June 22, 2007

Gay Nightlife

boystownIn honor of the gay pride events going on this weekend, here’s a rundown of just a few of the popular hangouts in the Boystown area.

For mixed drinks with a mixed crowd, head over to Berlin. Just a couple blocks east of the Pierogi Factory, the club attracts primarily a gay clientele during the week. However, a melting pot of homos, heteros, and every other label come to get their groove on over the weekend. I was there a couple years ago for my birthday with friends, after a long night of celebrating and bar-hopping. We found ourselves surrounded by cliques of gay preppy guys, straight urban couples, a couple of glowstick-spinning ravers, and a drag queen or two. (I even ran into a nemesis from my teenage years, a former bully from the high school I attended.) But no wallflowers! This hot spot is all about incredible DJs, powerful beats, and all-out dancing. And while many dance clubs are accused of high prices for watered-down drinks, that certainly isn’t the case here. Even the cover charge is reasonable at only around $5! Regular monthly events include “Madonna-rama” (the first Sunday of every month), “Prince Nite” (the last Sunday of every month), and disco nights (the last Wednesday of every month). Don’t bring your dancing shoes too early though; the club doesn’t get lively until after midnight.

sidetrackSidetrack is hands-down Chicago’s biggest and most popular gay bar. The space is huge, but it is split into five or six different areas, providing a scene for whatever mood you’re in. The dimly lit front and back areas have a cozy, warm feel, while the bright, smoke-free “glass bar” feels light and open even on the most crowded evenings. There’s even a huge, multi-level, rooftop deck open during warmer seasons. There are five bars spread out throughout the building, and any time I’ve been there, I’ve never had to wait a long time for an available bartender. Over 30 video screens are scattered throughout the place, and most nights at the bar have a popular theme to them, like Showtunes on Sundays or comedy on Thursdays. I’ll admit, Sidetrack isn’t really my scene, but it is an eye-appealing space, and I’d recommend that everyone visit at least once.

Maybe you’re not looking for dance music or fancy drinks. The North End is a sports-oriented bar where guys can have a beer while watching the game. No fuss, no frills, patrons shoot pool and throw darts, all while a Britney Spears video plays on one screen, a Cubs game on another. The bar fills up with a mixed crowd on Wednesday nights, when karaoke begins at 10:00 p.m.

Photo credit: (c/o Flickr) josephp, rcktmanil

Berlin: 954 W Belmont Ave; 773-348-4975
Mon - Tues: 10:00 p.m. - 4:00 a.m.
Weds - Fri: 5:00 p.m. - 4:00 a.m.
Sat: 5:00 p.m. - 5:00 a.m.
Sun: 8:00 p.m. - 4:00 a.m.
(DJ starts spinning between 10 and 11 p.m. every night.)
Street parking difficult; pay lot nearby
Public trans: Bus # 8, 22, 77 or Brown/Purple/Red Line train (Belmont)

Sidetrack: 3349 N Halsted St; 773-477-9189
Sun - Fri: 3:00 p.m. - 2:00 a.m.
Sat: 3:00 p.m. - 3:00 a.m.
Street parking difficult; valet Thurs - Sun
Public trans: Bus # 8, 22, 77 or Brown/Purple/Red Line train (Belmont)

North End: 3733 N Halsted St; 773-477-7999
Mon - Fri: 3:00 p.m. - 2:00 a.m.
Sat: 12 noon - 3:00 a.m.
Sun: 12 noon - 2:00 a.m.
Street parking difficult; pay lot around the corner
Public trans: Bus # 8 (end of the line), 36, 152 or Red Line train (Addison)


8 comments to Gay Nightlife

  1. Helen
    June 22nd, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    The North End seems like a place to cool to visit. If I’m in the Chicago area, I’ll be sure to visit that place. I also want to visit a gay bar… I had a couple male gay friends couple years back and I always heard stories about how much fun they had & I always wanted to visit a bar like that. If you’re in the Chicago area, on June 28th from 7pm - 11pm, Yaris VS Yaris is throwing an event @ the Alhambra Palace Restaurant with live performances by Dice Raw from the Roots & Truck North. It’s totally free and all you have to do is RSVP! Check out http://www.yarisversusyaris.com for more information. I know this because I work with them!

  2. Beatnix
    October 27th, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    [...] outlandish boutique in the heart of Boystown (mere steps away from Sidetrack) attracts a clientele as flashy as its merchandise. Clubbers, drag queens, and a curious, giggling [...]

  3. New Year’s Eve in Gay/Lesbian Chicago
    December 27th, 2007 at 7:04 pm

    [...] by for some barstool football with the guys without having to worry about a cover. However, the North End knows that even a beer guy needs a champagne toast at midnight. (open 'til 3 a.m., no cover) [...]

  4. Hungry? Chicago
    February 20th, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    [...] Chicago Karyn's Fresh Corner Sidetrack Moody's Pub Sheffield's Caf' [...]

  5. Kreative Soul
    March 2nd, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    [...] the Lakeview neighborhood (around the corner from North End), there's a little boutique called Kreative Soul. If you're looking for accessories that will [...]

  6. "Top Chef: Chicago" Premieres
    March 22nd, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    [...] St, a brand-new location that opened just under a year ago in the heart of Boystown, Chicago's gay and lesbian [...]

  7. Set Your Date on Firefly
    July 30th, 2008 at 6:04 am

    [...] kinds. Located near the bars and clubs of the Boystown Halsted strip (just a couple doors south of Sidetrack), Firefly gets fairly crowded with both hetero and same-sex couples and has a long wait list on [...]

  8. Bass, Boys, and Bad Behavior at Roscoe’s
    August 19th, 2008 at 6:01 am

    [...] it isn't just the music that keeps the boys coming back for more. Across the street from Sidetrack, Roscoe's has a multitude of weekly events and specials. A number of guest hosts present affairs [...]

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