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Chicago Gay Bars

Plenty of gay bars and clubs are scattered across the queer neighbourhoods of Chicago. Each area has its own unique vibe and draws its own crowd, from the low-key style of drinks in Boystown to the loud and proud nightlife of Uptown. You'll find historic bars, modern live music venues, hubs for drag, and a wide range of live music of different genres. Parties and festivals are done big in Chicago as well, so whether you're looking for a sophisticated hangout with friends or you want to party late to live music, there's something for you in this city.

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Atmosphere

Dancing, Go-go Boys

Atmosphere is an upscale gay dive bar in Andersonville filled with neon lights and male go-go dancers. You can dance the night away on the dance floor, take advantage of regular drinks specials, and of course admire the dancers! Drag shows, DJs, and events like stripper bingo make for some lively nights with a mixed crowd.
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Berlin

Dancing, Drag

Berlin is Lake View's critically acclaimed, pan-cultural, late night music & performance art club features an eclectic mix of alternative electronic music and video, plus frequent theme and artist feature events. This unique venue on the gay scene draws an eclectic crowd, with everyone from queens to party kids and performers. Every night is a packed party full of glitter and amazing music in the super popular Berlin.
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Big Chicks

Dancing, Food

Big Chicks offers great food, great drinks, and great people. There's no attitude at this laid-back Uptown gay bar, which attracts people of all genders and ages. The bar is always crowded on weekends with live DJs at the weekends, but despite this, Big Chicks tends to be a more low-key destination that other bars in the area. Offers on food and drink, including $1 burgers every Monday, keep people coming back throughout the week to this community hub.
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Bobby Love's

Pub Vibes

Bobby Love's is a gay karaoke bar in Boystown. During the day it's a neighbourhood bar that's home to loyal regulars enjoying a variety of specials that are on offer throughout the week. People pack into this tiny bar, especially on the weekends, to sing karaoke fuelled by strong drinks but throughout the week the jukebox is always playing great music as well.
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Cell Block

Older Crowd, Fetish

Cell Block is Boystown's premier leather and fetish gay club. The main front bar has a dance floor where anyone can let go and have fun with a casual leather dress code. If you're more of a serious leather fan, the back bar opens on Friday and Saturday nights for some more mature fun. This space has a strict leather dress code and hosts events catering to multiple fetishes such as monthly puppy patrol parties.
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Granville Anvil

Cosy

The Granville Anvil is a dimly lit and manly bar that draws a small community crowd particularly on weekends. There are no frills, just a good old fashioned gay pub with faded basement vibes that appeals to those who want a simple beer with down to earth people and none of the fuss that you might find elsewhere on the gay scene.
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Hydrate Nightclub

Dancing

Hydrate Nightclub is Chicago's premiere destination for shows, music, dancing, and the best late-night party in the city. It's quickly developed a reputation for the best DJ's in Chicago and a powerful sound and light experience. High energy music accompanies drag acts, dance parties, and a lot of hot guys dancing on the bar, creating an atmosphere that makes Hydrate a staple on the scene. It's loud, it's proud, and it'll keep you entertained well into the next morning.
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Jeffery Pub

Cocktails

Jeffery Pub is a classic south-side institution that caters to a mixed crowd. Pitchers of brightly coloured cocktails along with lively music from a range of genres make a vibrant and fun space for parties or getting together with friends for a night out. The atmosphere is always welcoming thanks to friendly patrons and staff, so people keep coming back for great value happy hours and nights of dancing.
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Kit Kat Lounge

Cocktails, Gay Friendly, Drag

The Kit Kat Lounge and Supper Club is a premier destination for every type of occasion and every demographic. An imaginative and extensive cocktail list coupled with upscale contemporary cuisine makes for a super stylish night in even more stylish surroundings. Entertainment is provided by world famous drag queens, and Kit Kat Lounge is known across the country as a destination for a memorable meal and night out.
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Lucky Horseshoe Lounge

Go-go Boys

Lucky Horseshoe Lounge in Boystown is open seven nights a week for plenty of go-go boys dancing on stages throughout the venue. This enduring male strip club also has more fully clothed bartenders serving relatively inexpensive drinks, and there are plenty of places to sit back and enjoy the show. The interior is nothing fancy but the dancers are the main attraction, drawing a mixed aged male crowd.
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Manhandler Saloon

Older Crowd, Outdoor Seating, Cruising

Manhandler Saloon is the place to go in Lincoln Park if you want a good cocktail as well as a crowd full of leathermen. This neighbourhood dive bar offers a quieter outdoor seating area while inside the jukebox plays great classic tunes and an exclusively male crowd can relax and have fun. Having been a staple in the area for many years, guys keep coming back to Manhandler Saloon for cheap drinks and cheap thrills surrounded by friendly people.
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Mary's Attic

Sports, Drag

Hamburger Mary's is a classy-kitsch joint in the eclectic Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago. They serve up some of the best burgers in town along with tasty home-brewed ales. You can enjoy lunch in Mary's Dining Room or spend a cosy afternoon watching the game next door in Mary's Rec Room. Upstairs is Mary's Attic the party continues into the night, with regular entertainment ranging from cabaret shows to weekend DJs and karaoke.
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Meeting House Tavern

Drag

Meeting House Tavern is Andersonville's newest and most unique entertainment experience. This space offers multiple types of entertainment along with a rotating selection of cocktails, nightly drinks specials and regular themed nights. Alongside traditional pub and arcade games, Meeting House also offers a range of board games and video entertainment. Large communal tables and lounge spaces allow for big groups to hang out and play their favourite games or just have a drink with bar snacks and pizza.
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Progress Bar Chicago

