“Every Queen Needs A Palace” is the slogan of The Palace, a 29-year-old gay restaurant/bar on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach that features daily drag shows.
Now, The Palace needs a new place.
On April 20, Thomas Donall, who has owned The Palace for 10 years, announced on the restaurant’s Facebook page that he was looking for a new location. In an interview with SFGN, Donall said he intends to stay in Miami Beach and has three or four possible locations on Ocean Drive. “Hopefully, something will come out of those places. I’m working really hard to find a good location for The Palace.”
Before he was the owner, Donall was a fan. “I bought it to save it for the gay community. It was one of my favorite places to come to. It’s been good [to own] but it’s been challenging.”
Donall said he’s being forced out because his current building will be under renovation for a year.
“I don’t want to be closed for a year.”
He doesn’t have an exact date yet for when he will close but he estimated he may make an announcement in May when he also knows where his new location will be. \
“We’re trying to find a new location that would fit The Palace over the next 20 years. I’m trying to buy more time.”
Female impersonator Jimmy Wilson, who performs at The Palace as Joanna James every Wednesday, said the daily drag shows, held outside on the sidewalk, are a “spectacle” to behold.
“It’s a world famous place. All my sisters work there. It’s a place that all the girls want to work. It’s just a gathering, a melting corner for anybody and everybody. There’s a little bit of everything,” Wilson said. “Drag has sort of gone mainstream, because of RuPaul or whatever, but people are attracted to the spectacle of what’s going on, on the sidewalk.”
Wilson added that many people who end up watching a performance don’t even intend to do so. “They usually stop dead in their tracks. They don’t know they’re going to run into a drag show. That makes it unique in every way.”