Drink and Drag offers bowling, drag queens on Fremont Street

Desarae Penda’vis stared intently into the mirror atop her vanity table, pursing her lips as she carefully traced her mouth with dark pencil.

MAC eyeshadow palettes, wigs and bottles of Aqua Net were strewn across dressing room back stage at Fremont Street’s newest attraction, Drink and Drag, which tonight celebrates its grand opening at Neonopolis.

Penda’vis was painting her face on a Wednesday afternoon in preparation for her shift as a bartender and as one of 24 female impersonators at Krave Entertainment’s latest venture, which fills 22,000-square-feet on the second floor of the downtown mixed-use development. The same company owns 7 -year-old Krave, the gay nightclub at Planet Hollywood.

Krave touts Drink and Drag as America’s only drag queen bar/bowling alley, as well as largest employer of drag queens anywhere.

But Drink and Drag is not solely a hangout for Las Vegas’ gay community, said Eric Peterson, the company’s chief operating officer. He said he expects the venue to appeal to tourists from Middle America looking for something a little different at the top of the Neonopolis escalator.

“You’re going to have people that are going to come in and say, ‘We don’t have this in Kansas. Let’s go take a peek,'” Peterson said. “Everybody is welcome here. It’s not a gay nightclub. It’s not a drag queen bar.”

It’s also not just a bowling alley. Sure, there are 12 lanes, but each is lit by glittering chandeliers and four are VIP lanes with curtains for privacy and bottle service.

Then there’s the dance floor, billiard tables and game room with air hockey and motion-sensor chairs for Playstation 3 fanatics.

And yes, liquor will flow as drag queens onstage lip-sync classic pop songs.

Oh, and don’t forget the MoonPies. What respectable bowling alley would be complete without them?

Krave owner Kelly Murphy conceived of Drink and Drag after discovering that Neonopolis had a vacant bowling alley.

Peterson said the center has gotten a bad reputation over the years, mostly because of a period when it lacked functional air conditioning.

Talk of drag queens, drunken bowling and even rampant MoonPie abuse doesn’t merit so much as a raised eyebrow in downtown Sin City. But broken AC? That’s a different story.

“That was the first thing the mayor asked me when I went before City Council – ‘Do you have air conditioning?’ Not, ‘What is Drink and Drag?” Peterson said. “Yes, I have air conditioning. It’s a little chilly.”

Krave invested $700,000 in upgrades and is a little behind schedule. Drink and Drag was expected to open in December.

The bar used Facebook to advertise a weeklong soft opening leading up to tonight’s ribbon-cutting, and has already drawn hundreds of patrons.

Neonopolis developer Rohit Joshi is looking to fill the center with tenants that create their own traffic and don’t rely solely on the Fremont Street Experience to funnel in customers. A downstairs tenant, the Heart Attack Grill, does that by celebrating near-fatal gluttony. Drink and Drag ups the ante a notch or 12 .

“I didn’t even know what drag queen meant when I first heard about it,” Joshi said with a laugh.

“They have their own customer base,” he added. “If it was a couple of guys that were here because Zappos is coming and they want to make a fortune, I would have said, ‘Thank you, goodbye.’ These guys know the business; they’ve been here for years. They know the community.”

The Celebrity Theater at 201 N. Third St., next to what is now the Mob Bar, had a brief run with drag queens in the mid-2000s, but there’s been a shortage of wholesome gay destinations downtown, said Las Vegas News Bureau curator Brian “Paco” Alvarez.

“We’ve needed a good gay attraction. There are gay bars, but this has a very different vibe,” Alvarez said.

“Neonopolis has a great opportunity to come into its own finally,” he added. “With these sets of attractions, it could happen.”

Just as football-shaped beer cups and celebrity impersonators have come to be hallmarks of the Fremont Street experience, so too will drag queens.

“I think a business like that, which fundamentally caters as much as anything to the lookie-loo straight clientele, could and should hopefully be an appropriate business,” said Terry Wilsey, founding board member of the Lambda Business Association, the city’s gay chamber of commerce.

“There is that segment of the straight community that finds it fascinating or intriguing to say they’ve been to a drag show,” he added.

Joshi also expects the club to draw people to the core of Neonopolis, which has long been ignored. The complex’s storefronts along Fremont Street are performing steadily, but the interior was a ghost town, particularly at night.

Not anymore. Drink and Drag is open seven days a week from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. Just after 4 p.m. on a recent Wednesday, strains of “We Are Family” could be heard in the once-silent plaza.

Upstairs, Desarae Penda’vis draped a belt over her colorful, low-cut bodysuit, fluffed her wild blonde mane and strutted from the dressing room.

Show time.

Contact reporter Caitlin McGarry at cmcgarry@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5273..

