Chicago!

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    Jun 03, 2009 10:54 PM GMT
    So in a couple of weeks I'll be spending an evening in Chicago. The friend that I'm going with has a wedding to attend that evening, so I'll pretty much be up to my own devices. Now, I've been to Chicago a number of times, but never really explored Chicago's gay side or too much of the "off the beaten path" Chicago. So I'm asking for a couple of things:

    1) What are some good gay bars to check out?
    2) Is there anything you know of that's off the beaten path, or somewhere unusual and out of the ordinary that I should check out?
    3) Is it ridiculously insane of me to consider riding my bike around Chicago?
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    Jun 04, 2009 12:41 PM GMT
    Anyone? Anyone?
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    Jun 04, 2009 12:47 PM GMT
    I've been to Chicago twice this month and really love it.

    1) For gay bars the scene is great. I like to start at Sidetrack and after it closes go to Hydrate.

    2) In the morning for your hangover breakfast, checkout local favorite restaurant Ann Sathers. There is one on Broadway, but the original is on Belmont, not far from Boyztown.

    3) Get a bike and follow the path along the lake. It is really beautiful and the hot guys are always out with the sunshine.

    Have fun!
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    Jun 04, 2009 3:19 PM GMT
    Chicago is split into seventy seven official neighborhoods. The predominately gay area is located in Lakeview. People who live outside of the area generally call it Boystown (to my annoyance). Don't get confused when people give you several different names for the same area!

    My favorite bar in the area is Sidetrack. It has a great mixture of people and has really become the "it" place to be. All the bars are located within the same three or four blocks so you can easily hop from one another and explore.

    While you are in Chicago you should check out the Chicago Art Institute, they just opened up the modern wing and it is quite fantastic. For something a little bit more out of the mainstream, there is the Garfield Park Conservatory which is free and quite amazing to explore.

    Hope this helps!
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    Jun 04, 2009 3:36 PM GMT
    I called it Boystown when I lived there.
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    Jun 04, 2009 3:54 PM GMT
    MrJames saidChicago is split into seventy seven official neighborhoods. The predominately gay area is located in Lakeview. People who live outside of the area generally call it Boystown (to my annoyance). Don't get confused when people give you several different names for the same area!

    My favorite bar in the area is Sidetrack. It has a great mixture of people and has really become the "it" place to be. All the bars are located within the same three or four blocks so you can easily hop from one another and explore.

    While you are in Chicago you should check out the Chicago Art Institute, they just opened up the modern wing and it is quite fantastic. For something a little bit more out of the mainstream, there is the Garfield Park Conservatory which is free and quite amazing to explore.

    Hope this helps!


    Well, its called Boystown cause.... that's what its called.

    1) Sidetracks is definitely a must, its pretty much the melting pot of the gay bars.... if you're there for the weekend, then go to the side bar on Friday or Saturday (the bar with red lights hanging over it, as you come in go straight and its on your right) Todd, and meet your twin. He is an awesome bartender named Todd (and his burlesque name is HotToddy ;P ). Tell him little Zach, with the butt, sent you, and tip him well! They have outdoor stuff going on up stairs and a porch area by the front. If you don't like the bar crowded, get there before 11-12. Cocktail is fun sometimes if there's a hot guy dancing. Minibar has some hot bartenders. Spin and Roscoes have a cover after 12 on the weekends (not sure if its EVERY weekend) so you might wanna check those out before then, but Sidetracks is really the big bar in Chicago. And if you're really out past 2... Charlies is the after hours bar... though I wouldn't really go there unless you're look for something (haha and they have a cover too)

    2. GO to a CUBS game ;) if they're in town when you're there, though I couldn't tell you what the tickets are like. But yeah, the Art Institute, Millennium Park... its funny I don't really know the off the beaten path stuff to do, in my own damn town! Do go to Lou Malnati's or someplace to get some deep dish pizza. Its really the best pie you'll ever have. If you like the greasy stuff, theres actually a decent place call the Pie Hole (right next to Cocktail, which is on Roscoe and Halsted). Don't forget to visit the world class bathhouses too! (Or not...) Oh and there's this place in Pilsen (Mexican neighborhood on like 1800 S Damen or something) called Nuevo Leon. You have to bring your own alcohol, but very good mexican!

    3. I would ride your bike all along the lake front. Its not crazy to consider riding your bike around, just be sure you know where you're going and how far it is....
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    Jun 04, 2009 4:47 PM GMT
    RowBuddy saidMore "Off the beaten path" stuff

    Crew: A gay bar with a sports theme in Uptown just off the Foster red line stop . Bar food, sports, and trivia nights.

    Wild(e) Pug: It was WILDE Pug, till the nasty restaurant Wilde threatened a lawsuit. Losers. Anyhow, its a small bar, with a dark, fireside like atmosphere. Nice bartenders and barbacks. A lot of guys start off the night there before going to Boistown.

    Both these bars are right next to Green Mill.

    http://www.greenmilljazz.com/





    Forgot those ;) Yep, Crew and Wild Pug are ones to see too.... though I've only been to both, once
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    Jun 04, 2009 4:51 PM GMT
    Wow, I think RowBuddy covered most of it well.

