Gay nightlife: Chicago's best gay parties in Boystown and beyond

The best gay nightlife isn't necessarily found at gay bars. These queer-friendly nights are where the party's at.

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Sure, the Boystown strip's nearly always bustling. But it rarely reflects the full diversity of Chicago's gay nightlife scene. Many of the city's best LGBT good times can be found at queer-leaning weekly or monthly parties at bars far removed from Halsted Street. We've listed some of our favorite regularly recurring nights here (including, yes, a couple in Boystown); in addition, keep an eye out for occasional, irregularly scheduled parties like the Bollywood-flavored Jai Ho! nights at Big Chicks, thrown by queer South Asian group Trikone-Chicago.

Chances Dances

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Accept no substitutes. This mega-inclusive party kicked off a renaissance in indie queer nightlife and is still thriving nearly a decade later. Always free, always fun.

  1. Subterranean 2011 W North Ave, at Damen and Milwaukee Aves
  2. Mon Aug 18 - Mon Jul 20
More info

FKA

  • Critics choice
  • Free

We don't know if they're painting smiles on people's faces at the door or if they're mixing something into the booze, but everyone seems to be in a good mood at this energetic and inclusive queer party that's been going strong for seven years now.

  1. Big Chicks 5024 N Sheridan Rd, between Argyle St and Carmen Ave
  2. Thu Aug 7 - Thu Jun 4
More info

Slo 'Mo

  • Free

At this polysexual Logan Square dance-off, party purveyor Kristen Kaza and DJ Tess drop the needle on love-drenched classics by Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Prince and the queen of lovers' rock, Sade. Slo 'Mo relocates beginning May 2014 to Slippery Slope, the new spot from the Scofflaw folks.

  1. Slippery Slope 2357 N Milwaukee Ave
  2. Thu Aug 21 - Thu Jun 18
More info

Burly

  • Free

Burliness is optional at this night for bearded boys, funky folk and all other queers and allies. Burly's resident DJs spin punk, disco and new wave galore.

  1. The Burlington 3425 W Fullerton Ave, between Kimball and St Louis Aves
  2. Wed Aug 20 - Wed Dec 16
More info

Chances Dances at the Hideout

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

It's a night of out-of-the-way gay as the influential, inclusive queer dance party branches out to the Hideout for more sweaty and ecstatic good times.

  1. Hideout 1354 W Wabansia Ave, between Willow and Ada Sts
  2. Sat Aug 2 - Sat Jun 6
More info

Off Chances

  • Critics choice
  • Free

If you like your gays in skinny jeans, queer heaven awaits at this offshoot of Chances Dances, with the same inclusive spirit as its sib but a more conversational vibe.

  1. Danny's Tavern 1951 W Dickens Ave, between Damen and Winchester Aves
  2. Tue Aug 12 - Tue Jun 9
More info

1LLUM1NAUGHT¥: The Queer Dance Conspiracy

  • Critics choice

Party promoters the Lesbifriends Cartel invade Boystown for this monthly queer co-ed dance-off, with beats from DJs Allthewaykay and Swaguerrilla.

  1. Progress Bar 3359 N Halsted St, Roscoe St
  2. Until Thu Mar 5
More info

Not Safe For Wallflowers

Get #NSFW at this all-inclusive monthly queer dance party put together by the LesbiFriends Cartel at the Shrine's Coup d'Etat lounge.

  1. The Shrine 2109 S Wabash Ave
  2. Sat Aug 9 - Sat Dec 13
More info

Potencia

  • Free

Potent punches punch up the potential at this still-new Pilsen party for queers and friends of all types.

  1. Punch House 1227 W 18th St
  2. Mon Aug 4 - Mon Jun 1
More info

Soft Leather

  • Free

The queering of Logan Square continues with this new monthly party at East Room.

  1. East Room 2828 W Medill Ave, Milwaukee Ave
  2. Sun Aug 17 - Sun Jun 21
More info

Fabitat

  • Critics choice
  • Free

This all-inclusive LGBTQ night at Double Door's Door No. 3 features live music, drag performances and DJ sets. It's one of the most promising new alt-queer party outposts in town.

  1. Door No. 3 1572 N Milwaukee Ave, North Ave and Milwaukee Ave
  2. Wed Aug 13 - Wed Jul 8
More info


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