July 12, 2023
5
min. read

Best Gay Bars in Chicago

When it comes to celebrating queer culture, Chicago is a city that knows how to do it right. With its broad spectrum of bars and clubs, each offering a unique atmosphere and diverse attractions, the city is truly a kaleidoscope of vibrant, eclectic nightlife experiences.
Bobby Box
Sex Columnist

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Progress Bar

Progress Bar

3359 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60657, USA

This venue combines its forward-thinking mindset with a visually impactful venue design. This forward-thinking bar encourages conversation and interaction, fostering a sense of community and connection, designed to remind us of how far we’ve come as a community.

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    <h2>Ria Gates</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>MUST! No cover charge like most bars do in Chicago .\nFirst time here and I love it. They play very good music r&b, rap, gossip, just a good mixture of music. The environment was nice and bright with great details. The drinks are very inexpensive I spent less then $30 and they are very good. I don’t remember the bartender name but he was African American tall he make very good drinks. He accommodate everyone very quick and efficient. They also have areas where you can sit if you find somewhere to sit. They have tables against the walls as well. Overall I recommend</p>

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Sidetrack

Sidetrack

3349 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60657, USA

Sidetrack is known as a multifaceted entertainment venue, featuring multiple bars, video mixing, and a large balcony. Catering to a variety of preferences, Sidetrack is an all-in-one destination for a fulfilling night out.

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    <h2>Dikota David</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>Loved this place big time! They even welcomed this goth boy with the strongest drinks they got because of my high tolerance with Everclear. Staff where on point and the other guests where very nice. Even with my black and white makeup on, guys flirting with me which is a good sign! Not much drama from this place it seems. Will sure be coming back!</p>

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    <h2>Seth Long</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>I wrote a bad review last month because the bartender never looked at me to get me a drink. However, the owner wrote such a nice response that I deleted it. I understand that it was fairly busy & I overreacted. Just goes to show you how a positive response from the owner goes a long way towards making a difference in a customer’s opinion! Plus the people at the door are so nice, especially the lady who is the officer!</p>

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    <h2>CV Dix</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>I've been a long time fan of Sidetrack and try to attend as many of their events as possible.  One of those events includes the Ru-Paul watch parties.  Sidetrack started advertising a Ru-Paul fantasy league with prizes for those that place in the top positions each week.  I signed up for the league with friends.  Each week, we made sure to select our picks and then watch the show at the bar.  I was highly disappointed last week when the bar didn't even acknowledge the fantasy league or the winners.  I asked the drag queen hosts and they said \"So what?  We don't do that anymore.\"  I know they're just the hosts and not in control of the contests but my friends and I were highly disappointed that the bar would start a contest and then completely sweep it under the rug.  It was a very unique concept when all bars are competing for the same crowd of watchers and I just wish they had acknowledged that it was only to get people in the door for the first several weeks instead of having people designate time to a league that was just a gimmick.  I'll still Sidetrack because love the bar and the awesome staff but not waste my time with this event.\n\nUPDATE: Sidetrack acknowledged the oversight and said they will continue the fantasy league until season's end.</p>

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Jeffery Pub

Jeffery Pub

7041 S Jeffery Blvd, Chicago, IL 60649, USA

Jeffery Pub, nestled in the South Shore, has more than just years under its belt - it’s a testament to endurance and community. Originally opened in the 1960s and currently known for its themed-night events and DJ lineups. Beyond the beats, it’s the rich history, and the strong ties to Chicago's Black gay community that make it a must-visit.

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WANGS

WANGS

3317 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60657, USA

This spot combines the vibe of a bar with the atmosphere of an art space. It's a locale that stands out with its showcase of local art and occasional live DJ sets, offering a unique night out. Known for its friendly service and inclusive environment, WANGS is a destination where creativity meets community.

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    <h2>Heidi</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>Really one of the best places for a chill time, delicious drinks, yummy bites, and genuinely kind service. Amazing staff that adds to the ambiance of this gem. Be transported to another place and time without leaving Chicago.</p>

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    <h2>Mike L And Jerry The Pigeon</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>What can I say.. I love this place. The place has a relaxing vibe & the drinks are very unique. Great flavors and friendly service. Let’s not forget the people watching.\nI give this place a 5⭐️\nJerry the pigeon gives it a 4.8⭐️</p>

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    <h2>Melisa Rodriguez</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>Favorite bar to meet hook ups. Either girls or guys. Dark and Eastern mystic atmosphere. Like chinese opium den with great martinis. Sheela the bartender is super Hott. @~420</p>

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The SoFo Tap

The SoFo Tap

4923 N Clark St 1st floor, Chicago, IL 60640, USA

Looking for a friendly crowd, strong drinks, and a spacious outdoor patio? The SoFo Tap simplifies the bar experience without sacrificing satisfaction and is a staple for locals and visitors alike.

