Storming the Palace with Thomas Donall
Palace celebrates thirty-one years of fabulousness this month! The iconic gay restaurant and bar on Ocean Drive that is world-renowned for its live drag performances, first opened in February 1988. Three decades plus later and it remains a popular eatery for locals, travelers and celebrities. Andy Cohen and Nene Leakes were spotted sipping drinks and singing with the queens last month. We wanted to to learn more about how it has remained a South Beach favorite all these years. What better way than to storm the Palace with twenty-questions for owner Thomas Donall?
Let’s start with: Best day to visit Palace?
Thomas Donall: Any day. We feature drag shows seven days a week and celebrate each day as if it’s the weekend.
Most requested cocktails at Palace?
Thomas Donall: Our mojitos and margaritas.
Most requested food item on your menu?
Thomas Donall: The Palace burger!
Top requested tracks played during brunch:
Thomas Donall: The top five most requested are…
- Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love”
- Donna Summer’s “Last Dance”
- Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary”
- Mary J’s “No more Drama”
- Whitney Houston’s “I’m Every Woman”
Favorite song the queens love to lip synch to?
Thomas Donall: Jennifer Hudson’s “And I am telling You” from Dreamgirls.
Favorite celeb the queens love to impersonate?
Thomas Donall: Cher.
Which drag queens have been performing at Palace the longest?
Thomas Donall: Tiffany Fantasia, Noel Leon and Shanaya Bright.
Who is the prettiest drag performer?
Thomas Donall: That’s a tie between Tlo Ivy and Poison Ivy. But they’re all lovely.
Who has the wildest look?
Thomas Donall: Fantasia Royale The Body.
Who is the funniest?
Thomas Donall: Another tie, between Olga Dantelly and Tiffany Fantasia.
Which queen is known to be a diva?
Thomas Donall: All of them!
Who has the best dance moves?
Thomas Donall: That would have to be Elishaly D Witshes.
Most memorable drag performance?
Thomas Donall: Elishaly D Witshes and her famous Miami bus tour jump!
Strangest request you have ever received at Palace?
Thomas Donall: Someone once asked to film a porn here! I had to remind them that we are a family-oriented establishment!
What etiquette should audiences follow at Palace?
Thomas Donall: Be yourself and have fun.
How much should we tip the drag performers?
Thomas Donall: As much as you like. The queens will appreciate it!
Most popular occasion celebrated at Palace?
Thomas Donall: Bachelorette parties and birthday celebrations.
Best thing about your rooftop?
Thomas Donall: We serve cocktails and food up there and you can’t beat the spectacular view!
Who comes to Palace?
Thomas Donall: Everyone! All are welcome!
What makes Palace a magical place?
Thomas Donall: Palace is a safe place where everyone, regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation, is not only welcome, they are celebrated!
Download our our Midtown Miami App on your iphone and show the bartender at Palace Bar (1052 Ocean Drive) on Friday, Feb 15th from 6-8pm to receive ONE FREE cocktail in celebration of their 31st anniversary.
All Photos Courtesy of Dale Stine