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Chicago’s best gay parties in Boystown and beyond

The best gay party won’t necessarily be found at a gay bar. These queer-friendly nights are among the city’s best LGBTQ nightlife.

Photograph: Erik Kommer
Queen

Sure, the Boystown strip is nearly always bustling, and Andersonville has its share of worthy LGBTQ attractions. But those hotspots hardly reflect the full diversity of Chicago’s gay party scene. Many of the city’s best LGBTQ good times can be found not just at Chicago’s best gay bars but at queer-leaning weekly or monthly parties at bars far removed from Halsted Street. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite regularly recurring nights including a polysexual dance-off, a queer night at an arcade bar and yes, even a few options in Boystown.

RECOMMENDED: Complete guide to Gay Pride Chicago

Best LGBT nights in Chicago

1

Slo ’Mo

At this polysexual Logan Square dance-off, party purveyor Kristen Kaza and DJ Audio Jack drop the needle on love-drenched classics by Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Prince and the queen of lovers’ rock, Sade.

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The Whistler , Logan Square Thursday March 15 2018 - Thursday June 21 2018
2

Fabitat

This all-inclusive LGBTQ night that started at Double Door’s Door No. 3 is now at Beauty Bar, featuring 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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Beauty Bar , River West/West Town Wednesday February 28 2018 - Wednesday June 27 2018
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3

Off Chances

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

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Danny's Tavern , Bucktown Tuesday March 13 2018 - Tuesday December 11 2018
4

FKA

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 since 2008. It's worth getting there early, or else risk getting stuck in a line running down the block.

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Big Chicks , Uptown Friday March 9 2018 - Friday August 10 2018
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5

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 , Logan Square Wednesday February 21 2018 - Wednesday December 19 2018
6

Queen!

The greatest house institution in town, Queen! is the electronic musical equivalent of “the Bean.” If you are in Chicago and you consider yourself a dance-music fan, you owe it to yourself to witness Derrick Carter, Michael Serafini and Garrett David spin grooves deeper than our stupid pizza.

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Smart Bar , Wrigleyville Until Sunday August 26 2018
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8

Duro

This biweekly nocturnal Latinx and LGBTQ gathering is always filled with clever decorations, dancing queens and underground Latin club music from resident DJ [X]P. It also serves Jarritos cocktails.

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Berlin , Lake View Wednesday February 28 2018 - Wednesday January 23 2019
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9

Night Names

Set a new high score at this arcade bar’s monthly queer night. Guests can take advantage of free pinball (make sure you take a turn on the classic Star Wars and PIN·BOT tables), enjoy bar specials or bust a move in the back room with resident DJ Essential Logic.

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Logan Arcade , Logan Square Friday March 2 2018 - Friday December 7 2018
10

Stardust

Berlin has Thursday nights on lock like NBC in the ’90s. This fab long-running weekly brings many flavors, many styles, from disco to house to new-wave. Check the calendar to find out what’s happening this week, with parties ranging from the the women- and nonbinary-focused party Rosebud to queer-fashion showcase IT Presents.

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Berlin , Lake View Thursday February 22 2018 - Thursday December 27 2018
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11

MadonnaRama

It’s a huge lovefest set to the music and videos of Madonna that somehow manages the hysteria of a live show. And if you think there’s a gayer night on the town somewhere else, newsflash: There isn’t. Get into the groove every first Sunday of the month.

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Berlin , Lake View Sunday March 4 2018 - Sunday January 6 2019
12

Woof Wednesday

Unleash your inhibitions and harness your gear fetish as Halsted's most mainstream bar slaps on some leather every first Wednesday of the month.

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Sidetrack , Boystown Wednesday March 7 2018 - Wednesday June 6 2018
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13

Showtunes at Sidetrack

It may not be a dance party, but it's a hell of a sing-along. Sidetrack's thrice-weekly sessions of videos from Broadway and Hollywood musicals—Sundays from 4 to 9pm, Mondays from 8pm to close and Fridays from 5 to 9pm—are among the longest running attractions in Boystown. At Musical Mondays, you can often find cast members from visiting touring musicals and local productions present to perform previews of their shows.

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Sidetrack , Boystown Until Friday June 29 2018

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