Good people, smooth drinks, and a great atmosphere. What could be better during the summer in Chicago? Not much, by our standards. Being Pride month, there’s no better time to celebrate at and support the many locally owned gay bars throughout the entire city of Chicago. From local dives to sports bars, casual spots to clubs, we’re taking a closer look at the best gay bars throughout the city, what makes them the perfect places to celebrate Pride 2022, and any and all of the fun activities they have going on this June!
157 E Ohio St #2, Chicago, IL 60611
Picture in Email, Credit “April Speaks to Dogs” – GMB pic?
First up on our Tour-de-Chicago-Gay-Bars is Second Story Bar. This tucked-away bar sits near the corner of Ohio and St. Clair St, and is a classic, cash-only dive bar. Instead of blaringly loud music and flashing lights, you’ll find stiff drinks, a quaint space, and a small crowd that’s perfect for making friendly conversation. As we inch our way back to normalcy this summer, the best way to start celebrating Pride is by meeting some new friends over a classic cocktail, and your new go-to place for that will be Second Story.
5024 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60640
Not only is Big Chicks an iconic Chicago gay bar, but it’s absolutley loaded with history. The original bar that was in place of Big Chicks dated back to 1944, and was historically filled with straight men with hard exteriors. After a few coats of paint, some art, and TLC to the original patrons, owner Michelle Fire (electric name, BTW) turned Big Chicks into what it is today: a place for “men and men, women and women, and men and women” (source). That being said, you don’t to be gay, or conform to one sexual identity for that matter, to go out and have the time of your life at Big Chicks.
3356 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60657
To most of Chicago, Roscoe’s Tavern is the OG gay bar. Dating back to the late 80’s Roscoe’s has evolved from a small spot, only occupying one half of a store front, to what it is now: an eclectic corner bar with huge open windows, a gorgeous patio for perfect summer days, and a regular host of some of the city’s best drag shows. Not only is the atmosphere lively, but the classic cocktails will have you buzzing too (literally). On this drink menu, you’ll find blueberry mojitos, prickly pear margaritas, and their signature River Deep, Mountain Highball made with Roscoe’s very own hyper-chilled, “ultra carbonated” club soda. You’ll be sipping and celebrating all night.
3349 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60657
Sidetrack. Is. Huge. With that said, how does partying with 1,000 of your closest friends sound? Sign me up. Sidetrack, located in Northalsted, has a story that encompasses the meaning of truly creating a safe place for everyone to simply have a good time. Spanning eight store fronts, Sidetrack has multiple bars and even a rooftop deck to enjoy good vibes and good times with friends. This June, they’re also celebrating their 40th Anniversary, and you can catch this party on the 16th and 17th!
3733 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60613
Craft beers, pool tables, and sports on all the TVs? Yep, we’re talking about the North End. This sports bar is the perfect place to stop in for a drink, a game, and another disappointing Bears season. One of the best things about the North End is that while there is a full drink menu, you can BYOF (bring your own food)! At the North End, you’ll find daily drink specials and an LGTBQ+ friendly and safe atmosphere to bring the city together on the one thing everyone can agree on: how disappointing Chicago sports are.
4923 N Clark St 1st floor, Chicago, IL 60640
If you’re around Andersonville this Pride month, be sure to check out the SoFo Tap. This certified bear bar has everything you need for a sunny summer afternoon-turned-night- TouchTunes, a roomy patio to soak up the sun, and an expansive drink menu with daily specials like tangy signature margaritas and Big Ass long islands for $5!!). If you’re looking for some activities other than drinking, SoFo Tap hosts weekly trivia, doggy days so you can include your furry friend the next time you head out for the afternoon, and Bearaoke, which just sounds like a better version of karaoke, in my opinion.
5355 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640
I’m fully convinced that Atmosphere is one of the best party spots in the city. Stripper bingo, Trivia Tuesdays, and theme nights (count me in for 80’s night) make the ambience consistently full of energy. The best nights of the week, though, to head out to Atmosphere are Fridays and Saturdays, when the enticing male dancers entertain and elevate the crowds from 10 PM to 1 AM. Sip on a delicious cocktail, grab a few shots, and wear some durable shoes because one trip to Atmosphere will have you dancing the night away and asking yourself, “why the hell haven’t I been here before?”.
Featured Image Credit: Second Story Bar