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Drag queen event injects energy and attitude into the nostalgia of bingo night

Weekly bingo games at Red Bear Brewery in NoMa are wildly popular.

WASHINGTON — Any Tuesday night during a workweek could use an infusion of energy and laughter. A recent visit to the Red Bear Brewing Company in NoMa proved that a two-hour-long bingo event could send you into hump day with new vigor. 

Red Bear hosts a 'Drag Queen Bingo' event every other Tuesday night at its location along M Street in NorthEast DC. 

"It's not your grandmother's bingo. Because it's bingo with these high-energy drag queens," said Van Den Oever.

"What would our grandmothers do if they were here tonight?" I asked.

"They would have fun," he replied. "They would definitely have fun."

In 2019, Van Den Oever started Red Bear Brewery which, according to the DCist, was the first 100% owned LGBTQ brewery in Washington. 

When discussing the rigorous audition process for the drag queens who would ultimately come to host bingo night, Van Den Oever said with a laugh, "basically, we had one meeting."

Van Den Oever would describe Red Bear as a 'pride bar' more than he would a 'gay bar'. The distinction being that the business celebrates everyone's choices and individuality while making a comfortable place for people of all genders and sexual orientations. In fact, Red Bear has an American Sign Language interpreter signing on stage during all of the bingo games.

"The energy in here is always (profanity omitted) 100," said Desiree Dik, the emcee of drag queen bingo night at Red Bear Brewing Co. 

"Yes. Yes!" said Desiree Dik when asked if this was an event she looks forward to all week long. "I literally love coming here. It's a little stressful coming from my work, from painting to coming here."

Dik's transformation into full drag costume is a finely choreographed experience and on this night she dazzled the packed crowd in a skin-tight red latex dress that left little to the imagination. 

You can find out more about Red Bear Brewing Co and it's events HERE.

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