Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Lips - Druid Hills at Buford Highway Atlanta Georgia

You can find Lips at 3011 Buford Highway NE, Atlanta, GA 30329 - this is an area of Buford Hwy just north of North Druid Hills and south of a Wells Fargo Bank branch. The exterior is pretty hard to miss, looking like it may have once been a jewelry store but now featuring an extended awning with suspended purple lighting. There's a lit sign out front featuring lips in white with "The Ultimate in Drag Dining" below. Parking is to each side - I'm not sure if there's a valet option (seems like there should be) - on the Thursday I visited I parked in the lot out front.






When my friend John F. announced Lips as the next destination for our weekly BufHy Restaurant Crawl, I thought to myself that it had been a while since I'd been to a drag show - actually many, many years and coinciding with my working downtown and ending up at Backstreet with friends. I was a bit surprised as we tend to skip over businesses that seem more bar than restaurant, but John explained that they had a menu so I said "Sure!"







When you walk into Lips you'll see a posh interior with kitschy features and a bar to the right. At the end of the large ballroom is a stage where the main acts occur. The ceilings are festooned with crystal chandeliers and mirror balls - the walls are covered in patterned paper and there are some rather amazing legs suspended up high protruding from frilly gowns. The bar is back-lit glass and there's a very nice South Asian Buddha as a center piece and focal point. We bellied up to the bar while we waited for our party and ordered from the drink menu - selections like: Drag-O-Rita, Charlie Girl's Fruity Lips and Yvonne Lame' Frozen Cosmo.







Once seated we were provide the food menu and "Cher" came out and started the show, which this evening was "Dinner with the Divas." I turns out the various table servers also provided the entertainment, transforming into the fabulous ladies preforming various acts. We ordered various appetizers and entrees, including an appetizer platter, a salad with grilled chicken and chicken fingers with fries. The first up was Brittany Spears and shortly after she started the food came to the table.








 The food here, as you might expect is fairly marginal - not that it's bad, it's just not anything special, more like the prepared food from Costco. I wouldn't be surprised if that is where much of this food is sourced, perhaps the frozen food fried up or microwaved and served with various bottled sauces and fresh produce. In fact I think I've seen everything we at at Costco or Sam's. But then again, you don't come to Lips Atlanta Showpalace for the food - that's just a convenience as to really take things in you're here for several hours. No, the focus is on the drag, lubricated with much alcohol.












After "Cher" did a quick introduction, "Wynonna" came out and did a number, followed by more cocktails and "Adele", followed by more cocktails... you get the drift. We were entertained by "Madonna," "Whitney," and finally a very energetic "Tina." I thought "Adele" very convincing but actually everyone on stage was fabulous as to be expected. If you squint your eyes a bit, after a couple of cocktails it was easy to fall into the illusion and of course everyone had a great time. Interspersed between sets "Cher" would come to the stage and bring up birthday or other special occasion visitors and have fun with shots or short competitions (mostly involved with drinking).











At the end you settle up and you're charged the cover for the show so expect that - also, if you drink like we did your bill can be fairly substantial, but it's almost all alcohol so no crybabies please. Overall the experience was lots of fun and the show worth seeing. How does it compare to those I saw years ago at Backstreet? The energy is definitely different - the drag show there was much more spontaneous and very fresh every time I went - different times, different place. I do think Lips is more polished but with the good there's also the bad. At times I felt like the entertainers were a bit bored, but it's a tough life doing this night after night.

-- John

(also published to Yelp)
Lips Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato