June 20, 2011

Boystown/North Halsted

It could have been known as
by 2020 the name 'QueerTown' was mentioned 
as a politically correct name change for Boystown
Boystown is one of the three neighborhoods within Lake View. 
The others are Wrigleyville, West Graceland, Southeast Ravenswood, and Lake View East
The Evolution of a Neighborhood
photo - Chicago Phoenix
2020 photo - Boystown on Facebook
According to a publication called Out and Proud in Chicago, one of the well known meeting places for gay folk at the turn of the 20th century was the Palmer House
‘The dance clubs and bars were the only place many gay people could be open about their sexuality without threat, he said. Some remained closeted in their public lives, letting go only inside the walls of Sam's or the Annex.
"And back then, frankly, the police and authorities didn't even want us to have that," Johnston said. "Anybody who worked at a gay bar in the '70s was at least once arrested at one time or another."
Bartenders were frequently arrested for delivering drinks across the bar in what was considered an illegal attempt between patrons to solicit sex. During elections, "we knew what was coming," Johnston said. To prove incumbents were "anti-pervert" and tough on crime, police would raid bars without warrants.’ - per DNAinfo article link above
The entrance to the Dil Pickle Club (1917-1935) was located at 10 Tooker Place just south of Washington Square Park off Dearborn Street in the Gold Coast. This secretive joint opened in 1917 and served as a speakeasy, cabaret, and theater that were visited by progressive (gay-friendly) thinkers of the day. For the purpose of this post a symbol of the past bias and the idea that no 'straight' person would every venture into this neighborhood or establishment if they did not have to or wanted to. And finally, read about the gay life in Chicago before Stonewall let alone Boystown.
arrested for a possible 'unnatural' act
View more photos in my Facebook album called
Same Sex Crime photos via Calumet412
and then in 1969
photo - Morning Delivery
The term “gay” would not be in wide currency until the 1940's and 1950's, except as code to the cognoscenti. Homosexuals themselves used the words “faggot,” “fairy,” & “queer,” or they sometimes called themselves “temperamental,” but the sociologists were not quite sure what term to use. As a result, they threw around words such as “indeterminate” and “third sex,” as well as the pejorative “degenerate.” 
article by Luncida Fleeson via Chicago Magazine
Weirdest, Coolest or Informative Fact 
of LGBTQ History: 
by Greg Baird
1- On this day in 1950: After months of controversy, the United States Senate authorizes a wide-ranging investigation of homosexuals “and other moral perverts” working in national government.
2- On this day in 1973: The Rocky Horror Picture Show (originally titled They Came from Denton High), opens at London’s experimental Theatre Upstairs, where it becomes such a hit that it soon has to be moved to a theater with a seating capacity eight times larger. The film version goes on to be an LGBTQ cult classic.
3- On this day in 1978: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rejects an application by Gaysweek magazine to register its name, claiming that it is “immoral.”
4- On this day in 1983: The first gay high school in the country, Philadelphia’s Byton High, holds graduation exercises for the class of ’83. The size of the graduating class: three males, one female. The school was started in 1982 for gay teens as an alternative to the public school system.
5- On this day in 2011: United States Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan affirms in a letter to educators that gay-straight alliances should be afforded the same rights and protections as any other student-initiated organization under the Equal Access Act.
6- On this day in 2011: The El Paso, Texas city council votes to restore health benefits to the non-married partners of city employees. The benefits had been stripped by a voter initiative in November 2010.
Why the Flag?
photo -  Gay Explained
photo - Huffington Post
photo - Clker Free Clip Board
A New More Inclusive Flag? 
The Community of Boystown
photo by Anthony Meade - 2012
Boystown  is a community within neighborhood of LakeView that once had the most concentration of LBGTQ folks in Chicago.  While the gay community has moved to other areas of the city like Lincoln Square, Buena Park, Edgewater and Rogers Park this Lake View community is still regarded as prominent hub of gay culture in the Midwest. Even today the community serves as a model for LBGTQ folks that wish to establish or sustain viable LGBTQ communities in other parts of the country if not the world.  
- International Maneo-Conference - held in Berlin in 2011
photo from Ebay
Once known as New Town, this small enclave hosted the first concentration of local gay owned and operated businesses and organizations in the city beginning in the 1970’s. 
A Perspective - Neoliberal by Evan Hague 
George Moore via Pictures of Chicago-Facebook
This article  above is about New Town known today as Lake View East.  The photo within the article are the shops along 3300 N Broadway that still has Windy City Sweets - known in 1983 as Windy City Fruit & Nuts. Notice the informal cafe settings. Melrose Restaurant (page 43-44) was a popular gay location for the after hour bar patrons.
Before Boystown 
there was New Town ...
New Town was this diverse uninhibited community that allowed all groups of folks to co-exist. The LGBTQ (gay) community would find its new home in Lake View from its humble beginnings to a pricey north-side neighborhood.
Business owners like Kathleen Thompson moved to Lake View and established a store called Pride & Prejudice the city's first feminist bookstore located at 3322 N. Halsted St. It later would became The Women's Center and in 1974 and was renamed the Lesbian Feminist Center. The Beckman House was a community center that opened in early 1974 at 3519 1/2 North Halsted Street. The Tavern Guild of Chicago began in the 1970's and created the Rodde Center in 1977.
It served as a model the city's next generation community centers once located at 3225 North Sheffield Avenue. The Rodde Center was the forerunner of Center on Halsted.
To continue to research and read about the history and the LBGTQ evolution in Chicago click on the following link (then the 'go' icon) and begin listening to historical narratives beginning with this modern activist pioneer and dear friend,
Tim Drake.
Chicago's Brave in 1970
photos from Sun-Times via Chicago History Museum
in Grant Park
The Threat was still not Understood in 1983

