Many Dallas-based bars and restaurants are partnering with local drag performers to attract new patrons and customers at participating venues.

Monkey King Noodle Company is located downtown on Main Street and specializes in a variety of Asian cuisine. On Sunday, the restaurant hosted its weekly “VIP Drag Brunch,” featuring live performances, audience banter, and sexual jokes.

The drag brunch — titled “Wake Up and Makeup” — was listed as a ticketed event with admission requiring attendees to be 18 and older.


While many patrons were already dining at the venue when the show began, several guests, presumably without a ticket, stuck around for some free weekend entertainment.

The audience during Sunday’s show was mostly male, with several female attendees. Overall, about 20 patrons attended the drag brunch. The show generally followed the typical drag brunch formula seen around the metroplex, which included sexualized humor, wild dance performances, themed costumes, guests handing performers dollar bills, audience contests, and more.

The manager of the Monkey King Noodle Company declined The Dallas Express’ request for comment and would not provide a list of Sunday’s performers but did assure the publication that no underage children were allowed at the show. Monkey King Noodle Company is owned by renowned Dallas-born noodle maker and restaurateur Andrew Chen.

In response to backlash over children attending drag shows, state lawmakers passed legislation in 2023 banning sexual performances in the presence of minors, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. However, the judge in the case ruled that such laws violated the First Amendment.

Although the law was ruled unconstitutional, participating bars and restaurants seem to have opted to avoid any unnecessary backlash by not allowing kids at shows with adult-themed entertainment.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, even drag shows for legal adults prompted consternation in some corners.

“Drag shows stereotype women in cartoon-like extremes for the amusement of others and discriminate against womanhood,” said West Texas A&M University president Walter Wendler, explaining why he canceled a show scheduled to take place on his campus last year. “Drag shows are derisive, divisive and demoralizing misogyny, no matter the stated intent.”

Drag performer Emeka Bless countered in a previous interview with The Dallas Express that such shows are actually “liberating” and meant to be an exercise in “freedom of expression.”