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Inside Chicago’s Colorful New Drag Restaurant Wonderland, Opening this Week

The curtains rise on Lips Chicago on the Near South Side this Friday

Lips Chicago brings its drag dining experience to the Near South Side on Friday.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Chicago’s new Vegas-style drag wonderland opens this week on the Near South Side, promising fierce queens, strong drinks, and more. Lips Chicago, the fifth outpost of New York drag performer Yvonne Lame’s drag-show-and-dinner mini-chain, hits the stage Friday at 2229 S. Michigan Avenue. Management is throwing a grand opening weekend celebration starring local queens Mimi Marks, Mz. Ruff N’ Stuff, and Angel LeBare, along with acts from around the country.

It should come as no surprise that Lips Chicago aims to provide an over-the-top experience. The 8,000 square-foot space resembles a kaleidoscope: bright pinks, greens, and purples reflect light from a cluster of shimmering disco balls, and four eight-foot crystal chandeliers. A wide stage and roomy aisles between tables give performers plenty of space to roam during their numbers. The space is packed with playful details like bejeweled stilettos on small platforms above the bar and some well-heeled mannequin legs decorate a striped wall. Lips Chicago seats 174 at tables placed stage front, inside sectioned-off spaces on the side of the room, and at backed stools along the bar.

Lips Chicago’s menu, courtesy of Tom J. Schmidt (Little Goat), emphasizes familiar favorites to sate diners as they take in the show. Smaller bites include the “Batty Davis,” (elote corn fritters with cilantro, lime zest, queso fresco, smoked chili crema) and the “Harlet Wench,” (battered calamari, garlic, Fresno aioli, basil dipping sauce). Entrees, deemed “the Ladies of Lips Couture Collection,” feature pasta dishes like the “Angel LeBare” (shrimp fettuccine alfredo), as well as beef and chicken dishes like the “Ryan Royale” (flat-iron chicken, kohlrabi slaw). Diners can purchase a prix fixe dinner-and-a-show package for $39.95 on Saturdays, or take in the “Dragalicious Gospel Brunch” on Sundays with a special brunch menu and bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys for $30.

Lips Chicago’s drink menu highlights frozen drinks, cocktails, and specialty shots. These include the mini-chain’s signature drink, the “Yvonne Lame’” frozen cosmo, as well as a “Mimi Marks” frozen margarita. Drinkers can expect a selection of three flavored martinis, the strikingly named cocktail “Kick the Bitch to the Curb” (Cuervo gold, Cointreau, Chambord, sour mix, lime juice), among others. Shot options include the “Buttery Titty Twister” (butterscotch schnapps, Bailey’s, Southern Comfort) and the “Hot Chata” (Fireball, Rumchata).

Lips has operated locations in New York City, Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, and San Diego for 25 years. The Chicago outpost will share the South Michigan Avenue venue with the Windy City Playhouse South.

Lips Chicago opens Friday on the Near South Side. Snag a peek at the space and some menu offerings in the photographs below.

Lips touts itself as the “ultimate in drag dining.”
A cluster of disco balls fill the space with glittering lights.
The space seats 174.
Lovely legs in eye-catching heels dot one wall.
Lips Chicago offers frozen drinks, cocktails, and specialty shots.
The venue is filled with playful details like these bejeweled stiletto heels.
Barbie can now add drag queen to her long list of career achievements.
Sectioned-off seating divides up the space.
Colorful curtains remind diners that they’re in for an over-the-top show.
An enormous flower arrangement bursts forth from a decorative bustier.
Batty Davis (elote corn fritters)
Harlet Wench (calamari di diabolo)
Shavonna B. Brooks (wedge salad)
Ryan Royale (flat-iron chicken)
Angel LeBare (shrimp fettuccine alfredo)

Lips Chicago

2229 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616 (312) 815-2662 Visit Website

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