Windy City LGBT Nightlife: The Best Chicago Gay Bars

Because of its blue-collar roots, Chicago is well known for its thriving sports scene and low-key dining specialties like deep-dish pizza. Surprisingly, Chicago is also home to a vibrant gay and lesbian community that has helped create some of the best LGBT-friendly bars and nightclubs in the country. Many of the best Chicago gay bars are located in the city’s famous Boystown neighborhood, but you’ll find great gay nightlife hot-spots scattered around the rest of the town as well. Here are some of the most popular gay bars and clubs in Chicago today.

Little Jim’s Tavern

Little Jim’s Tavern was the first gay bar to open in Chicago’s Boystown neighborhood, and it remains a popular destination today. More a friendly neighborhood watering hole than a hip nightclub, Little Jim’s serves up affordable, delicious beers and cocktails well into the night–they’re open til 4 o’clock in the morning or later. Little Jim’s also features friendly bartenders and nightly drink specials.

The Cell Block

If you’re in the mood for nightlife that’s a little more exciting, try The Cell Block. Fun and festive, this club offers many different activities like game nights, Wii competitions and themed parties. They also offer free pool and darts on certain evenings as well as great drink specials like $4 top-shelf cocktails. The Cell Block’s bartenders are friendly, fun and well known in the North Halstead area.


In the mood to shake your hips? Try Berlin, a dance-centered Chicago gay club that’s been around since the 1980’s. Berlin features fun throwback themes like disco nights and Prince tributes. While the club is primarily for LGBT’s, it’s come-one-come-all attitude makes it a popular destination for fun-loving straight folks as well. The best part? The drinks here are very affordable for a dance club–an average cocktail will only set you back around $5.

Crew Bar and Grill

Chicago wouldn’t be complete without a gay-centered sports bar. Crew Bar and Grill broadcasts all the important football, baseball and hockey games while serving up affordable, delicious pub-grub to munch on. The bar also features over 40 beers on tap and a multitude of televisions so nobody misses a second of their favorite sporting event.

The Windy City has a surprisingly vibrant and well-established gay nightlife scene. Whether you’re in the mood for a beer and a burger or want to dance the night away, Chicago has a LGBT-friendly spot to suit your mood.