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Where Do You Get Your Gay Bar On?

By Joseph Erbentraut in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 3, 2010 5:20PM

Photo by really boring
Though we're not usually one to turn down a chance to show a little hometown pride, we must admit some of us were left scratching our heads at recent news that Roscoe's Tavern has been selected as a finalist in the Top Five Gay Bars in the World competition by TripOutGayTravel.

Sure, Roscoe's is a generally safe bet for out-of-town visitors of the gay or gay-curious persuasion looking to wiggle and writhe to remixes of Top 40 jams - and their pink lemonade-vodka pitchers are the cheapest, most direct route to extreme inebriation available in the 'hood, if that's your thing - but is this really the best Chicago has to offer?

In a city bursting at the seems with queertastic drinking establishments, we wanted to give a shout to a few of our favorite gay bars, worth giving a shot the next time you're looking for somewhere to take your lesbian cousin or favorite closeted politician.

  • Big Chicks (5024 N. Sheridan) was selected as a favorite by several in our crew. While this Uptown spot's dance floor is sure-fire bumping on the weekends, it is perhaps some of its weeknight events that help set it apart. The bar hosts a raucous monthly trans-friendly party called FKA that's one of the city's best queer events (pictured above), not to mention its weekly "Bear Den" happy hour, quarterly South Asian-geared Jai Ho party and a delicious, free (with drink purchase) buffet every Sunday afternoon.
  • Berlin Nightclub (954 W. Belmont) is another sure-fire hit for anyone who enjoys a good beat and is looking for some late-night entertainment - the bar is open well past 2 a.m. on weekends. The music here is a bit more "indie"-inclined and its promoters attract a slew of quirky guest performers to its Stardust party every Thursday. Its other events, including a Madonnarama every first Sunday, also veer off-beat. Case in point: Mark your calendars for the Polar Music Party, Bj√∂rk vs. Robyn, on Friday, Sept. 17.
  • Crew Bar & Grill (4804 N. Broadway) provides a bit more of a laid-back, sports bar vibe to its patrons with its expansive menu of bar bites and tasty beverages, including a delicious sangria. This nightspot also takes full advantage of its plethora of big-screen televisions in ways that non-sports fans can also enjoy via weekly Project Runway viewings and major events including the presidential debates. Also look to their sister bar, Wild Pug, just a few doors down for acoustic music nights every Tuesday and a number of other events.
  • Also worth mentioning are the Kit Kat Lounge (3700 N. Halsted), known for their martini-intensive menu, the intimately-lit, intricately Asian-inspired Wang's (3317 N. Broadway) and Scarlet (3320 N. Halsted) whose Thursday night "frat parties" come complete with beer pong and $5 Miller Lite forties.

Now we turn to you. What are some of your favorite gay watering holes in the city?

Thanks to all of the staff here at Chicagoist, whose drinking habits made this post possible.