Palace is Back! Iconic LGBT drag venue resurfaces at the Clevelander Hotel

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Photo by Carina Mask.

You can't keep a good man — or in this case a good queen — down.

Six weeks after the iconic Palace Bar held a Fourth of July Block party to close its nearly 30-year location at 1200 Ocean Drive, the LGBT and drag venue is back — just as owner Thomas Donall promised. For now, however, home is at the rooftop of the Clevelander Hotel, 1020 Ocean Drive.

On Saturday, Aug. 19, the hotel hosted a Palace pop-up T-Dance party, hosted by drag legend Tiffany Fantasia. The event featured performances by the host and fellow drag queen Elishaly D'Witshes, who recently went viral for jumping and doing a split off a double decker bus. The Palace pop-up returns Sunday, Aug. 27 with drag host Missy Meyakie Le Paige and music by DJ Sushiman. Then every Saturday and Sunday, starting Sept. 2 and Sept. 3, the Palace Sunset T-Dance will take place from 5-11 p.m. until its official new home on Ocean Drive opens in the fall.

Owner Donall said the temporary location at the Clevelander is a way to keep the Palace name alive while giving the drag bar's regulars a place to go on the weekends.

"We wanted to give our loyal followers, our regulars a place to go on the weekends while we finalize the paperwork on our next permanent home on Ocean Drive," Donall said. "This also gives us a a chance to provide our Palace family, our employees, some work until we reopen in the fall."

Where Palace will reopen is a mystery Donall wants to keep secret for now. He promises it will be a surprise and asks everyone for patience.

"Basically to do the shows we are known for doing [i.e. sidewalk performances that sometimes spill into the street], we need a new license," Donall said. Applying for a license with the City of Miami Beach can be a time-consuming process. We ask our regulars to be patient while we sort everything out."

Donall is hopeful for a November opening. For now, the Palace T-Dance at the Clevelander is longtime patron Matthew Thomas' cup of "tea."

"Palace was a home to so many people for 30 years," Thomas said. "Even if it's temporary, it's great that Palace is back for the community, giving all locals a place on the weekends to come together, to be free; a place to call home."


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