September 9, 2008

Ten Best Gay & Lesbian Bars 2008

boystownChicago is renowned for its culture and diversity, bringing together people from all backgrounds and labels. The gay and lesbian community plays a significant part in the Windy City's population, attracting men and women from less resourceful rural areas across the Midwest. Two of Chicago's most thriving gay neighborhoods are Boystown (inside the Lakeview/Wrigleyville area) and Andersonville (and consequently its surrounding Edgewater neighborhood). A high concentration of bars, shops, and restaurants can be found among the colorful pylons of Boystown. Andersonville has a few bars as well but is better known for its boutiques and 'hip' eateries.

While it is by no means an all-inclusive list, here are ten of the best same-sex bars (courtesy of Citysearch and Yelp) plus a few honorable mentions.

Honorable Mention: Hydrate. This club's thumping beat spills out onto Halsted Street, as does the line to get in the door.

Honorable Mention: The Closet. This lesbian dive gives women the (small) space they need to drink, relax, and dance.

Honorable Mention: Touch'. If The Closet is a dive bar for lesbians, this is the gay-male version. Plenty of adult-theme nights might have you discovering something new about yourself.

Honorable Mention: Spin. This Boystown club attracts men and women of all orientations. Also, why shower before going out when you can shower at the club?

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10. Circuit. While everyone else is thumping house and techno beats, Circuit grooves to Latin rhythms, urban tunes, and even hip-hop favorites.

9. Cell Block. Looking like the dark and intimidating biker of Boystown, this leather bar is probably one of the friendliest entrances to the interesting subculture.

8. The Eagle. A true piece of Chicago history, this business caters to the gruff and tough side of the gay community.

7. Charlie's. Even in the big city, a cowboy needs his own lil' place where he can two-step and line dance.

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6. Roscoe's. The dance mixes and pitcher specials keep the boys coming back to this lively (albeit community-negligent) Boystown mainstay.

5. Jackhammer. With a dance floor, pool table, and patio, the Rogers Park establishment is a party upstairs and 'business' downstairs.

4. Berlin. Another dance club that attracts everyone and anyone, Berlin has several theme nights and is a popular stop for the late-night crowds.

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3. The North End. No fuss, no frills. Guys stop in here to shoot pool and throw darts, all while catching the game… or the newest pop music video.

2. Sidetrack. Chicago's biggest and most popular gay bar has over 2 dozen video screens and is best known for its comedy nights and Showtunes Sundays.

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1. Big Chicks. With a friendly clientele, great atmosphere, and cheap burgers and drinks, this north side bar is a hit with every crowd.

Photo credit: (c/o SXC) Manu M, Rodolfo Clix, Martin Simonis, (c/o Flickr) josephp, SSCusp, RandomlyRoaming, polomex, davco9200, rcktmanil, lobstar28

One comment

1 comment to Ten Best Gay & Lesbian Bars 2008

  1. Alicia, Mental Health Notes
    September 12th, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    This list really puts things in perspective, regarding my little podunk area of the country. There are more gay and lesbian bars in Chicago than there are total bars in the entire county I live in.

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