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    <h2>Ruy Filho</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>My first time in this place was a Saturday night with my friends. I like those mule's drinks, very unique. I had the Kentucky mule all night. The ambiance and decor are very cozy. The crowd was more mature guys in the 40s and 50s, which means you can have a great time and never worried about lousy music and drunk people doing weird stuff. I really enjoyed my time over there.</p>

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    <h2>Jacek Marcinkowski</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>It was very nice bear bar with good looking barman and good drinks, free champagne during New Year’s Eve and a lot of love. Very clean place.  Good music. I would love to come back there.</p>

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    <h2>NEW PAWSibilities</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>Unbelievable good service.  Friday night Thomas was awesome made us feel so welcome and like we were part of the SOFO family. We went back Saturday afternoon for dog day (because we have a dog rescue in Wisconsin)and Paul was outstanding.  We now have a new bar to call home. You guys are amazing. Thank you so much for making people from out of the area feel so welcome!! And Jeremy on Sunday made it an awesome weekend</p>

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The North End

The North End

3733 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60613, USA

This is a great spot for those who enjoy their drinks with a side of sports. With multiple screens for game viewing and a lively crowd, it's the go-to venue for sports-loving patrons.

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    <h2>Michael Kramer</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>Great atmosphere and bartenders are personal, never feel like you're forgotten or only there to tip them a few dollars. Went here a few nights during a trip last year and will definitely be back as soon as I can. Great Place if the clubs are not your favorite place.</p>

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Hydrate

Hydrate

3458 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60657, USA

With a roster of top DJs and extended hours, Hydrate is the rhythm of Chicago nightlife. More than just a place to drink, this venue is a dance destination that keeps the city moving until the wee hours.

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    <h2>Parris Hobbs</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>They bring in great international DJs. Excellent house music and dance club if that is what you are looking for. The best of the clubs imho on north Halstead when you are truly looking for a good dj, house music vibes and dancing. Best gogo dancers I’ve seen in Chicago as well. It’s a party 🎉 ! We went for a good drag show on a Saturday night too hosted by one of RPDR alums. Great show and a better space for drag than some of the spaces I’ve seen in Chicago.</p>

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    <h2>Desiree Cowling</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>If you want to go to night life establishment that is taking covid and the covid vaccine seriously I highly suggest this bar. In order to get in I had to have my vaccination card and my mask. After that the rest of the evening was smooth. I was able to watch at least four drag queens perform. Drinks were reasonably priced. Bathrooms are all genders welcome. An staff was very kind and helpful.</p>

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    <h2>Scott Grawitch</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>My favorite gay bar in Chicago! Always a fun time on their dance floor!</p>

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Second Story Bar

Second Story Bar

157 E Ohio St #2, Chicago, IL 60611, USA

Looking for a cozy space to enjoy your evening? Second Story Bar is a testament to the saying "less is more." With its intimate and cozy space, it's perfect for those seeking a low-key setting for good drinks and better conversation.

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    <h2>Jordan Washington</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>A fantastic hidden gem of a gay bar. Second Story is unassuming from the outside but rewards those in the know with a fun crowd and a divey atmosphere. Cheap cash-only bar and friendly bartender. I intended to stay for one drink but stayed until last call because the people were so great!</p>

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    <h2>Mega W.</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>Incredible vintage vibes in a cozy upstairs space above a restaurant. Open early afternoon. Great service. If you’re in the neighborhood it’s a must visit.</p>

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    <h2>Jeff Darby</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>Zach our bartender was so amazing. Our first time in Chicago, and he was so welcoming and helpful. Thanks for everything you’re the best Zach!</p>

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Atmosphere Andersonville

5355 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640, USA

In the heart of Andersonville, Atmosphere stands out for its variety of themed nights and dance parties. A relaxed environment where drag shows meet impromptu dance-offs, it's become a favorite for locals seeking a good time without the pretense. Dive in, and you'll soon get why it's been dubbed "the place with no attitude."

