Palace, the iconic gay restaurant and bar on Ocean Drive that is world-renowned for its live drag performances, will be re-opening at 1052 Ocean (Actually by the time you are reading this Palace has more than likely re-opened).
Palace was a long-time popular haunt for celebrities — Andy Cohen, Nene Leakes, and Perez Hilton have been spotted dining outside the eatery, and in the old days Luciano Pavarotti, Elton John, Madonna and Princess Diana were frequently spotted at the restaurant.
Steve Palsar launched Palace in February 1988. Miami was a much different city and at that time there were no other restaurants on the Drive. Everyone thought Palsar was crazy to introduce one, but he did. Palace opened at 1200 Ocean Drive — Palsar’s “little slice of heaven,” as he called it — and it would usher in a whole new era that would eventually lead to cafes up and down the street.
When we interviewed Thomas Donall right before the closing at the original location he said: “The truth of the matter is that this situation presents us with a fantastic opportunity to grow, we’re going to find a new place that has the same character but offers a bigger performance space that better suits the needs of our changing community.” What Thomas said months ago has become reality with the new location. It was a pleasure to sit down with Thomas again for this interview.
When you found out that the original location of Palace would be coming to an end did you consider not relocating or was relocating the only option?
I really tried to stay in the property and work a deal out, but I just couldn’t. It was also going to take a year and a half to finish the property, and I knew I couldn’t be closed that long, so I immediately started looking for the new location.
When did you find the new location for Palace?
I have been going up and down Ocean Drive for months, and I finally found our new home at 1052 a few weeks ago.
How hard was it to keep the location a secret?
Very difficult, as I wanted to transfer everything first before announcing, but the word got out quick.
How is the new location better than the old location?
We have a lot bigger deck in the front for the shows and it has a huge awning so there are no umbrellas to inhibit the girls. The inside opens to the outside with all glass doors. It’s one of the best locations on Ocean Drive for the Palace.
Who are some of the girls, we have come to know and love that will continue to be on the Palace cast?
Missy, TP, Tiffany, and Elishaly are the four major girls we will have back.
Are you bringing in new girls?
We are going to be having several new entertainers trying out so we can get some fresh girls for our new team.
What’s ahead for the iconic Palace?
We are going to be working on different shows, we are installing a Boid Sound System, which will be fabulous, an all-new lights system and as I said it’s a much bigger space. This is a much freer open space and I am sure the South Florida community will love it!
We have a 20 year lease so Palace is set here for a long time.
For more information on the Palace, go to: PalaceSouthBeach.com.