New York’s New Gay Sports Bar That Doesn’t Want You Drag Queens

Boxers NYC, a new gay bar in, uh, NYC, on West 20th Street, “is strictly for real men” writes Michael Musto. But general manager Steven Wright says the word “Boxers” in the title refers not to jumping into the ring, but underwear. The manly kind that has no elastic anything except in the waistband. It’s a mantra for the whole place: machismo in, faggotry out. So don’t come dressed in drag, ok?

But no matter what the night, they’re catering to gay sports leagues and, apparently, the basic locker-room thinking that goes with that. “This place is a drag-free zone because it’s about men,” Wright weirdly bragged. Really? But drag queens happen to be men—they just wear dresses (sometimes over boxers). Plus they usually liven up a party—a lot—and one of them, any of them, would have been welcome right at that moment. Would Boxers NYC actually turn away a drag queen at the door? “No,” Wright conceded, “but we’re not gonna have them hosting any of our shows.” Welcome to the gay community, where you go to escape the oppression of the outside world.

Check back with us when your nightly receipts are in the toilet, and drag queens are the least of your problems.

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  • Cam

    Weird, both the sportsbars in the DC area, PW’s and Nellies, will have charity drag events some nights, doesn’t stop people coming in on other nights to watch sports.

  • Geoff M

    Gee…what a well thought out philosophy ..can’t wait to see how that works out.

  • ChrisM

    I fail to see how this is oppression, as the author suggested. The owner said that he would NOT turn away drag queens, not that they are banned from the bar as Queerty’s title suggests. The point is this is a gay bar that features things other than drag shows. Even though Musto thinks they’re the most entertaining thing in the world, some of us don’t enjoy them.

    Read the rest of the Boxers section of the article. Musto goes on to concede that this bar has its own theme just like any bar that specializes in drag shows do. And then makes a comment more offensive than anything he managed to dig up for this article.

    “Ah, well. Niche marketing always brings with it a tinge of bias. And I guess the drag bars would never feature a butch muscle queen putting on a show every week (though they’d certainly let them gogo dance). I just wish we could all realize how connected we are, instead of drawing up extra dividing lines. Interestingly, as I left Boxers NYC, a customer in a baseball cap was shrieking about the fact that he drops his phone so much, but though he had a high-pitched voice and a pronounced lisp, at least he wasn’t in heels!”

  • Tallskin

    ARE dress codes for clubs and bars banned/illegal in the USA???

    If not then what is the fuss??

    any clubs or bar or restaurant has a right to insist on dress codes.

    Am I wrong?

  • Steven

    I was there Saturday. OK vibe, the decor is amateur carpentry chic. Smoke from the indoor pizza stand was pungent and eye tearing. Malfunctioning pooltables. Variety of illicit drugs were being offered at good prices. Capitalism!

    I saw one guy acting “gay.” Does that break the code?

  • Petrov

    When will the dragqueens and nelly campers realize that they do not have total reign over gay life? Musto is a bitter old thing still living in the seventies.

  • Mike L.

    This reminds me of the doctor in Florida who put up a note on his door saying ppl who voted for Obama were not welcome, but later conceded b/c of the Hipocratic(sp?)Pact he could not turn anyone away if they decided to come in anyway.

    I say all the dragqueens of NY should just show up on a designated day, that will be awesome.


    Great! The Gay community doesn’t have enough discrimination from the rightwing lunatics, time for some from within!!!

    Memo to Steven Wright: (who couldn’t be more wrong!) Drag Queens and “gay acting” folks are usually the life of any Gay bar. I bartended and the customers who made the place the most fun, enjoyable, and kept bringing others back time and time again were the exact same ones you find “undesirable”……Wake the fcuk up!!

  • samthor

    what about Drag Kings, then? or butch Dykes and FTM’s? Are we cool enough for their little clubhouse?

  • DR (the real one, not the guy who made post #12)

    It is what it is. It’s a sports-themed bar and wants to cater to a specific audience, including not doing drag shows. Let them do their thing, and if it works, great, a gay sports bar, if it doesn’t work, well, it doesn’t work.

