New York's premiere drag palace, Lips, has been shuttered since March 18th, 2020, when it was forced to close due to the pandemic. It’s been a long year but proving you can’t keep a good queen down, the legendary hotspot, now celebrating its 25th year, will reopen on Thursday, May 20.
"Getting back on stage and performing will be a thrill,” says an exuberant drag queen, Jesse Volt, from her NYC apartment. “We have missed our guests and can't wait to see them again!"
Opening night will be an elaborate extravaganza with all new numbers, costumes and a revamped DIVAS: Fabulous, Fierce and Flawless show. “The queens have spent their time in quarantine sewing new outfits and working on new numbers,” says Lips’ co-founder Edward LaFaye. “They are all vaccinated now and excited to present lots of classic and contemporary diva tracks including their new version of the song that has always been their anthem, but now more-so than ever, Gloria Gaynor's ‘I will Survive.’”
The May 20 celebration will follow strict safety protocols. Seating capacity will be limited, tables will be socially distanced, staff will wear masks and the drag queens will perform with clear face shields.
“All the staff kept in touch through social media and with lots of long phone calls through the pandemic,” LaFaye continues. “It was so important to everyone, many of whom have been at Lips since day one, that the palace return for its 25th anniversary year. We are so incredibly thankful this day has come.”
Edward LaFaye co-founded NYC's only true LaCage Drag Show with Yvonne Lame’, as well as investors Michael Pacca, Paul Galluccio and Robert DeBenedictis. From one small restaurant in the West Village, Lips has grown into a beloved nationwide chain with five locations in Atlanta, New York, Fort Lauderdale, San Diego and Chicago.
It started when Lame’ was inspired to create a Vegas-style dinner theatre that looked like the inside of a drag queen’s jewelry box. With the help of shoe designer Brenda Starr, Lame’ designed the original eatery with bejeweled mirrors, crystal chandeliers, luxurious fabrics, a glittery stage and VIP cabanas. It quickly became a beloved gay nightspot and a place for wild and crazy people to celebrate anything: birthdays, bachelorette parties, divorces, graduations, promotions and more.
In addition to nightly Vegas-style drag shows, Lips is beloved for its special event evenings includingDragalicious Karaoke, Glitz and Glam Saturdays and Dinner with the Divas, one of New York’s longest-running drag shows. Every night is filled with drinks, food, hoots, hollers, and sexiness. Patrons under 21 must make reservations before 11:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
The emphasis is always on fun. Most of the performers got their start in drag at Lips and have perfected their craft on its stages. They are incredibly talented yet down to earth queens who have a desire to please their customers. Many have gone on to become international drag superstars, including Violet Chachki, season seven winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
For more information on Lips and to make your reservation, visit their website.