17th Street High Heel – Photo: Todd Franson
Halloween may not fall until next Friday, Oct. 31, but the increasing popularity of the holiday has meant it’s become a celebration that lasts more than one day, or even one weekend. It’s become a full-on Halloweek — and nowhere is that more apparent than JR.‘s, which launches the week with a special Halloween-themed night of showtunes on Monday, Oct. 27. JR.’s also plans a Halloween-twisted night of rock on Thursday, Oct. 30, plus a costume contest starting at 11 p.m. on Friday, garnering $250 for the winner.
Of course, no Halloween week truly kicks off until the drag queens race. JR.’s 2014 High Heel Race is set for Tuesday, Oct. 28, from 7 to 9 p.m. and features Mayor Vincent Gray, Birdie LaCage and Ba’Naka as Grand Marshals.
Down the street, Cobalt offers two nights of spooky spectacles starting Thursday, Oct. 30, with a “Yelloween” party sponsored by Veuve Clicquot and a Best Package Contest that garners its winner a $200 cash prize and a free bottle of champagne. The next night, Cobalt offers a $1,000 cash prize for the winner of its midnight costume contest sponsored by Miss Sasha Adams. DJ Jesse “MadScience” Jackson spins for the party, which offers open bar on Belvedere vodka drinks from 11 p.m. to midnight.
Town Danceboutique also presents two chances to win. The dance club hosts contests at midnight, both Friday, Oct. 31, and Saturday, Nov. 1, each showering $1,000 on the winner of the best costume, $500 for 2nd and $250 for 3rd. Saturday night offers the added draw of a special drag performance, “The Wicked Bitches of Northwest performing Hocus Pocus.”
Also next Friday: Freddie’s Beach Bar has snagged New York’s singing drag queen extraordinaire Sherry Vine to perform at 8 p.m., and then offers a costume contest at midnight with cash prizes. Phase 1 features music by DJ Lez Rage and a midnight costume contest earning $300 for the winner. Green Lantern presents the 10th Anniversary Edition of its employee drag show, “Not Another Drag Show,” benefiting the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington’s GenOUT program. There will also be a customer costume contest at 11:30 p.m. with the winner receiving $200 cash and a $200 bar tab.
Ziegfeld’s & Secrets hosts parties on both floors with $500 in cash prizes for the best costumes, DJs Jeff Elliott and Miiko Antonio Espinoza and its many drag showstoppers. Miss Capri Bloomingdale will host and perform for a 9 p.m. contest at Nellie’s Sports Bar, featuring prizes of $250, $100 and $50 for best costumes, followed with beats by DJ Jeff Pryor. Number Nine presents a contest hosted by Peaches at 11 p.m. with $500 in cash and prizes, plus videos cued up all night by VJ Sean McClafferty. The Howard Theatre offers its 3rd annual Mixtape Halloween Party starting at midnight. Lastly, in D.C., 18th & U Duplex Diner offers a party starting at 10 p.m. and features the Booty Bounce DJs, spinning a mix of soul, hip-hop, pop and R&B.
PW’S Sports Bar in Laurel, Md., kicks off its celebration Thursday, Oct. 30, with a night of Halloween-themed drinks and costume prizes. The next evening, Regina Jozet Adams hosts the venue’s Zodiac Talent contest and Halloween-themed drag show.
If you really want to get out of town, though, there are at least two great options. The first is Baltimore’s Club Hippo, which offers $650 in cash prizes for its Friday night Halloween contest and music by DJ Vince Christopher.
Further afield in Maryland, there’s The Lodge Lounge + Dance Club in Boonsboro, Md., near Hagerstown. The venue offers two rounds of an American Horror Story-inspired Freak Show with a $500 costume contest Friday night and a $150 contest Saturday.
For more info on these and other area gay bars, visit Nightlife.
UPDATE: Check out the photos we captured at the 2014 High Heel Race, Town Danceboutique and Cobalt.
2014 High Heel Race participants