Somewhere over the rainbow, troubles melt like lemon drops (the drink, that is) and boys and girls can revel in sexually unapologetic fun. From Boys Town to Uptown, the Loop to Lakeview and from the Near West Side to the Near North side, here are some top places where happy little bluebirds fly way up high.
The Call Video & Dance Bar
1547 W Bryn Mawr
Chicago, IL 60660
Music videos, a decent dance floor, a sweet staff, drink specials seven nights a week and very entertaining karaoke are just a few things that make The Call amazing. Nightly themes mean you can hit up the Andersonville bar twice in a week and have a different kind of fun. There are drag shows on the third Saturday of every month; nights your pooch can accompany you; a once-per-month night devoted completely to Kylie Minogue; and yet another that’s all about Britney.
3356 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60657
If you’re a local or visitor to Chicago and want to dance, Roscoe’s is not to be missed. There’s the front bar where you can engage in conversation over a cocktail, other nooks and crannies and then there’s best and biggest dance floor on Halsted Street with bass booming through your body, strobe lights messing with your neurons and mini-stages where one can showcase moves. Karaoke nights feature a live band and more than a few virtuoso performances. There’s also a cafe to refuel and the outdoor smoking area is enclosed, a nice touch. The Original Amateur Drag Contest has been entertaining at Roscoe’s since 2000 and the cast of “Drag Race” stops on tour here every year.
Sidetrack The Video Bar
3349 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60657
The most well-known bar on the Boys Town strip, Sidetrack is the place Mayor Rahm Emanuel stopped for a photo op after the gay marriage bill was passed in the Illinois General Assembly. That popularity means standing-room crowds, but people keep returning for fun theme nights like show tunes or comedy nights, videos, no cover, rooftop garden and the alcohol-laced slushies. The fact that your shoes don’t stick to the floor is a testament to the club’s cleanliness. The bar gets involved in plenty of charity, too, like the “Bigger Every Year” Boystown Santa Speedo Run benefiting community centers and issues.
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Kit Kat Lounge and Supper Club
3700 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60613
Established in 2000, Kit Kat is owned by life partners Edward Gisiger and Ramesh Ariyanayakam who aim to create an environment that bridges the gap between the straight and LGBT communities. Of course, there are Kit Kat’s legendary divas who perform seven nights a week, as well as during brunch service on Sunday. What sets it apart may be the impressive upscale American cuisine by executive chef Joann Witherell, along with hundreds of creative cocktails and martinis by mixologist Dan Suvanto. Kit Kat recalls the legendary New York nightclubs of the 40s and 50s (think Copacabana and the Tropicana) with its inventive drinks, themes and menu.
Second Story Bar
157 E. Ohio St., Suite 2
Chicago, IL 60611
Second Story Bar has no flash, dance floor, diva shows or frankly much else except a cozy bar that’s known for a robust pour. Its unlikely, tucked-away spot on the Gold Coast (above an Armenian restaurant) makes it a little hard to find, but regulars agree that once you discover Second Story Bar, it’s on your list permanently. The crowd is generally a little older (30 and up) which makes sense because it’s in the midst of countless office buildings and no one is trying to win an award for “most dashing.”
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Jacky Runice has been a columnist with the Daily Herald Chicago since grunge music and flannel was the new black. Her fingers and gray matter have been busy as travel editor of Reunions Magazine; penning a column that was syndicated around the nation via Tribune Media Services. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.