During the pandemic, “dinner and a show” may entail eating that sourdough you project-baked while catching up on Selling Sunset. But NoMa’s Red Bear Brewing Co. is determined to bring some charisma back to your evening with the help of four drag queens. The gay-owned brewery plans to launch “drag-livery dinner ” on Saturday, September 12 and Saturday, September 26 with delivery drivers who double as doorstep performers.
After reading about a Queens, New York restaurant offering a similar service, Red Bear owner Bryan Van Den Oever decided to bring the concept to DC. Both the restaurant and entertainment industries have struggled during the pandemic, and the collaboration supports the taproom while also providing a platform for DC-area artists. If all goes well in the first two rounds, the brewery plans to continue the service into the fall.
Van Den Oever reached out to the brewery’s resident drag queen and bingo host Desiree Dik, and the duo recruited local performers Charlemagne Chateau, Emerald Star, and Jazzmin St. James D’Monaco to the cast of drivers.
“I was like, I’m going to need more help than me doing 40 deliveries and doing flips and kicks in a minute each time,” says George Marius, who performs as Desiree Dik.
Reservations open a week in advance (Saturday, September 5 and Saturday, September 19), with a $15 fee to secure a spot in the drag queen’s schedule. On the day of the performance, diners order their beer and food—think pub grub like burgers and sandwiches—from the brewery’s takeout portal.
The drag queens have spent the last month shadowing Red Bear’s delivery team, learning safety protocols for contactless drop-offs. A call or text will signify an entertainer is on the way, and once the delivery is made, the show begins. The stage? Whatever is available: A sidewalk, apartment stoop, or even a patch of grass.
“I think I’m going to drive without my heels,” says Marius. “I’m definitely going to be wearing my favorite ones, which are a good thick chunky one — so I can split and kick on the driveway.”
Each queen will perform for the length of one song, and audiences can tip through Venmo. Desiree Dik may lip sync to a dramatic break-up song in a towering wig, but the queen could also show up in a Dora outfit with a television monologue prepared.
“I really just kind of blackout and perform. If I’m having fun, they’ll have fun,” says Marius. “If not, I just weirded someone out and they’re probably going to talk to their friends about it anyways.”