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Chicago has a vibrant gay bar scene, and has for decades. Much of it is clustered around a half-mile stretch of North Halsted Street and Broadway in East Lakeview, long known as Boystown. The gay bar culture started there with Little Jim’s in 1975, and followed over the next decade by many bars now long since gone and others, like Sidetrack and the North End, that have survived for decades. These days, Boystown is still a prominent gay playground, but queer-courting bars have spread into many other neighborhoods—and the definition of “gay bar” has greatly expanded, too. From dance clubs to dive bars to sports bars, there’s an LGBTQ-oriented watering hole in Chicago to fit every interest. These are some of our favorites.
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