday, from 6 pm to 12:30 am, and the exhibitions on display can also be visited on Tuesday and Wednesday, from 10 am to 6 pm
This bar stands out mainly for its streaming parties to watch the new seasons of “Drag Race”. With its huge screens, the club is perfect for getting together with friends and cheering on your favorite Queen. Start your engines!
Location: Araújo street, 155 – República, São Paulo, SP (next to Republica´s subway station)
Opening hours: Thursdays from 7:30 pm to 1:30 am
5. festa priscilla
Priscilla is probably the best-known party when it comes to Drag Queens, named after the 1990 hit movie “Priscilla Queen of the Desert“. During its seven hours of duration, RuPaul’s Drag Race fans get closer to the main stars of the reality show, who perform together with Brazilian drags.
Location and opening hours: Like Drag Combat, Festa Priscilla also changes its location, traveling between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. You can check out the new dates and locations on the party’s Instagram.
6. CABARET DA CECILIA
This place is totally inspired by the Cabaret aesthetic, taking its visitors on a cultural experience. The performances on the main stage give you the feeling of being part of the well-known musical “Moulin Rouge“, all while enjoying the artisanal beers made with fruits that give a special touch to the differentiated climate.
Location: Fortunato, 35 street – Santa Cecília – São Paulo
Opening hours: On Wednesdays to Saturdays from 8 pm to 4 am
Another one of the great parties in the country that celebrates drag culture, Realness, a tribute to Rupaul’s music, is not named for nothing: it constantly brings participants from Mama Ru’s reality show to Brazil, ensuring that fans can have the chance to meet face to face the queens who conquered the screens and our hearts, like Shangela and Alyssa Edwards.
Location and opening hours: This party also changes its location, traveling between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. You can check out the new dates and locations on the party’s Instagram.
8. balada tunnel
With a diverse audience and a mixed schedule with shows, themed parties, and contests, Tunnel is one of the oldest clubs in São Paulo and one of the most traditional in the drag and LGBTQ+ scene. It is not uncommon for celebrities to present and appear on its stages, such as Silvetty Montilla, Nanny People, and Thalia Bombinha.
Location: dos Ingleses street, 355, Morro dos Ingleses – São Paulo
Opening Hours: On Fridays and Saturdays from 11 pm to 5 am; on Sundays from 4 pm to 11 pm
bonus: Bloco das Gloriosas and Bloco da Pabllo
Not everyone is into going out at night, but it’s a fact that if you love Drag Queens, you probably love Carnival. That’s why we didn’t leave out an affordable and completely national choice: the famous “bloquinhos” (famous Brazilian street parties, that usually happen during carnival). Every year Pabllo Vittar and Gloria Groove throw the “Bloco da Pabllo” and “Bloco das Gloriosas”, respectively, that time of year to not only get close to several artists and celebrities in the drag community but celebrate national culture for free.
Locations may vary and the “bloquinhos” do not have Instagram. However, close to the month of Carnival the singers’ post information about location and time on their personal Instagram. Keep track of it!
The article above was edited by Marina Fornazieri.
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