Gay Bashing in 1996
News of a Community Center

image - Out & Proud in Chicago
'Construction for the Center on Halsted building on Halsted and Waveland kicks off with a groundbreaking ceremony. Design grant for Green Building is awarded from Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. Center on Halsted is awarded grants from The Kresge Foundation of Troy, Michigan, totaling $950,000, including an $800,000 challenge grant. Career Development for Youth program is launched. Center on Halsted receives a $1 million capital campaign gift from philanthropist Miriam Hoover. U.S. Representative Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) announced that $1.25 million has been secured for construction of Center on Halsted from the Fiscal Year 2006 HUD appropriations bill. Center on Halsted relocates its offices to 2855 N. Lincoln Avenue following condemnation of the property at 961 W. Montana.'
- from the Center on Halsted history section
Currently, the Center on Halsted (video) located along North Halsted Street is now regarded by most as the spiritual anchor of not only Boystown but the LBGTQ community in Chicago. The center has been experiencing some growing pains since 2011 with a movement called 'Take Back Boystown' and issues of crime around and in the facility. Issues of crime from youth have have caused great concern and anguish to residents of the area of visitors. 
 photo - Lake View Patch
 photo - Lake View Patch
In 2008 The Center on Halsted was awarded
LEED Silver Certification several environmentally that included a few conscious features that included a garden rooftop and rain water collection basin.
image - East Lake View by Matt Nickerson
In 2011 there was a 'planned development' for the property that is next to the Old Town Hall building for friendly LBTGQ residents. It would be a development partnership with Heartland Housing Inc., and Center on Halsted.
In 2012 Chicago break ground on one of the first gay friendly affordable housing centers in America meant for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered seniors, and to some, seen as a new frontier in housing for low income LBGTQ seniors. It's called the Town Hall Apartments. The first attempt to foster a gay senior center was the White Crane Senior Center once located at 906 W Belmont organized by George Buse and Angela Van Patten in the late 1980's.

The new site will be next to the Old Town Hall police station

The Legacy Walk
the folks were contributed to society
An example of a typical marker above
The 'Marker' Map as of 2012
ready for installation - Lake View Patch photo 
In October 2012, a new addition to Halsted Street appeared along the sidewalks of Boystown sponsored by a group of gay historians and community leaders. They called it the
The Legacy Project. It's mission is to teach the community about the evolution of LBGTQ culture in Chicago. By 2019 a traveling museum was added to the project. 

