Credit: Bill Roundy for Chicago Reader

Celebrate how far we’ve come and brace yourself for the work to be done by enjoying libations and liberation at some of these Chicago gems:


954 W. Belmont

Welcoming everyone since 1983, Berlin is an inclusive venue for dancing, drinking, and drag.

Big Chicks

5024 N. Sheridan

Visit Big Chicks for Sunday brunch and some mimosas to cure those Saturday night-induced hangovers, or drop by late at night for a raucous time. 

Bobby Loves

3729 N. Halsted

A longtime Boystown—ehrm, Northalsted—staple, this neighborhood watering hole never disappoints. 

Cell Block

3702 N. Halsted

A kinky, cruisy bar with no dress code—explore the back bar at your own risk.

Club Escape

1530 E. 75th

Longtime South Shore staple for LGBTQ+ cocktail lounging and drag shows.


3548 N. Halsted

The best DJs ply their trade for your dancing enjoyment late into the night. 

Jackhammer (reopening summer 2022)

6406 N. Clark

Not for the faint of heart. Jackhammer bills itself accurately as Chicago’s leather and fetish lounge. Welcoming and friendly, Jackhammer is a quintessential leather bar at the heart of Chicago’s community. The Hole at Jackhammer is more than a little cruisy; this is a play place for Chicago’s kink scene.

Jeffery Pub

7041 S. Jeffery

A neighborhood institution in South Shore since the 1960s, this community-focused bar serves up drinks, community, viewing parties, and DJs in a convivial environment that welcomes multiple generations of LGBTQ+ Chicagoans.


2229 S. Michigan

Offering a prix fixe menu and a la carte drinks, Lips delivers on drag dining. Every meal is a party, and you cannot leave without your sides hurting from laughter.

Nobody’s Darling

1744 W. Balmoral

Offering exquisite cocktails in a glamorous, sexy space, Nobody’s Darling is a treasured addition to the neighborhood.

North End

3733 N. Halsted

A mustn’t miss, friendly sports bar, serving the gayborhood since 1983.

Progress Bar

3359 N. Halsted

Offering a fun time and an incredible light sculpture, Progress Bar is a modern gay bar fit for flirting, fun, and more.

Second Story Bar

157 E. Ohio 


An old-school, cash-only hideaway on the second floor above an Armenian restaurant that has served downtown patrons and friendly regulars since the 80s.


3349 N. Halsted

Spanning several buildings, it’s easy to get lost as you attempt to find your groove—though the programming and $6 well drinks more than make up for the ever-growing bar. 


3339 N. Halsted

Keep up on Drag Race at Splash Social on Friday night, featuring lots of fun and a $25 package for unlimited food and drink. 


6412 N. Clark

Around since 1977, Touché has shared its living history as one of the country’s premier cruisy leather bars.


Where the bars are

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In The Pride Issue