    Musto’s bias in the article was apparent, and I hope folks don’t get up in arms based on that.

  • ChrisM


    Nobody on here ever called drag queens “undesirable.” The statement is basically that some people do not agree with you that drag queens are the “life of the bar,” and would rather have a bar where drag shows aren’t the main focus. I still fail to see how this is discrimination and not just a difference in tastes. Is it discrimination if a so-called gentlemen’s club doesn’t have nights dedicated to males stripping?

  • Fitz

    @Mike L.: You are allowed to refuse to take on a new pt for ANY reason, unless you are providing emergency care. If the person is already a patient, then you are stuck.

  • Tangelo

    That is a bar I would like to go to. I love Drag Queens but sometimes you just want to go where somebody knows your name and not have to deal with all of the divas and vicious crap. Watch some Hockey or Baseball hang out with friends, bitch about wives…Not listen to deafening thump-thump-thumping music and be subjected to a constant barrage of catty attitudes.

    Given the choice between a local straight sports bar with my straight friends or the local gay watering hole with the half naked emaciated twinks and bitchy drag queens, this mo will share a pitcher of beer at the straight bar any day. We will laugh, tell jokes and let off steam with at least a dozen beers on tap to enjoy.

    Every bar has a theme. A Lady GaGaesque drag queen would feel just as out of place at a Dungeon Bar as a sports bar. Celebrate our diversity by having diverse watering holes.

    And to the other DC person…PWs is about as much a sports bar as Buffalo Wild Wings is Haute Cuisine IMHO.


  • Lamar

    @ChrisM: The author said it would not turn away drag queens but there was definitely an anti-drag queen sentiment in there with the not hosting our shows remark. Gays really should leave the whole you-have-to-act-a-certain-way-to-be-a-man crap to straight men, men should embrace who they are and not feel tied down to having to watch sports, play football be homophobic, be obsessed with women etc and stop confining themselves to society’s ideals; women don’t.

  • MB


    Either they have to be very specific about a code (i.e sleeved or tank shirts only, slacks, capris or athletic shorts only, flat shoes only, no overtly noticable cosmetics) which they would need to apply to all potential female patrons as well.

    Otherwise it is considered gender identification discrimination, and they’d be open to a lawsuit.

  • The Artist

    This all seems very silly. I don’t think the bar would turn their backs on drag queens, just like The Eagle doesn’t turn it’s back on people not dressed from head to toe in leather. Spread the word… PEACELUVNBWILD!

  • SugNight

    Finally a place where the guys who advertise themselves as “straight acting” can go. I like my actors on the stage and screen, thank you.

  • ChrisM


    The anti-drag-queen sentiment you’re noticing is an “I don’t like to watch drag shows” sentiment (notice the “real men” comment was made by the biased author Musto, not by anyone at the bar), and I don’t see what’s wrong with that. You claim we have to stop with the you-have-to-act-a-certain-way-to-be-a-man stuff, and go on to say we shouldn’t watch sports or play football. It sounds to me like you’re advocating a you-have-to-act-a-certain-way-to-be-gay policy, and that policy includes not going to sports bars and loving drag. If you’re really so for diversity within a gender and diversity within a sexuality, why are you so against the idea of a gay bar that doesn’t put on drag shows?

  • Cam

    Meh, to each their own. If the bar is sucessful, they’re onto something, if not, then they aren’t, but the funny thing is, that they seem to think that this is something new. Bars in Boston were screening out Drag Queens years ago. They just had their dress codes. This isn’t anything new.

  • Queerty is obsessed with Jarret Barrios. ZZZ. (John from England)


    But that is life.

    Why would you want to go to a sports bar dressed up as a woman?


    I can’t go into clubs/bars if I wear trainers or caps…etc etc

    Some people are soo odd.