The Legacy Project hosted a luncheon at Chicago's Palmer House Hilton on October 25th 2011 to commemorate LBGTQ History Month and launched the one-year drive for a permanent exhibit installation that will take place on October 11, 2012 on National Coming-Out Day.  
On that day The Legacy Walk became veritable outdoor museum located on one-half mile of North Halsted Street in Lake View that originally featured 18 plaques bearing a laser-cast image of an inductee along with a 300-word biographical paragraph.
the pylons - Lake View Patch photo
the pylons - Lake View Patch photo
the pylons - Lake View Patch photo

Legacy Walk Presentation Ceremony
October 11, 2012  
photo - Lake View Patch
photo - Lake View Patch
photo - Lake View Patch
 photo - Lake View Patch
 photo - Lake View Patch
photo - Lake View Patch
photo - Lake View Patch
the original pylon & locations - Lake View Patch photo 
 Located in front Old Town Hall Gay Senior
Apartments south of Whole Foods
This blogger volunteered to be a 'monitor' along side a structure that honored Nobel Prize recipient and co-founder of Hull House, Jane Addams. Ms. Hull had a partner-in-life named Ellen Gates Starr. My task was to unveil her at exactly 4 pm to the sidewalk traffic on Halsted Street along with my other co-volunteers. I was instructed to unveil her and did.
 'Coming Out Day' viewer
Landmarks' Status in 2019
 photos - Block Club Chicago
'The exhibit straddles the 44th and 46th Wards, and both Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) and Ald. James Cappleman (46th) have expressed support for the landmark designation. The unique pylons were installed under former Mayor Richard M. Daley as part of a series of streetscape projects across the city and “as a gesture of recognition of Chicago’s North Side LGBTQ community.” The statues were dedicated in 1998. 
Architecture firm DeStefano + Partners spearheaded the $3.2 million beautification project, which made national news as “the first time a city government officially recognized, and thereby legitimized, [an] LGBTQ community.” In 2012, the Legacy Project, a nonprofit organization, chose the rainbow pylons as the site for an exhibit focusing on LGBT history.'  
Some of Many along Halsted Street

'The Guardian Angel of Chicago's Gay Community'
Of course none of this could not have been possible if it was not the tireless efforts of a 25 year resident of Lake View - Pearl M. Hart. She lived at 2821 North Pine Grove Avenue between Surf and Diversey Parkway in Lake View East.
1998 images - Out & Proud in Chicago
In 2013 the US Supreme Court stroke down the 
federal law that restricted marriageA rally in Boystown was quickly organized that evening 
on Halsted Street and Roscoe.
 photo - Lake View Patch
  photo - Lake View Patch
 photo - Lake View Patch 
  photo - Lake View Patch
photo - Lake View Patch
photo - Lake View Patch
  photo - Lake View Patch
 photo - Lake View Patch
 photos from Greg Baird
Transgender Protest 2017
photos - WBEZ

photos - Jonathan Pizer

 The 7-11 parking lot, centered in the middle of Boystown, has been a meeting place of celebration and protest
Supporting our Own
Orlando: one year later ...
 article & photos - DNAinfo
 below scenes inside 'The Center on Halsted' theater
article and photos - DNAinfo

