A Sunday drag brunch in Nags Head featuring Hampton Roads performer Naomi Black has landed the host restaurant, JJ Brewbaker’s, in hot water with its landlord.
According to Brewbaker’s co-owner Robert Privott, more than 220 tickets were sold to the “Eggs, Bacon and Divas” drag brunch, and the crowd was predominantly heterosexual. It included a large number of local business owners and leaders who showed up for the inaugural event.
On July 24, the Rosemyr Corp., which owns and operates the Outer Banks Mall where Brewbaker’s is located, sent a letter declaring that the establishment was in “violation of the lease restrictions” outlined in their rental agreement because Brewbaker’s hosted the female impersonators the day before.
The letter cites an earlier communication Rosemyr sent to J.J. Brewbaker’s stating, “We indicated to you in a letter dated June 22nd that an event including male and/or female impersonators would be in violation of your lease.”
It was signed by Lois S. Williams, vice president of Leasing and Property Management at Rosemyr.
The lease clause cited by the landlord includes language that prohibits “adult entertainment” at the establishment, he said.
The Town of Nags Head does not include female impersonators in its definition of adult entertainment, said one town official who wished to remain anonymous.
Further, the official said that Nags Head defines “adult entertainment” as a “sexually-oriented business,” which typically would include bars featuring strippers and stores selling sexually-oriented products.
“I should be in this restaurant dealing with the normal struggles of starting a restaurant. Instead, I’m dealing with civil rights issues that we thought we had cured years ago,” explained Privott.
Earlier this week, OBX Pride, Inc. announced that they are hosting a late night drag show at JJ Brewbaker’s as part of their annual Pridefest celebration in September.
David Miller, OBX Pride’s treasurer and Pridefest organizer, said, “I can tell you that I have personally known one of the owners of Brewbaker’s for a very long time, and he is a good person. What he is giving the LGBT community is not adult entertainment. It’s a harmless cabaret drag show that has mass appeal.”
“I don’t know who the owner is so I can’t speak to his motives,” he said. ” All I can do is guess that he doesn’t know the difference between a drag show and the legal definition of adult entertainment.”
“I mean, it’s just a man in a dress with really good makeup!”