  • KeithW

    Ahh, the fine line between cultivating a particular scene at a gay venue while keeping it inviting and welcoming to everyone. The further struggle to keep the place from degenerating into just another blasé queen or bear bar…

    I believe gay clubs are valuable refuges from the critical and oppressive heterosexual world, where folks can let it all hang out and just be themselves. But there are so many different kinds of folks, being a riot of different selves. Mixed crowds often produce a great vibe, but sometimes it doesn’t work out. Some of these problems may be that a bar owner is being too-inclusive because of a shortage of revenue or an excess of political correctness. A given region may simply not have enough folks of various types to support separate venues for each one. To their credit, mixed crowds provide an opportunity for newly-out folks to observe a wider range of options and avoid the unfortunate “early indoctrination” effect.

    I agree with everyone above who see the difference between oppression and catering to one’s tastes. I have very little sympathy for scene-crashers and members of the old guard who complain about being “oppressed” when they’re really just battling to maintain dominance by oppressing others. Political correctness seems to be weilded as a weapon less against certain scenes (leather, lesbians) than others (sports, preppies, non-leather he-men) for bewildering and hypocritical reasons.

    It seems to me that queens and “ordinary” folks outnumber all of the other groups. Historically, “ordinary” folks have quietly mingled with every scene, for lack of a place of their own, while alternately, queens have loudly infiltrated almost everywhere, because making a spectacle and invading is part of their scene. IMHO, the problems here are that the queens are now cannibalizing their own culture by attacking their “straight-acting” brothers; and this results in the reaction that queens are “others” who we no longer want among us.

    If I can offer any solution, it is to remind queens that what we’re fighting is hostility and inequality towards all gay types, and to thank them for everything they do to fight oppression and to remind the world that we’re not all the same. “Straight-acting” gay bars are not threatening to drive queenie bars out of existence. It’s progress. Additionally, all the new gay he-men coming out of the woodwork are wise to grasp the indispensible role our flambouyant forbears play in pushing for civil rights, and be gravely reminded that throughout the world, homophobes still hate them as much as the queens. We need to back each other up. In short, everyone needs to grow up and make room for each other.


    How pathetic it is that so many on this thread are so suportive of banning a specific brand of Gay from a Gay bar…And if you bother to read Gay history 101 you will find that the Gay rights movement was started by a bunch of Drag Queens who the NYC Police harrased just one too many times and kicked the shit out of the cops, allowing Wrights bar to exist openly now. And yet we find discrimination within our own community……Keep voting the thumbs down, you are no better than those who would vote to deny our rights….

  • Cam

    How pathetic it is that so many on this thread are so suportive of banning a specific brand of Gay from a Gay bar

    But if you reread the article he didn’t say that they were banning anybody, just that there wouldn’t be any drag shows or drag queens hosting ny of their shows. I’m not seeing anything about anybody being banned.

  • Adrian

    as a person who does drag myself and knows very little about sports I would like to swing by and have the guys teach me a thing or two about football. ya know, like the rules of the game and such. maybe after they teach me about sports they might ask me what it’s like to walk in heels? I will let them borrow mine, over a pitcher of beer

  • D'oh, The Magnificent

    Not seeing the issue here. We have all types of bars for a reason. To category to different people’s tastes.

  • KeithW

    Isn’t it pathetic how so many hypocritical excuses come into play whenever someone defies the establishment and starts their own scene? And the ones complaining, are the ones representing or defending the establishment. Snap-snap.

  • WildCat

    @PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS: I more or less agree with the sentiment, but not your version of history. The LGBT movement started well before the Stonewall “Riots.”

  • Devon


    Nobody from the bar said anything about banning anyone. The only one talking about that is that BOQ Musto. Drag queens can still show up, they just won’t be the center of attention.

  • Jeremy

    Not gonna take any side here but some drag queen I knows can throw some troubling douche over the bar like a football. And some “self-called” macho men lost their “balls” right at the moments they are needed. Drag queens and sport guys sometimes are not a “black or white” matter.

  • Cyrus

    Most gays will never don the clothing of a woman. We got tagged with this because of homophobic stereotyping, because outlandish queens get a lot of attention, and finally, because of the tendency in the last few years for people to refer to “LGBT”, which links us with trannies and drag queens. We need to fight this stereotype, not label ourselves with it.