By Elizabeth Greenspan
August 8, 2014
Is Boystown becoming a 'state of mind' as much as a geo-political location for LBGTQ folks to live and work? Is the community of Boystown in crisis? Can this community 
weather the storm of this crisis? Is there room in this nation for another Boystown? Can our community share with West Hollywood, California the LGBTQ spiritual pride that is Boystown? In 2015 the community of Boystown in the neighborhood Lake View won a distinction for most 'walk-ability' ... among other attributes. In 2011 the NorthHalsted Business Alliance folks hired a private firm to assist the Old Town police force during special events. Also that year six private security officers called the  Pride Proud initiative, business owners along North Halsted Street have hired private security officers to patrol the neighborhood during weekends and outdoor events from North Halsted to Belmont Avenue to Irving Park Road on Friday and Saturday nights during holiday weekends and events specifically Pride Fest, Pride Parade in June and Northalsted Market Days in August.
The epicenter of the protests & demonstrations
The Home of The Pride Parade & Fest
Pride Fest - Lake View Patch photos
The Largest Concentration 
of Gay Bars in the City:
but before there was the Boystown ...
 there was Hubbard Street
Dugan's Bistro along with related article plus a 1970's photo
from Jonathan Billig via Forgotten Chicago on Facebook
Other bars of pre-Boystown era were the Sunday's Child, The Gold Coast, O'Bannions, The New Flight, The Back Door, and The Trip among others. Below is a list of gay bars as of 1974 many of which located in Lake View.
The Bars Moved North
These establishments moved into an environment in what was regarded as the most diverse community in Chicago from the late 1960's to the early 1980's. It was called NewTown. NewTown had its issues but this enclave of a community that is currently called Lake View East allowed the LGBTQ folks to find a less repressive area to call home. I remember when I moved to the area in 1992 the area near Halsted Street was regarded as the 'gay ghetto' due to the concentration of gay folk who felt safe among their own. 
This 2009 map
shows most of the bars in the hood at that time 
from Gay Chicago Magazine
Visit the bars of 1974 in Chicago that included Lake View's 'The Closet' on Broadway Avenue, 'Knight Out' & 'Annex' on Clark Street, 'Chez' on Lincoln Avenue, 'Boys at Sea' & 'Dickies' on Diversey, and 'Augies' on Halsted Street.
Bars not listed in the above link were 'Big Red's' & 'Piggens Pub' on Diversey Parkway, 'Broadway Limited' just south of Belmont on Broadway Avenue, 'Cheeks' on Clark Street in neighborhood of Lincoln Park just south of Diversey, 'Knight' Out on Clark north of Diversey, Shari's on the corner of Clark and Surf Street, and Paradise on Clark - briefly called Bistro II, same owners of original Bistro on Hubbard Street and a disco club called Crystal's Blinkers at 3153 N Broadway. 
image - Out & Proud in Chicago
Years later this bar would 'turn straight' with a country western theme. Little Jim's  was one of the first bars in the neighborhood by the late 1970's. As of 2015, this bar still had the old -fashion black glass windows that once symbolized social exclusion as well as sub-cultural privacy. 
Other bars like the 'Odyssey Bar' that opened at 3231 N Clark Street in November 1973, 'Other Side' at 3153 N Broadway was in September 1980; and the 'Orbit Room' at 3708 N Broadway in April 1986. Listen to the history of the bars on the north side from Chicago Gay History contributor David Boyer in the 1970's.
The Bars of Boystown:
X = in or near Boystown
in 1974
images - Out & Proud in Chicago
In 1987
By late 1970's the gay bars owners had discovered the 'promise land' from the diversity of the short-lived neighborhood of New Town in eastern Lake View along Broadway, Diversey, and Halsted Street with the establishment of bars. One of the those transitional establishments was Paradise once located on the west side of Broadway at 2848 N Broadway
 photo - John Swiatek via Chicagopedia-Facebook
below image - Tim Devore via Chicagopedia-Facebook 
According to Tom Kelley via LakeView Historical - "Paradise was quite the destination for in the early 80’s. Gay, New Wave, Punk, etc. it was an anything goes place and everything went. They had cages at the corners of the dance floor - for cage dancing of course. The neighborhood, NewTown was never dull back then. The bar was probably 4 or 5 times the size of Berlin and actually had a different vibe."
Paradise Island at 2848 N Broadway
photo - Lenny George Wilson-Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
"It was a giant bar/club on Broadway between Diversey & Surf. Where Marshall’s and all that is now. It was a deviously large building once you were indoors. It had bars that connected to other bars in endless rooms. And an even larger auditorium like room in the very back. They had different bands in different rooms." – David Zornig
"Phoenix was known as the Paradise Chicago after 1982, and was said to hold over 1500 dancers at 25,000 sq ft. Before the phoenix closed, it was Country & Western for a while. It had opened in 1975. Before that, it was Ski’s Lounge, Thumbs Up, and Poppy’s, and after the Paradise it closed from 1985-87, became the Phoenix again (ironically enough), Paramore, Chaplin’s Comedy Club (a 600 seat comedy club for about a month in 1991), and Noa Noa. The big room was a converted garage. In 1996 it was all torn down for the large retail and parking garage on the site; initially 16 General Cinemas screens were in this plan, but neighborhood opposition killed it". - Broan
Down the Street .....
Club Victoria at 3153 N Broadway 1980's
1985 photo - CWB Chicago
1983 image - Bitter Old Queen
Other bars included Si, Como No in 1975 located on Sheffield and Barry was a short-lived Latin bar when neighborhood was more diverse and the east part of town was called NewTown and there was Siegelman's Allegro at 2828 N. Clark located inside the Century Mall in 1979 according to a publication called Gay History: Chicago Whispers via Windy City Media Group
And Few More ....
The Showcase One was located at 959 W. Belmont Avenue as of 1985. The manager in the piano lounge was Todd Dayton, and the general manager in the dance bar was Scott Resch according to Chicago Pride.com. Another bar in the neighborhood was the Palace once located at 3401 N. Sheffield in the early 80's. To be researched is Carr's Halsted Street Cabaret that apparently was located at 3320 N Halsted Street next to Scarlet.
The Bars in 1994

