Bar Owner Predicts More LGBTQ Acceptance

Pepper Smash
Pepper Smash | Image by Andrew Norsworthy/The Dallas Express

Some North Texas locals gathered Sunday afternoon to attend a local drag brunch at a Plano bar and restaurant.

Pepper Smash, located at The Shops at Legacy, hosted another iteration of the Sass & Smash Drag Brunch. This event took place from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. and was hosted by drag performer Adecia Lush.

The Dallas Express attended the event, which was sparsely populated.

Patrons at the bar were served various drinks and brunch items while three drag performers danced provocatively and lipsynced as people offered them cash tips. Three patrons also participated in a drinking competition to see who could chug a full beer the fastest.

Jon Kilburn, owner of Pepper Smash, told The Dallas Express that the low attendance was likely due to the Super Bowl. He said that he intended the bar to be a safe place for all patrons, including those who identify as LGBTQ. He referenced a protest that had previously taken place outside the bar before he owned it. The venue was hosting a drag show that day.

“I’m trying to make this more of a community bar,” Kilburn said.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, a number of all-ages drag shows prompted protests in Dallas and other cities around North Texas in recent years. At Pepper Smash, there was no clear age restriction and no one checking IDs at the entrance.

Drag shows have also drawn criticism for allegedly being “derisive, divisive and demoralizing misogyny.” That was the opinion of the president of West Texas A&M University, who canceled a drag show on campus last March, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

Kilburn said that he believes the bar will be packed with guests every Sunday the drag brunches are held going forward as he anticipates acceptance of such shows to grow.

“I think that in the next 10 years, regardless of who’s in power, you will see more and more acceptance happening,” said Kilburn. “Because if you told me 10 years ago I’d be [owning] a bar where I host drag shows, I’d have told you you were nuts just because there wouldn’t have been the people willing to come out to the shows.”

“I don’t want to offend anybody, but the acceptance of the people in that category will be completely different five years from now than it is today in a positive way,” said Kilburn.

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