After an unwelcome hiatus, South Beach’s famous Palace Bar has reopened at a new location and will once again be home to glittering queens and drag performances. “It’s about —— time!” performer Tiffany T. Fantasia said. NBC 6 received the exclusive reveal, which was broadcast on their 11 pm newscast. The new Palace Bar location is on 11th Street and Ocean Drive – only two blocks away from where it once was. Palace Bar has replaced the Amarillo South Beach bar and grill.
“I love this new spot. It’s bigger. It’s more set-up for the types of shows that we do,” performer Joanna James said. “We’re still going to be out there on the sidewalk gathering in tourists, but we got more space here and, it’s a step up. It’s a little bit more glamorous.” – Drinks, music, and food paired with world-renowned drag performances made the popular spot previously on 12th Street and Ocean Drive a staple for South Beach pride. “It’s gonna be a lot of the same. At a higher level. More exciting. I’m happy to have a gay spot on ocean drive again,” James added. After serving South Florida’s LGBTQ community for almost 30 years, the queens at Palace Bar closed doors July 4. The bar has historically supported and rallied for gay rights.
In 2016, Palace Bar hosted a special ceremony honoring the Orlando gay nightclub shooting victims. Such events highlighted the Palace Bar’s message of equality. Drag performances featured signature names like T.P. Lords, Noel Leon, Fantasia Gaga Royale, Tlo Ivy, Missey Meyakie LePaige, and Shanaya Bright. The South Beach show-stopping staple also served as a haven for the LGBTQ community – Palace had rainbow-painted crosswalks, daily over-the-top drag shows, and a location directly across from what has been referred to as South Beach’s “gay beach.” – “It’s a whole new Palace. It’s another new beginning. For me, another 20 years in this location,” owner Thomas Donall said. Though there will be a change in location, the essence of Palace Bar remains – “Hopefully, we just pick up where we left off. It’s a different place, so the vibe might be different but its a lot of the same people,” Fantasia added. “Hopefully we just come in and do it all over again like it was never done before.”
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Every Saturday & Sunday we throw the most outrageous and fun DRAG BRUNCH!!
THOMAS DONALL, a nightclub owner and designer from Michigan, took over
Palace in 2007, the restaurant and bar were in decline. “The kitchen was outdated, the sound
was bad,” he remembers. “It needed major renovation and I was semi-retired. I wasn’t sure I
was up for the task but I knew I could rebrand the place and have it do great things for the
Donall introduced daily drag on-the-street shows at Palace and launched its popular drag
brunch. He started regular T-Dances and during Pride and White Party Weekends, he created
free block parties that eventually grew so large, the city had to shut down the entire street to
accommodate the crowds. He also gave back financially to the community. Since his tenure,
Palace has contributed over $2 million to charitable causes including Task Force, Miami Pride,
and Meals on Wheels.
In 2009, the LGBT Community Committee for the City of Miami Beach permitted Palace to
decorate the street sign at the corner and the crosswalk with rainbow colors, marking Palace as
a key South Beach landmark and meeting place for the LGBTQ community. The establishment’s
slogan: “Every Queen Needs a Palace.”