Cocktails

Progress Bar is a relatively new entry on the Boystown scene, and at the heart of the space is a cloud-like overhead sculpture installation made up of thousands of twinkling lights. Not only is this bar perfect for artsy photos, but it also boasts an enviable selection of craft beers on tap, pouring local brews alongside imaginative cocktails. Mixed crowds gather in the low-lit, rustic-industrial setting complete with two bars and a dance floor.
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Roscoe's Tavern

Cocktails, Outdoor Seating, Drag

Roscoe's Tavern in the heart of Boystown has been a leader of Chicago's nightlife and entertainment scene for over 30 years. It's a friendly neighbourhood bar where people of all identities come together and catch up over pool or a drink in the lovely outdoor spaces. Super friendly staff create a safe space for everyone to let go and have a great night of dancing, good food, and cocktails.
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Scarlet Bar

Dancing

Scarlet Bar has always been known at the place to drink, dance, laugh and have a great time. It has evolved to have quite the reputation, and always prides itself on the diversity of both its staff and customers. Scarlet Bar hosts legendary nights such as Frat Night, Liquid Brunch, and Monster Rave so there is always something going on here for those who want to party at a community favourite.
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Second Story Bar

Cash Only

As the name suggests, Second Story Bar is hidden away above a restaurant in the River North area of Chicago. This bar is dark and divey with an old school charm that has remained untouched by the upscale modernity of the street below. Inside a sketchy looking unmarked entrance, you'll find a perfectly friendly bar serving cheap drinks to a soundtrack of camp dance classics. This is a true hidden gem and a unique venue among its modern neighbours.
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Sidetrack

Bear, Cocktails

Sidetrack is the biggest and one of the most popular gay bars in Chicago. It's a video bar with a large lounge, multiple fully stocked bars, and a rooftop deck (which is great for people watching) and attracts a mixed but slightly older gay crowd. Themed events range from dance and lip-sync parties to a Tony Awards Viewing Night, so no matter what kind of night you enjoy, you can have a great time here complete with legendary slushy cocktails.
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Splash Chicago

Dancing, Drag

Splash is a new venue for nightlife in the heart of Boystown that serves a diverse and ever changing crowd. Splash provides different spaces to suit different tastes, from a vibrant bar and dance floor to the more elegant and comfortable lounges. Live DJs and drag shows provide great entertainment throughout the week with friendly staff and a great crowd to top it off.
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The Bird Cage

Dancing, Drag

The Bird Cage is Chicago's newest Queer bar, with bold and alternative style complete with a bondage themed feature wall. The stage is the focal point of the venue and overlooks the dance floor where everyone is encouraged to let their hair down in a space that's proudly body positive and exceptionally inclusive. The stage hosts drag queens and burlesque shows, while DJs play show tunes and the bar serves delicious cocktails.
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The Call

Dancing, Drag

Reported Closed. Weekends at The Call offer high-energy tunes for those who want to dance the night away, but there's room to relax in the corner with a beer if that's more your style. Different nights attract different crowds, such as the Monday industry nights and Curtains Up show-tunes every Wednesday. Cocktails and good classic pub food are popular with everyone, and the entertainment is first class.
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The Closet

Lesbian

A staple video bar in the Boystown community, The Closet walls have been a second home to many since 1978. The Closet is a great place to kick back with friends or meet new people, whether you're looking to relax after work, or kick start your night. The Closet attracts a mostly lesbian crowd who pack the small bar and create a super friendly atmosphere, so all identities are welcome for dancing, games, and karaoke.
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The North End

Sports

The North End is a long-running gay sports bar in Boystown that provides a laidback and unpretentious atmosphere. There are plenty of drinks specials to keep you in the moon as you watch whatever sports are on the TV or have a friendly game of pool or darts with the new friends you'll inevitably make. This is a classic sports bar at heart with a modern and stylish twist that suits the local gay community.
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The SoFo Tap

Pub Vibes, Outdoor Seating

The SoFo Tap is your classic neighbourhood bar where you can enjoy a game of darts, hang out in the dog friendly beer garden, play your favourite song on the jukebox or check out the videos on flat screen TVs. Friendly staff are always on hand to pour your favourite drink and make you feel at home. The laid-back atmosphere lets you relax and feel part of the community of regulars.
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Touche

Bear, Older Crowd, Fetish, Cruising

Touche is one of Chicago's few surviving gay bars that caters specifically to the leather community. Plenty of themed events are on offer here, specific to leathermen, bears, and more. Touche has a neighbourhood bar vibe with draught beers on tap, pool table, darts, and pinball machines, but it also offers a less traditional back room where you can spend time with the leathermen you just met...

Recommended gay friendly hotels in Chicago

There are some fantastic hotel choices for LGBTQ+ travellers to Chicago, Illinois, with many gay friendly hotels. Choose whether you'd rather stay near the Boystown queer neighbourhood, convenient of the nightlife, or stay in the centre of the city where most of the attractions are located. GayMapper has great hotel deals across Chicago, Illinois, check out our gay friendly recommendations below. You can support GayMapper by checking out our hotel deals as this helps us to keep the site updated with all this useful information!

Tours & Experiences in Chicago

Make the most of your travels by pre-booking our popular tours and experiences.  There's a whole range of options, from cultural and historical to food, drink and nightlife.  Get under the skin of your destination, and book a tour or experience now.  

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