Columbus’s drag scene is growing quickly, and you are missing out.
Looking to switch up the typical night out at the bars? Drag shows are a perfect way to cut loose, enjoy some entertainment, and let out your inhibitions while you kick back boozy drinks all night. The best part is Columbus is loaded with drag shows almost every night of the week. Here’s the highlights of places you gotta check out!
The most dive-esque of all the drag bars, Southbend Tavern is “still your favorite corner bar” that accepts all walks of life no matter the sexual orientation. Flagged on either side with rainbow windows, they have game nights on Mondays (with prizes!), Untwisted Tuesdays with queen Selena T. West and king Brent Fabian, a buffet on Wednesdays, the events never end over here. Weekends are filled with Frisky Friday shows starting at 10 p.m. and midnight, Saturday showcases, and music performances on Sundays. This bar is a jack-of-all-trades, feeling like a local dive and a full-out drag show when you want it to be,” Ohio State graduate Andy Hosler said. “Southbend is my favorite because it showcases a lot of up-and-coming queens. It’s pretty small so it’s intimate, plus the drinks are strong and cheap.”
Home of Selena T, a top-10 finalist on Miss Gay America 2019, Boscoe’s has something for their guests every night of the week. From Sassy Saturdays and Sinful Sundays to Line Dancing Mondays and Talkshow Tuesdays, there’s always a show to enjoy and a queen to bow down to. Filled with seasonal favorites, Boscoe’s even put on a Rock Cauldron Cabaret with Jennica McClearly (a famous Bette Midler impersonator, circa Hocus Pocus) for Halloween this year, so who knows what big November events they have planned! Check out their Facebook page for up-to-date events.
If you want a solid dinner and a show, Union is your pick of the litter. With lunch and dinner deals for $10 throughout the week, Tequila Tuesdays ($5 margaritas, hi) and themed days like Sunday Showtunes and Karaoke Mondays, Union doesn’t quit. “Union and Axis are usually pretty packed,” Ohio State senior and frequent drag show hopper Jordan Shafer shared. “They’ve gathered a lot of attention, and rightfully so. Nina West and her family of drag queens and kings never ceases to amaze.” A regular at least once a month here, Nina West is very well-known in the Columbus drag community. “Nina does full shows that imitate theatrical productions filled with some of the best dancing you’ll see on a Columbus stage.”
What has become known as the LGBTQ Bullwinkles of Columbus, Axis Nightclub is a fan favorite for undergraduates looking for quality drag in the city. They’ve brought in RuPaul’s Drag Race stars like Bob the Drag Queen and Latrice Royale. “I’ve been to two drag shows [at Axis],” Ohio State sophomore, Natalie Garrett said. “One was this past summer and then I also went to the OUAB event there. I love drag shows because the queens are just so unafraid to say what they’re thinking and spill all the damn tea and they’re so bold and beautiful just living their best lives. It’s honestly inspiring.” A quick COTA ride down High St. into the Short North will get you to this rainbow-repping, strobe-lit nightclub.
Feature photo by James Michael Avance and provided by Producer Entertainment Group.