Step inside R House, and you’re immediately transported by the elegant and modern ambiance. The many canvases that hang from its walls (and are available for purchase) give the space a feel that rivals the art galleries and showrooms in Wynwood. It’s clear co-owners Rocco Carulli and Owen Bale want their taste in fine art to reflect in the casual fine dining experience.
But while R House has been recognized for its elevated menu, it's their weekend drag shows that have turned the place into a Miami mainstay.
The restaurant wasn't always an entertainment destination. The first drag brunch was held to celebrate Chef Rocco’s 49th birthday as a one-off experience but became an unexpected draw for locals. Brunch at R House has since developed a loyal following that has been key to its success. Now, the venue is adding Saturday drag shows, with new performers and a new format.
“The biggest difference between us and other drag venues is that we don’t cater to tourists. We are a local hot spot. Which is what helps us coast through the slow summer months... and when you have something in Wynwood that gives you Wynwood but also something else, it makes people want to come here,” drag show producer and host Athena Dion explains. “Locals get to know the host, know the queens, know the owners, know the staff — it’s definitely a hometown place.”
Regular customers can expect some different faces in the show; new performers are being selected based on auditions last weekend. And they'll be performing for longer stretches, too. While Sunday's entertainers
At some drag shows, guests must admire performers from a distance. Not at R House. Here, guests don't just watch the show — the stars and restaurant staff are trained to encourage audience participation. This is a spot that represents Miami as a whole, not just the gay community, and where everyone is made to feel welcome — from a 7-year-old celebrating her birthday to an 85-year-old granny with a penchant for twerking.
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“People in Miami sometimes feel like they don’t fit in in Miami,” adds Athena. “This is a place where everyone can feel at home. It’s like [the TV show] Cheers — with queens.”
Beginning on November 17, you can catch an all-new brunch performance every Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m., followed by a happy hour that includes bottomless mojitos and margaritas. While the Saturday event is brand-new, R House's signature Sunday brunch continues and still offers two showtimes for entertainment-starved diners.
Which came first: the public’s love of brunch or love of drag shows? It's hard to say. But the two make for a sumptuous pairing at R House in Wynwood.
Drag Brunch. 1 to 3 p.m. Saturdays at R House, 2727 NW Second Ave., Miami; 305-576-0201; rhousewynwood.com. Brunch costs $40 per person; admission without brunch costs $25.