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.

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' pick

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.

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Subterranean Monday March 16 2015 - Monday July 20 2015 Free

FKA

Critics' pick

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.

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Big Chicks Friday March 13 2015 - Friday December 11 2015 Free

Slo 'Mo

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.

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Slippery Slope Thursday March 19 2015 - Thursday June 18 2015 Free

Burly

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.

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The Burlington Wednesday March 18 2015 - Wednesday December 16 2015 Free

Chances Dances at the Hideout

Critics' pick

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.

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Hideout Saturday March 7 2015 - Saturday June 6 2015

Off Chances

Critics' pick

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.

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Danny's Tavern Tuesday March 10 2015 - Tuesday June 9 2015 Free

Potencia

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

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Punch House Monday April 6 2015 - Monday June 1 2015 Free

Soft Leather

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

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East Room Sunday March 15 2015 - Sunday June 21 2015 Free

Fabitat

Critics' pick

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.

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Door No. 3 Wednesday March 11 2015 - Wednesday July 8 2015 Free

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