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