Whether or not you’re a “Dancing Queen,” you’ll be a “Slave to the Rhythm” and singing, “I Love the Nightlife” at any of these LGBT friendly establishments. Sip a cocktail and sashay on the dance floor or stand coyly in the corner and meet new friends. Make your own kind of music in any of these venues that welcome the community with open arms. Explore more options here.
1137 W. Granville Ave.
Chicago, IL 60660
Said to be Chicago’s oldest gay bar, the Anvil is deliciously divey with hale and hearty drinks and a backyard patio area that’s a welcome warmer-weather gathering spot. It’s the kind of place Charles Nelson Reilly and Paul Lynde might’ve hooked up in, in the 1960s (Google them if you don’t know ’em). Monday drinks are an easy $1.50 all day (talk about 1960’s prices), but regulars rave about the affordability of the alcohol here every day of the week. The Granville Anvil is the precise opposite of pretentious.
5024 N. Sheridan Road
Chicago, IL 60640
Big Chicks is an uptown favorite with bartenders that are cheap with neither the pours nor the smiles. Every night is special here: for example, on Mondays, burgers are a buck; Tuesdays snag $3.50 well vodka cocktails and discounts on vegetarian treats; Thursdays it’s Bear Night and a dance party accompanied by $2.50 PBR cans; and you can’t beat an indoor picnic with free barbecue. Dancing doesn’t stop on Friday and Saturday nights and check the website for DJs and giveaways.
5400 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60640
Mary’s Attic offers a comfortable, diverse crowd atmosphere, generously poured cocktails at affordable prices and DJ’s that know how to enliven the night. Karaoke nights (Wednesday and Sunday) lift the spirits even more and a small stage hosts clever cabaret acts and theatrical performances. Mary’s dining room downstairs serves delicious half-pound burgers, sandwiches, small and big plates and you can even tote your drink upstairs for the show or just to hang out.
3458 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60657
Located in Boystown, Hydrate can be the Disneyland of the neighborhood, especially when lots of girlfriends attend Saturday night’s “Beauties and Beaus” show, featuring “drag superstars and hot men of Halsted.” Otherwise, the bar serves robust drinks – especially on “Sunday Funday,” beginning at 2 p.m.- and its colossal fishbowl cocktails. Other weekly events include DJ retro ’80s night; drag shows with drink specials; and $2 drinks on Mondays when the place quiets down a tad.
5758 W. 65th St.
Chicago, IL 60638
We gotta give the south side some love, too, and Innexile is the place to stop in before or after your flight at Midway Airport. The outside leaves a lot to be desired, however, inside the bar you’ll meet friendly staff, reasonably priced yet sturdy cocktails, male dancers on Friday nights and a karaoke night that provides a lot of laughs. Innexile proves that good things can come in small packages.
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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.