Sundays in Washington seem to be a popular time for happy families to rollerblade haphazardly around the national mall, or to incessantly tap on the window protecting Mei Xiang, the frightened panda at the Smithsonian zoo.
However, if you are the type of person who is not yet intimately acquainted with the Wiggles, you should: #1. Give yourself a quick air high-five and #2. Head on down to U Street to watch the stars of the new DC-based reality show Drag City DC: Hair And Paint Make a Man What He Ain’t perform lip-synced numbers to pop music’s greatest hits.
Located at 900 U Street NW, Nellie’s Sports Bar is designed to cater to the oft-forgotten gay man/sports fanatic. That’s right, my dear readers, Nellie’s is a gay sports bar (meaning a bar for the LGBT community, not gay sports i.e. soccer). I personally really love the confusion that this can sometimes cause tourists— see Episode 4 of MTV’s Real World DC in which straight cast members Josh and Andrew wonder at the lack of female bar patrons.
In spite of a seemingly limited niche appeal, Nellie’s is nearly always packed with happy customers. I suspect the bar’s success lies in its great atmosphere and reasonably priced (for DC) drinks. The rooftop patio seating is especially nice during the warmer weather months.
So when I recently noticed a new banner hanging from Nellie’s rooftop advertising a Sunday “Drag Brunch” (with a complimentary first mimosa or Bloody Mary), I obviously had to go. We’re talking free alcohol and a drag show…that’s like the whole idea behind the dinner and a tournament shtick Medieval Times does, except waaaaay better.
The following Sunday, Natalie and I agreed to meet at Nellie’s for a unique brunching experience. Being a few minutes late, I arrived after the drag show portion of the brunch had already started. I literally had to ninja my way in (while wearing a sundress) over a roped-off partition to get into the bar. Word to the wise: be on time. I was lucky to have slipped in unnoticed; Natalie later told me that the performers had been lightly heckling most other latecomers.
Now, I should mention that going to a drag show with Natalie is something akin to accompanying Cinderella to the ball. And in this scenario I was definitely the fat mouse, Gus. The drag queens were literally stopping their performances when they passed by our table to tell Nat how much they loved her, admittedly fabulous, shoes. Having a drag queen compliment your heels is better than winning Project Runway, as far as I’m concerned.
After watching a spirited Chaka Khan, Natalie and I got up to sample from the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet for $20 (and by sample I, of course, mean have three plates each). The food was simply awesome. There was a wide variety of traditional breakfast foods such as eggs, sausage, and hash browns, alongside lunchtime fare like pasta and ribs. To top it all off there was a mini desert bar. Nellie’s offered enough options to be considered vegetarian friendly, and to all our vegan readers out there—well, I’m not sure exactly what you can eat but know this: there was salad and hummus.
The real highlight of the Drag Brunch though, was when Beyoncé herself came out and performed. Ok, maybe she wasn’t the real Beyoncé, but entertainer Epiphany Bloomingdale (Riley Knoxx) was simply flawless in her performance. Epiphany’s rendition of Crazy In Love would have made me check “See Beyoncé in Concert” off my Bucket List…if the 6th grader inside me could ever forgive the real Beyoncé for breaking up Destiny’s Child.
After a few hours and several mimosas later, Natalie and I finally left Nellie’s. But please note that we did not leave empty-handed. We walked away with distended stomachs, happy hearts, and copious amounts of unaccounted for glitter on our bodies.
For more info follow Drag City DC on Twitter. Drag Brunch is 11am-4pm every Sunday.