– Story by Toby Tannas Photography by Lia Crowe
Friends of Dorothy is a lounge best enjoyed with friends …but if you don’t bring them, you just might find some at this moody-yet-upbeat hot spot nestled in Kelowna’s downtown core.
And while the topnotch entertainment will get you in the door, it may be the food and drink that keep you coming back.
Dorothy’s is known for its drag shows, including the famed Sunday Drag Brunch where local queens interact with the guests. It’s breakfast with a spectacular, saucy side of glam and attitude.
“The drag shows are back and everyone’s excited,” says head chef Sarah Maw. “They bring so much to the atmosphere, and when they get on the mic, they banter as only Kelowna queens can. And, of course, they perform a number or two.”
Reservations are highly recommended for the Sunday Drag Brunch.
Dorothy’s has made a name for itself from an entertainment perspective, and it just might be the most inclusive spot on Kelowna’s bar-and-restaurant landscape. LGBT2Q+ at its core, Dorothy’s is a place for everyone to gather and be themselves.
“However you identify, you will feel comfortable at Dorothy’s. We try to make the experience very different from other bars in town with our variety of acts—not just drag queens but also comedy,” explains Sarah.
In addition to mastering its entertainment and atmosphere, Dorothy’s has perfected its food and drink menu since opening in early 2020. Sarah and beverage director Eric Pihrag go all out to create a unified offering between the two menus.
On the cocktail side, you’ll find a tightly curated local wine list alongside creative and exotic handcrafted signature drinks. Choose from The Ruby Slipper, Wicked Witch of the West or Not in Kansas Anymore. (You are picking up on the theme here, right?)
“The most popular is There’s No Place Like Home,” says Sarah. “That one has got a tang to it. With two types of gin, grapefruit and rosemary, it feels really good on the mouth.”
When it comes to food, the offerings are as diverse as the friends that Dorothy picks up along her yellow brick road journey in The Wizard of Oz.
The Hong Shao Rou Pork Belly Bites are like little pieces of heaven melting in your mouth. The provolone-stuffed Mushroom Arancini, with its Italian notes, is a delicious happy-hour option for plant-based eaters, and don’t skip over the Crispy Artichokes, a chef Sarah specialty, served with a sweet chili sauce. If you’ve got a bigger appetite, you might opt for the Crispy Chicken Sandwich.
“It’s a Karaage-style chicken on house-made brioche. We do a sriracha aioli, and I like to infuse a lot of the liquors in my cooking, so it’s got a Jack Daniels glaze that people are crazy for.”
While we all appreciate the finer foods, can we agree that every eatery can be defined by its fries? Friends of Dorothy’s are topnotch. (Ask for extra roasted garlic aioli … yes, it’s that good!)
Watch for a new menu coming later this summer. Chef Sarah is excited to work with local farmers to incorporate Okanagan-grown produce. She’s also creating a sexy Mediterranean platter made for sharing.
“Think whipped feta, hummus, house-baked naan and olives,” she says.
Whatever the season, Friends of Dorothy is the place to sit, sip, savour and socialize.
“Just come and be yourself. I don’t know of anywhere else right now that offers this upbeat lounge atmosphere,” Sarah says.
With indoor and outdoor dining options, Friends of Dorothy welcomes guests 19+ seven days a week.
Also—if you find yourself on Vancouver Island, sashay your way into the fabulous Victoria location where families are welcome.