    I love Sidetrack, I think we all agree that it's the best.

    Minibar just opened a whole new section, basically doubling it's size. It's really amazing, it gets a bad rep for being pretentious but I have never had a bad experience there. I don't know that I'd wear Abercrombie there (sorry RowBuddy, I'm not hatin'...just sayin').

    One 'non-gay' but pretty gay thing I like to do is have pre-drinks at the W Hotel (City Center not the Lakeshore one). It's really chic and is a great way to start the night.

    Really, though, if you start at Sidetrack and follow the crowd...they'll take you where you need to go to be in on the action.

    Try eating at Kit Kat: www.kitkatchicago.com/ It's a cute place that plays old movies on the walls, has drag performers entertaining the diners and good food/drinks.

    Chicago is a majorly bike friendly city. Definitely, definitely plan on riding your bike. Look up some bike paths and city tours that you can do on your bike.

    Hope this helps. Let me know when you're in town and if I'm out and about I'll say hi!



  • danisnotstr8

    Posts: 2579

    Jun 04, 2009 5:19 PM GMT
    I say check out Andersonville. It's a cool area, super-gay, but in my opinion a little more grown-up than boystown. There are 5 (or so) gay bars on the strip there, many of which may get a mix of some straights... but that, in my opinion, makes it more fun.

    Cool shopping there, too!
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    Jun 04, 2009 11:00 PM GMT
    Thanks guys for the great bar input! I'll definitely have to check some of those places out.

    As far as off the beaten path type stuff, keep it coming!

    And as far as biking goes, I don't mean like leisurely along the bike path riding. I mean hardcore riding through the streets as my primary means of transport riding. Is anyone a cycling commuter in Chicago?
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    Jun 04, 2009 11:24 PM GMT
    To expand a bit more: My bike is my general mode of transportation around Columbus. Distances up to about 15 miles are fair game, though if it is at the long end, I will need a shower or a change before I do what I need to do. Most of the places I go are within 5ish miles.

    I'll be in Chicago probably Thursday (and definitely Friday) night. Thursday night I'll probably be exploring/wandering with my straight friend, but Friday night he's got a wedding so I'll be on my own all afternoon/evening/night. So my plan was (I'll be staying a few blocks from Watertower Place) to simply hop on my bike and see where it takes me. As I've never been to Boystown, I thought I'd check it out, but certainly don't want to limit myself to the gayborhood. I've been to most of the usual things.... Wrigley for the Cubs, Millennium Park, museums aplenty, all the stuff that people go to Chicago to do. What do Chicago locals do? Any fun summer activities that go down in the city? Parties in parks? Local music? Ect.

    Now, as far as bars and whatnot go: a word of caution: This is my standard attire:

    86123_357045.jpg

    And, while I've gone pretty much everywhere in Columbus, including some of their nicer restaurants and the swankier bars, dressed appropriately, I've also worn something similar to that, so I've never much held with that whole "dress to impress" bullshit. So while I personally don't care how I look, I definitely appreciate the input on where I can go that I'd actually enjoy. It seems the Crombie Zombies are an endemic of the gay population, and can deal with them accordingly, keeping things more relaxed is definitely a pretty clutch factor.
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    Jun 14, 2009 4:53 AM GMT
    Well thanks for all the advice and tips guys! If anyone would like to meet up/have a drink with me next weekend, let me know. I'm pretty awesome.
  • jlly_rnchr

    Posts: 1759

    Jun 14, 2009 1:51 PM GMT
    Chicago is one of the best cities to visit. I've gone twice this year, and each time I come out of my shell a little bit more.

    I've been to three gay bars there. Roscoe's, Cocktail, and Minibar. Roscoe's was surprisingly low key and not loud, but that was on a week night, so maybe that was why. Cocktail was fun, very cute dancers, and lots of older gay men buying me and my friends shots. I remember very little about Minibar. Those bars can fill up pretty fast, and then you have to wait. Maybe that was exclusive to the Sunday before Memorial Day, because everyone was off, but just be careful about that if it's all the time.

    If you're looking to just kill time or get some exercise, I would take a walk/jog down to the Lincoln Park Zoo. It's free.

    Also, there's a cozy little breakfast/brunch restaurant that is really good, it's called Orange. They have orange-flavored coffee and "fruishi". I can't remember where it is (near Wrigleyville maybe?), but try it out.
  • adidas0783

    Posts: 290

    Aug 20, 2010 12:46 AM GMT
    pdx_traveler saidI've been to Chicago twice this month and really love it.

    1) For gay bars the scene is great. I like to start at Sidetrack and after it closes go to Hydrate.

    2) In the morning for your hangover breakfast, checkout local favorite restaurant Ann Sathers. There is one on Broadway, but the original is on Belmont, not far from Boyztown.

    3) Get a bike and follow the path along the lake. It is really beautiful and the hot guys are always out with the sunshine.

    Have fun!


    Could not agree with you more! The breakfast at Ann Sathers is epic.