Palace South Beach, now in its 25th year, serves up sass with a side of bacon at its legendary Sunday “Brunchic,” where people gather around to eat brunch while watching a popular drag show. Now customers can enjoy a similar experience all weekend.
Last weekend was the first of the new Saturday “Breakfast Club” series, which will be an addition to the Sunday “Brunchic.”
On Saturdays now, for $31.99, diners can get a meal and unlimited mimosas or bloody Mary cocktails while being entertained by the “Palace Divas” at two seatings: 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.
On Sundays, customers get the same for $31.95, without the option of unlimited bloody Marys.
“Every show is different, and all walks of life come here to have a good time. Whether you’re gay, straight, visiting or local, you can’t come and not have a good time,” said David Brown, 47, who has been a regular at Palace for about two years. “Palace has an anything-can-go atmosphere.”
Julia Atis, 41, and Claudia Fernandez, 51 — who couldn’t find an open table at the restaurant, so they sat at a booth next door — agree.
“This is the only happening place,” Fernandez said. “Everybody seems so happy.”
Noel Figueroa — stage name Noel Leon — said that keeping the audience entertained is her top priority. She has worked at Palace for the past six years and hosted the popular brunch for more than five and a half.
“We try to show that we’re just the same as everybody else. Everybody can have fun here,” Leon said. “And it’s not just about being gay or straight. It’s about having a good time.”
Palace didn’t start as a bar and restaurant. It was originally a fruit bar that became a hot spot for the LGBT community when it began to add liquor to the drinks and offer drag shows.
“Over the years, 13th and Ocean became known as ‘gay beach,’” said Palace general manager, Nelson Cardona, 30. “We interact with people on the street. It’s very impromptu and just keeps growing and growing as the largest gay operation here in South Florida.”
Many of the performers from smaller towns are surprised that the show is so public, said Cardona. The performances often start from across the street and move to the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. The drag queens then interact with the audience as they dance and lip-sync popular songs like Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive.
The audience on the terrace enjoys a meal and drinks while tipping the Palace Divas for their performance.
For 10 years, Palace offered brunch and the show once a week on Sundays. Now, expanding to the whole weekend, Cardona expects the place to become even more of a Miami tradition.
“We want to keep branding Palace as the iconic venue it is and the fabric of Miami and Ocean,” said Cardona. “We have a lot of drag queens that come through here. We want to see them grow in the next couple of years and be that hub.”
Cardona said that Palace extended brunch all weekend to accommodate the many people who leave town on Saturdays. There’s a “prix fixe” menu that changes every week.
“It’s something that we don’t advertise or market. It’s great that we’ve grown through word of mouth. It’s the best way you want to grow something,” Cardona said.Visit PalaceSouthBeach.com for more information.If you Go:
When: Saturdays and Sundays, seatings at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Where: Palace South Beach, 1200 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, Fla., 33139.
Cost: $31.99 per person on Saturdays with unlimited mimosas or bloody Marys. On Sundays, $31.95 with only unlimited mimosas.
Parking: Parking on 13th between Collins and Ocean for $1 per hour.