Photograph: Taylor Castle
Best gay bars in Chicago: Downtown Bar
River North

It’s not Gentry (R.I.P., catty piano player cracking jokes about our ugly shoes), but are we complaining? No. Because not only does this place attract one of the more diverse gay crowds in the city, but it’s also the closest gay enclave to the Loop.

Venue name: Downtown
Address: 440 N State St

Cross street: between Hubbard and Illinois Sts
Opening hours: Mon–Fri 3pm–2am; Sat 3pm–3am; Sun 3pm–2am
Transport: El stop: Red to Grand. Bus: 29, 36, 65.
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