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.
Queen
Photograph: Erik Kommer Queen
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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.

Best LGBT nights in Chicago

1
Slo ’Mo
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Nightlife, Alternative nightlife

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.

2
Fabitat
LGBT

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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offchances-singles
Photograph: Damien Thompson
LGBT

Off Chances

icon-location-pin Danny's Tavern, Bucktown
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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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Photograph: Nako Okubo
LGBT

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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Photograph: Andrew Leon Hensley
LGBT

Burly

icon-location-pin The Burlington, Logan Square
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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.

6
Queen
Photograph: Erik Kommer
Nightlife, Alternative nightlife

Queen!

icon-location-pin Smart Bar, Wrigleyville
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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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Nightlife, Alternative nightlife

Duro

icon-location-pin Berlin, Lake View
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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.

8
Stardust
Photograph: Kater Jayne
Nightlife, Alternative nightlife

Stardust

icon-location-pin Berlin, Lake View
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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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Nightlife

Night Moves

icon-location-pin Danny's Tavern, Bucktown
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Get down to the sounds of disco, house, funk and soul at this monthly “queer friendly and dance positive” party at Danny’s Tavern, where resident DJs Ross Kelly and Jesse Sandwich spin vinyl gems from the ’70s and ’80s.

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Clubs

MadonnaRama

icon-location-pin Berlin, Lake View
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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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LGBT

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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