The straight world can be so boring sometimes. Take the Gaslamp Quarter, for example. The girls dress up in yet another skanky outfit they saw on Paris Hilton in last week's issue of US Weekly, while the guys unfailingly wear a variation of the compulsory vertical-striped-button-up-long-sleeved-shirt-and-jeans attire that they've been wearing for the last decade. Dullsville. It's time to break out of that monotonous mold and spice things up a little. Girls, pull out Dad's vintage pinstriped suit and fedora and top it off with a fake mustache. Guys, put on some size-12 pumps and a wig and find yourself that thing Paris wore last week. We're going out in drag tonight.
OK, so maybe it's not that easy to find size-12 pumps. But that doesn't mean you can't still go out and have some drag-a-licious fun.
Head over to Lips (3036 El Cajon Blvd., 619-295-7900) to get yourself started. Inside you'll find vibrantly colored parasols, Christmas lights and sparkly chandeliers; enormous gaudy jewels on the walls; 15-foot martini glasses as pillars throughout the dining area; and a mouthwatering foo-foo cocktail in nearly every patron's hand. On Thursdays, you can 'Dine With The Divas' as your servers take turns showing off their best impersonations of Cher, Janet Jackson, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, a 'cracked-out Whitney [Houston]' and even a drag-king Michael Jackson, who's described as a 'white girl impersonating a black man impersonating a white girl.'
Sunday mornings are also popular at Lips for the 'Gospel Brunch,' which includes breakfast set to fabulous performances filled with the spirit of the Lord and served with bottomless mimosas and bloody Marys. Wait a minute--bottomless? As seven-year Lips veteran Tootie explains, 'If you're gonna go to hell, you might as well go drunk.'
Lips recently relocated from Hillcrest to North Park, and a few of the performers have admitted to working a covert operation to change the neighborhood's name to Glamour City. The restaurant is quite strangely situated next door to an all-nude show club, but no doubt the performances there pale in comparison with the outrageous world of Lips. A piece of advice: Try to get a table served by the illustrious Sage. Not only is she drop-dead gorgeous, she's also one of the sweetest and sassiest girls you'll ever meet.
Let's say, though, that you miraculously find those size-12 pumps. Then, girl, it's time to sashay your way down to Bankers Hill for a night at the SRO Lounge (1807 Fifth Ave., 619-232-1886). The first and third Saturdays of each month are known as 'Ladies Night Out' at the SRO, a hot spot for San Diego's transgendered, cross-dressing, and 'T-girl' communities. You won't find a friendlier place in the city for stepping out in your best pearls and evening gowns. The drinks are cheap, the bartenders incredibly attentive. Don't be shy when you first step inside the SRO; while most of the regular patrons have been going there for years, they're always looking forward to meeting the new girls on the block.
Other drag-friendly bars where you can get your girl on in San Diego are Bacchus House in North Park, Caliph and Number One on 5th in Hillcrest and Bourbon Street in University Heights. Bring your lipstick and, remember, if you're short on cleavage, try duct tape (also works well for unsightly bulges).