  • Tylertime

    I went to Boxer’s this past weekend for the first time. My complaint about the bar is the false advertising with the pic above. It might be a “sports bar” but most of the guys don’t look like they play or played a sport other than sitting in a recliner and watching them on TV.

  • WiseUp

    That’s the trouble, Tylertime. You’re not going to find many real studs in Manhattan. I wish the place the best, and success, though.

  • adman

    Why am I supposed to feel marginalized again? Sarcastic, caustic queeny posts do serve to remind me that I am an outsider (except in this bar, apparently) and as such I deserve a label. (gym bunny, bear, I guess)But since when were fem gays and drag queens all of a sudden arbiters over EVERYTHING that goes in my life, and I must seek their approval lest I be labeled self hating? This interwebz nonsense is out of hand, I’ve been to the most campy of clubs and been treated with everything from a modicum of respect to attraction, depending on the individual. But, reacting to femmy guys like they are separate seems to me like a suburban white thing or something.

    Maybe it’s a yuppie filter for the blue-collars (of which I am one)? Either way, If I go there and it turns out to be white washed, upscale, yuppies in butch drag I’m gonna be pissed. It’s that feeling of being ripped off that I can’t stand. These little lessons in class difference always highlight just that, those with no class who can’t leave a fucked up marketing concept on paper, where it belongs.

  • WiseUp

    Adman : Actually, the “suburban white” is pretty hip these days.

  • adman

    @WiseUp: I know, I’ve been to the eagle where they have their brand new bikes and chaps, everyone is a lawyer. Contrast that crowd with the paranoid screeching “downscale” tweaker queen, and there you have it, San Fran’s lovely leather scene. talk about a waste of $12.00 for a drink there. So much for the advance marketing directive complete with cost analysis going in.
    My point is when are we going to learn to stop EXPLOITING our community and let people live a little? I’m tired of themed bars, even though I still go to Lonestar beer busts. Hey, my friends are there, you know? Maybe the answer is food? Make it a foodie gay bar! Hmmmmm..gotta call my people/

  • WiseUp

    Adman : I understand what you’re saying, and agree with a lot of that. I’m just jokingly scolding you on the “white suburbs” putdown- because my white suburban friends in NJ and Long Island really DO live amongst the coolest people these days- but I got your point completely.

  • SG

    It’s a really boring bar full of what appear to be boring bridge and tunnel guys and there’s nothing macho about it. It’s big, slick and cheesy. Like a sports bar version of Splash. The owner’s talk of excluding certain people is going to come back and bite him in the ass when it stops doing well. And, really, while I didn’t see any drag queens in there, just about everyone I spoke to and observed was nelly as hell. (And unlike the owner, I think that’s a perfectly fine thing to be.) Marginalizing people is a really dumb way to go about starting a business.

  • Lamar

    @ChrisM: I didn’t say once that gays should reject the idea of doing things seen as masculine and go out of their way to be feminine, I am merely suggesting that men should be able to do whatever without people suggesting they are not men because of their tastes or what their hobbies are. I am not saying all gays must visit the theatre at least once a month, take ballet lessons and fill their iPods with the latest Beyonce remixes. Also I am not against the idea of a gay bar that doesn’t do drag (diversity is not a bad thing) I am saying that gays shouldn’t act all snarky towards other gays interested in drag or are feminine.

  • Pete

    One last time now: Boxer’s owner isn’t excluding nor marginalizing anyone. He’s simply declined to build a cute little stage with catwalk, and stated that he wasn’t planning on scheduling any faboo drag shows. He’s decorated the place all sporty and didn’t mince words when he said the place is meant to appeal to a demonstrably underrepresented audience of conventionally masculine men.

    You whiners wouldn’t DARE criticize a leather or lesbian bar for failing to appeal to the delicate tastes of the effete gay man. You whiners wouldn’t DREAM of criticizing a bar built for nothing but drag shows and their audience. So just shut up, shut up, shut up.

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