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    <h2>Zashy Lavin</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>Loud (where isn't) and wild. At least the night I went. Had a blast, and the decor was great. Service was exceptional too considering the crowd.</p>

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    <h2>Sam</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>Great gay bar in andersonville, it’s been a staple of the area for years. Seems to have gotten even better over time especially as a place to dance when not many other locations in the neighborhood have space for it!</p>

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    <h2>Ruby George</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>Fun bar. Even though this is a gay bar they seemed really welcoming to everybody. Lot's of fun theme and trivia nights.</p>

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Big Chicks

Big Chicks

5024 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60640, USA

This friendly spot is much more than just a bar. It boasts not only an excellent drink selection but also delectable bites, including arguably some of the best sandwiches in town. Combining good food, drink, and art, it truly is a community gathering space.

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    <h2>Jennifer Rodriguez</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>If you wanna beat the crowd, come in when they just open. Delicious food and affordable drinks! Service informed us that you can substitute any patty on the menu for a vegan patty. Which is awesome! Great selection of vegan and vegetarian section. Art and photography are neat to look at. Great atmosphere and service are very nice! Love to return here. It's also CASH ONLY. ATM is located inside but charges a fee as it is a generic one.</p>

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    <h2>Michael Barron, III</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>This place is solid, I used to go there for dollar burger night and always had a good time. I had one question and I see the owner responds to reviews - there was a photo on one of the walls which was like an artsy photograph of a McDonalds sign. Any idea who the photographer is? I would love to buy a print</p>

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    <h2>Olivia H.</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>I love this place & come here often. The food is served in huge portions for a very minimal price, and the cocktails are also very reasonably priced. The folks who are saying that newcomers are treated with suspicion are not wrong. It almost turned me off from coming back, but I am glad I powered through.</p>

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The Elixir Lounge

3452 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60657, USA

At Elixir Lounge, you’ll find a mix of traditional pub ambiance with a touch of sophistication. Serving hand-crafted cocktails, a variety of craft beer and premium wines, Elixir is a modern twist on the classic pub experience.

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    <h2>Mimi</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>This place is a more quiet and intimate location — the other bars around it are bustling and busier and louder, so this was a great choice to come into a more low-key establishment. Moreover, the staff are just phenomenal — genuine and friendly. Full cocktail program. Happy hour specials.</p>

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    <h2>Amit Patankar</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>Beautiful gem of a places in the middle of busy Boystown street with so many clubs around.\nI like Lounge like places with soft music than the ones with loud music and a lot going on. This one is perfect for that. Very classy ambiance, perfect for a cute date. They also had fresh flowers on the bar counter that added to the ambiance.\nThe bar tender was super super friendly and fun! The drinks were great too!! I’m visit here every time I visit Boystown now.</p>

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    <h2>Phillip Prass</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>The chill atmosphere and delicious drinks made for a good night with great conversations. The staff were approachable and knowledgeable. Will come back!</p>

    <a href="https://www.google.com/maps/contrib/109537699246681201866/reviews">View on Google Maps</a>

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The Closet

The Closet

3325 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60657, USA

This is a modern bar with an old soul. Combining nostalgic references with current fun, it invites night owls in for an evening of strong drinks and memorable moments.

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  <div class="review">

    <img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/a-/ACB-R5R4CIiv0GT065YRy7c51ZFajuVOe1O9PzHDk2Ulcw=s128-c0x00000000-cc-rp-mo" alt="Willow Waling's Profile Photo">

    <h2>Willow Waling</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>Come on a Thursday! Natasha curates a great dance playlist but the vibe is chill sit down or play darts. She is a great bartender and TJ is a sweet door guy, he will take a shot w you</p>

    <a href="https://www.google.com/maps/contrib/109699550717216083408/reviews">View on Google Maps</a>

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    <img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/a-/ACB-R5Rjft8r_OdsL3UveDKUcdMxrUTMxGtRfCHLuGHetQ=s128-c0x00000000-cc-rp-mo-ba6" alt="S H's Profile Photo">

    <h2>S H</h2>

    <p>Rating:5</p>

    <p>Came here while bar hopping with friends. This place is open later than some of the other nearby bars so we were able to easily walk over when some other spots had closed. The place seemed to be full of regulars. Everyone was really nice and there was good music.</p>

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