Chicago's Boystown is one of the liveliest spots in the entire city and is among the largest LGBT communities in the country. and happens to be carved out of the highly-desirable Lakeview neighborhood, an area known for its bustling nightlife. Much like the mantra of its inhabitants “we're here and we're queer,” Boystown tells you all you need to know by greeting you with rows of rainbows pylons on the sidewalks, a gift from the city to let Chicago's gay population know they are welcome. Besides all the clubs, bars, and restaurants, Boys own is also dotted by dozens of other curiosities including head shops, video game stores, and comic book shops. You can't help but think they must be doing something right.
In the heart of Boystown is Roscoe's Tavern, and it is enough to satisfy anyone’s craving for something wild. It's tough to say if it's the atmosphere Roscoe's, opening in 1987, has created in its mission to “encourage self expression and creativity” or that they make a point to fit as much booze as possible into their drinks, whatever it may be your inhibitions will die at the doors.
Roscoe's is divided into several sections, including a large outdoor patio that becomes absolutely packed on warm nights. The main attraction though is Roscoe's dance floor. After a pitcher of Long Island Iced Tea (Yes, they sell that by the pitcher here.) you will lose yourself in the flashing lights, bumping bass, and the sea of bodies shaking and grinding. Whatever the case may be Roscoe's has made sure to allot enough room for the patrons to go crazy.
Be sure to check out Roscoe's event calendar they host a variety of events ranging from fetish shows, to wet boxer contests, and karaoke. They also host a number of different bands and DJs. So if you wanna go insane or tame your game (That phrase has just been coined here today. You are witnessing history!) it's up to you.
It's important to remember Pride Month isn't just all about clubs, partying, and dancing. The LGBT community have had a long struggle and it's only been fairly recently that they have been able to form these kinds of communities openly. During Gay Pride Month it's important to remember the trailblazers, the ones that took the risks of telling the rest of us that they're here, they're queer ,and we all just better get used to it.
Far outside of Boystown in Edgewater, is a historic landmark of LGBT history, The Granville Anvil (their website is still under construction) is the oldest gay bar in Chicago. The Granville Anvil is a far cry from Roscoe's. It's really more of a dive, and while the 20-somethings are bumping fists and booties to club music at Roscoe's, Granville has a slightly older crowd that huddles around the bar. With its large old style sign hanging outside the door above the street, its mirrored walls, and old wrap around bar, The Granville Anvil is a bit grittier and a bit more old-timey but it's still an incredibly friendly atmosphere with reasonably priced drinks. It's a gay man's man bar.
The Granville Anvil doesn’t have a calender of crazy events, but remember boys will be boys so they do get up to some mischief. For instance, you might walk in and find x-rated films playing on all the TV screens, but this is a trend that seems to be getting more and more popular even with hetero-bars, so most people should be used to it by now. There are also stripper poles at either end of the bar so what happens with those is really up to you! In short, The Granville Anvil is a great place if you're older or you have a curiosity about a piece of living gay history.
Gay Pride Month in Chicago is a time marked by celebrations, festivals, and outfits you never would have thought existed. Sometimes they may be unflattering and your first thought might be, “that person really shouldn't wear that.” Then you get that little Linus voice inside your head that reminds you what Gay Pride Month is really about, and it's about more than supporting the LGTB community, it's about accepting not only yourself for who you are, but accepting others for who they are as well, and sometimes that might mean wearing assless chaps with a top hat. So when you're celebrating remember it's still a struggle being a homosexual but Chicago is one town where a community came together in the face of adversity and effectively conquered it. So lets clink our glasses to our gay brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, cousins, second cousins, brother-in-laws, mailmen, nephews, nieces, bus drivers, etc.
Roscoe's Tavern is located at 3356 N. Halsted Street, Chicago, IL 60657
The Granville Anvil is located at 1137 W. Granville Avenue, Chicago, IL 60660