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Clark County Wetlands promotes 2019 Wetland Walker Program
This year the park will be celebrating the Northern Flicker. The program is designed to teach about that bird, and encourage people to visit the Wetlands and walk the same distance the bird migrates each year.
Poet’s Walk Henderson introduces storytelling
Residents enjoy a storytelling activity.
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County educators debate alternative grading systems
Spring Valley High School principal Tam Larnerd, Spring Valley High School IB coordinator Tony Gebbia and retired high school teacher Joyce O'Day discuss alternative grading systems. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Grandparents on the fire that killed three family members
Charles and Doris Smith talk about the night an apartment fire took the lives of three of their family members. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Business
A Facebook-branded space inside of Macy’s at the Fashion Show shopping center
A Facebook-branded space inside of Macy’s at the Fashion Show shopping center will showcase 13 small businesses in November and December and seven in January. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
T-Mobile uses ticketing data to plan for event
T-Mobile Executive Director of Arena Operations explains how ticket sales data and demographics help plan staffing, vendors, parking and operations for an event.
Costco opens its doors in southwest Henderson
Costco has opened its fifth Las Vegas-area location near the intersection of St. Rose Parkway and Amigo Street. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas strip mall and office park
The Krausz Cos. and WG Group bought a strip mall and an office park in Las Vegas for nearly $80 million total. They acquired a portion of Tropicana Beltway Center in the southwest valley for $59 million. They also acquired the Westbay office complex in the Las Vegas Medical District. The buyers are former owners of The Gramercy, a once-mothballed mixed-use project in the Las Vegas suburbs. They sold The Gramercy in phases for more than $100 million.
Mario Barth talks about the growth of the tattoo industry
Celebrity tattoo artist and business owner Mario Barth talks about the growth of the tattoo industry at The World of Tattoo industry trade show at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas
$7.5M Las Vegas pot dispensary opens near Las Vegas Strip
Planet 13, which bills itself as one of the largest dispensaries in the world, opened to the public Thursday. It has entertainment including an interactive floor and floating orbs. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars CEO to step down next year
Caesars Entertainment Corp. CEO Mark Frissora will leave the casino company in February. Frissora has been CEO since July 2015. He was named CEO right after Caesars' operating company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Caesars Entertainment emerged from bankruptcy protection in October 2017 Before Caesars, Frissora spent seven years as chairman and CEO of Naples, Fla.,-based Hertz He led the consolidation of the rental-car industry through Hertz‘s acquisition of the Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group.
Planet 13 in Las Vegas adds twist to marijuana dispensary look
Planet 13, which bills itself as one of the largest dispensaries in the world, opened to the public Thursday. The dispensary is located near the intersection of Desert Inn Road and Sammy Davis Jr. Drive, near Trump International, in Las Vegas. Planet 13 has plans in the future for a coffee shop, a tasting room for marijuana-infused beer and wine, a lounge for consuming marijuana on site if that is legalized and space for food.
Caesars Entertainment opening 2 resorts in Dubai
Cove Beach will open on Meraas’ Bluewaters Island in Dubai in November and Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai and The Residences at Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai will open in December. (Caesars Entertainment)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Facial recognition software at G2E – Todd Prince
Shing Tao, CEO of Las Vegas-based Remark Holdings, talks about his facial recognition product. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant
Former NBA player, Shaquille O'Neal, speaks about his new Las Vegas chicken restaurant. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Bobby Baldwin to leave MGM
MGM Resorts International executive and professional poker player Bobby Baldwin is set to leave MGM.
Caesars has new armed emergency response teams
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has created armed emergency response teams. They are composed of former military and law enforcement officials. "These teams provide valuable additional security capabilities,” Caesars spokeswoman Jennifer Forkish said. Caesars is hiring Security Saturation Team supervisors, managers and officers, according to LinkedIn. The company did not say how many people it plans to hire for the units. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas, airlines prepare for CES
CES in January is expected to attract more than 180,000 attendees. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
AGS partners with Vegas Golden Knights
AGS is the nation’s second-largest manufacturer of Class II slot machines used primarily in tribal jurisdictions. It announced a marketing partnership with the Vegas Golden Knights NHL team. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lehman Brothers bet big on Las Vegas
Lehman Brothers collapsed 10 years ago, helping send the country into the Great Recession.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Ross & Snow launches in Las Vegas
Luxury shoe brand Ross & Snow has opened in Las Vegas, featuring "functional luxury" with premium shearling footwear. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remote Identification and Drones
DJI vice president of policy and public affairs discusses using remote identification on drones. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drones and public safety in Nevada
Two representatives in the drone industry discuss UAV's impact on public safety. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Frontier Airlines to launch flights from Las Vegas to Mexico
Frontier, a Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier, will become the first airline in more than a decade to offer international service to Canada and Mexico from Las Vegas when flights to Cancun and Los Cabos begin Dec. 15. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International opens the doors on MGM Springfield
Massachusetts’ first hotel-casino opens in downtown Springfield. The $960 million MGM Springfield has 252 rooms and 125,000-square-feet of casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International prepares to open MGM Springfield
Las Vegas-based MGM Resorts International gave news media and invited guests a preview of the $960 million MGM Springfield casino in Massachusetts. The commonwealth's first resort casino will open Friday, Aug. 24. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A Walk Through Circus Circus
It only takes a short walk through Circus Circus to realize it attracts a demographic like no other casino on the Strip: families with young children. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morphy Auctions, a vintage slot machines seller, wants gaming license
Vice president Don Grimmer talks about Morphy Auctions at the company's warehouse located at 4520 Arville Street in Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like