Celebrate how far we’ve come and brace yourself for the work to be done by enjoying libations and liberation at some of these Chicago gems:
954 W. Belmont
Welcoming everyone since 1983, Berlin is an inclusive venue for dancing, drinking, and drag.
5024 N. Sheridan
Visit Big Chicks for Sunday brunch and some mimosas to cure those Saturday night-induced hangovers, or drop by late at night for a raucous time.
3729 N. Halsted
A longtime Boystown—ehrm, Northalsted—staple, this neighborhood watering hole never disappoints.
3702 N. Halsted
A kinky, cruisy bar with no dress code—explore the back bar at your own risk.
1530 E. 75th
Longtime South Shore staple for LGBTQ+ cocktail lounging and drag shows.
3548 N. Halsted
The best DJs ply their trade for your dancing enjoyment late into the night.
Jackhammer (reopening summer 2022)
6406 N. Clark
Not for the faint of heart. Jackhammer bills itself accurately as Chicago’s leather and fetish lounge. Welcoming and friendly, Jackhammer is a quintessential leather bar at the heart of Chicago’s community. The Hole at Jackhammer is more than a little cruisy; this is a play place for Chicago’s kink scene.
7041 S. Jeffery
A neighborhood institution in South Shore since the 1960s, this community-focused bar serves up drinks, community, viewing parties, and DJs in a convivial environment that welcomes multiple generations of LGBTQ+ Chicagoans.
2229 S. Michigan
Offering a prix fixe menu and a la carte drinks, Lips delivers on drag dining. Every meal is a party, and you cannot leave without your sides hurting from laughter.
1744 W. Balmoral
Offering exquisite cocktails in a glamorous, sexy space, Nobody’s Darling is a treasured addition to the neighborhood.
3733 N. Halsted
A mustn’t miss, friendly sports bar, serving the gayborhood since 1983.
3359 N. Halsted
Offering a fun time and an incredible light sculpture, Progress Bar is a modern gay bar fit for flirting, fun, and more.
Second Story Bar
157 E. Ohio
An old-school, cash-only hideaway on the second floor above an Armenian restaurant that has served downtown patrons and friendly regulars since the 80s.
3349 N. Halsted
Spanning several buildings, it’s easy to get lost as you attempt to find your groove—though the programming and $6 well drinks more than make up for the ever-growing bar.
3339 N. Halsted
Keep up on Drag Race at Splash Social on Friday night, featuring lots of fun and a $25 package for unlimited food and drink.
6412 N. Clark
Around since 1977, Touché has shared its living history as one of the country’s premier cruisy leather bars.
Dugan’s Bistro and the Legend of the Bearded Lady looks back at a time when River North was full of drag queens and glitter
“After all these years of repression, people were just ready to party,” says author Owen Keehnen.
Are rainbow-festooned events full of glitter, sequins, and boas signs of progress? Strides made by LGBTQ+ people are increasingly under fire in the forms of violence, rhetoric, and quasi-legal attacks on the rights of the community. Has the LGBTQ+ community unwittingly played a role in this by seeking assimilation? Some might say that the idea…
How three gay bars—La Mere Vipere, O’Banion’s, and Oz—became the cradle of the city’s punk scene