Berlin’s Best Drag Clubs

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Berlin is an open and diverse place, and its historical acceptance of LGBTQIA culture is well-known. During the 1920s, the city was known as the ‘gay capital of Europe.’ Gay bars and cafes popped up everywhere, and queer artistic expression flourished in film, music and print. And in 1922, the first ever gay rights demonstration took place at Nollendorfplatz.

But under Nazism, the city became a nightmare, persecuting (amongst others) the LGBTQIA community; countless people were arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps. You’ll find reminders of this turbulent past – like the Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism – throughout the city. Today though, it’s considered one of the world’s best destinations for LGBTQIA travellers, or anyone else looking to experience queer culture in the city.

Berlin’s artistic vibrancy, social permissiveness and non-stop nightlife come together in its Drag scene. Drag has existed for centuries, but thanks to the success of shows like Ru Paul’s Drag Race, it’s seen a rise in mainstream popularity. If you’ve never witnessed a drag performance before, we urge you to do so, because – whether comic or political – it’s simply brilliant. And if you’re staying with us in Berlin, you’re in luck; the city is home to some of the greatest drag nights (and queens) in Europe.  


Chantal’s House of Shame
Warschauer Brücke, Revaler Straße 99, 10245 Berlin
Chantal’s House of Shame has achieved cult status thanks to its elaborate drag performances and  ‘anything goes’ attitude. After changing venues a few times since it first started in 1999, it’s now located at the Suicide Circus Club in Berlin’s Friedrichshain district. This beloved Berlin drag night takes place every Thursday and attracts a wonderfully diverse crowd who’re all there to have a great time. And with acid-tongued satirist and drag artiste Chantal hosting the show, it’s always wildly entertaining. 


Vaudeville Variety
Wintergarten Varieté, Berlin, Potsdamer Straße 96, 10785 Berlin
Produced by the fabulous Sheila Wolf, ‘the post-gender Überfrau of Berlin Cabaret,’ Vaudeville Variety brings together drag, burlesque, boylesque and cabaret performance for a night of sheer decadence over at the Berlin Wintergarten theatre. If you’re looking for a night of fun, frolics and fantasy, you’ll get it at the Vaudeville Variety Revue.


The House of Presents
Monster Ronson's Ichiban Karaoke, Warschauer Str. 34, 10243 Berlin
Hosted by Pansy, one of the scene’s most trailblazing queens, The House of Presents takes place every Tuesday night at Monster Ronson’s – a legendary karaoke bar and music venue in Berlin’s Friedrichshain district. There’s a roster of talent from all over the world, so the evening’s entertainment is varied and vibrant. It’s a truly inclusive event with infectiously good vibes.


Dragaholic
Silver Future, Weserstraße 206, 12047 Berlin
Every last Sunday of the month, Dragaholic welcomes up and coming queens to the stage for an electric (and eclectic) drag night. Hosted by self-confessed ‘lip-sync phenomenon’ Judy LaDivina, Dragaholic takes place at the Silver Future bar in the city’s Neukölln district (which, by the way, has to be one of Berlin’s friendliest haunts). Expect seamless performances, lip-syncs in several languages and an introduction to the rising stars of the scene.


Rauschgold
Mehringdamm 62, 10961 Berlin
Located in one of Berlin’s hippest districts, Kreuzberg, Rauschgold is one of the city’s most beloved gay bars thanks to its welcoming ambience and friendly staff. It hosts a number of drag and queer nights, offering performances from new and established acts. It’s got a kitschy vibe and is known for serving up delicious cocktails, which suits their playlist of 70s and 80s hits down to a tee (they love a retro banger here!).


Travestie im Kiez
Theatre im Keller, Weserstraße 211, Hermannplatz, 12047 Berlin
Bringing drag and a touch of cabaret to this small theatre in Neukölln, Travestie im Kiez is a wonderfully witty show that’s been delighting audiences for over 30 years. A cast of six take over this small performing arts theatre for an evening of song, dance and comedy. Though it’s performed in German, non-German speakers will enjoy the show anyway for its costumes, physical comedy and vaudevillian charm.

What makes the Berlin drag scene so special, is that it truly nurtures diversity; there’s no ‘one size fits all,’ and it defies any fixed notions that people may have about the culture. It’s harnessing the political potential of drag and creating safe spaces for queer culture – in all its forms – to thrive. In an interview with Indie magazine, pioneering queen Pansy sums it up when she says, ‘I want [The House of Presents] to be a space where people feel themselves…where all those disparate elements of the LGBTQIA spectrum are able to come together.’ So if you’re looking for a night out where absolutely anything goes, you’ll find it here.