According to Chicago Magazine both Little and Big Jim's is scheduled to close in mid-Summer 2019. 'The listing could signal yet another dramatic change for the eastern edge of Lake View, which has undergone a rapid transformation in the post-recession development boom. Despite housing Little Jim’s and its neighboring bar, Big Jim’s, the property, which spans 3501 to 3519 North Halsted Street and listed on April 29, is being marketed as vacant land.'
1980 ad image - 'Bitter Old Queen'
Was to be an Armory in 1914
page - East Lake View by Matt Nickerson
 photo - Bob Meyers
photos - Chicago Bar Project
A New Look for the Bar in 2017
 photos from their Facebook page
Little Jim's expanded in 2017 and called BIG Jim's
The Corner Bar(s) will Close in 2020
'After 45 years in business, the owners of Little Jim’s Tavern are retiring and selling the building at Halsted Street and Cornelia Avenue, ownership said. In early 2019, the building that houses Little Jim’s and other local businesses went up for sale with an asking price of $7.5 million according to
Chicago MagazineHoward Brown’s plans for the Little Jim’s site call for a new building that would provide primary care appointments, sexual and reproductive healthcare and behavioral health services, the LGBTQ focused health group said in a statement. The proposed building would include street-level retail space, though plans for the space have not been solidified, a source familiar with the plan said.'
 - Chicago Block Chicago
Little Jim's Replacement for 2020
Little Jim's was on the northeast corner of Halsted and Cornelia. This massive building will also replace a restaurant that was located off Halsted Street on Cornelia Avenue that had various names in the last 20 years one of which was Cornelia's Restaurant. Below photos of the original building.
 view from the corner 
and view southeast on Halsted
since 1978
photo - their website
1970's photo - Chicago Bar Project
page - East Lake View by Matt Nickerson
dog friendly
with a pin from the 1980's - Ebay
images - Ebay
“Avenue Tavern was the kind of bar where the younger gays would take their parents because they felt safe here and knew their parents would feel comfortable, too,” Camilleri said. “Everybody was welcome there.”  Camilleri opened Avenue Tavern 18 years ago as a sports bar for his alma mater, Michigan State University, and a safe space for LGBTQ people to hang out. – Block Club Chicago
Shackers on Clark 
and before that ...
and formerly known 
as Teddies,The Annex 3, & 3160 Piano Bar
Annex 3
A Pride Parade event one year
 bartender Jared Wood
Rene VanHulle & Rhodesia
Team players one year
5 photos - Dan Neniskis, contributor to 
LakeView Historical-Facebook
photo - Bob Meyers
photo - Lake View Patch 
1985 photos - Chicago Pride
Men in Skirts Show
image - via David Ehrlicher
1994 ad from New City Newspaper via David Ehrlicher
before the night club
Half the space was a shoe repair shop according to Dan Pappas while the other half was a hobby shop called Bentley's per David Syfcak, both contributors to my sister site called LakeView Historical-Facebook
noted for its vintage video gaming machines
below 2017 photo - Mark Liberson
the beer garden view
the precursor to Replay
2013 photo of last day
once an exclusive leather bar 
photo - Bob Meyers
for the cowboy/girl in you!
The dance club was closed 2012 and then reopened a year later. There were rumors of the West Hollywood bar called the Abbey Food & Bar wanted the then vacant space. 
the precursor to Progress Bar
photo below - Bob Meyers
and once called the Men's Room during the 1980's
photo below via Robert Zamora 1987
with live performers
 with their own unique vision of 'live entertainment'
photo - Bob Meyers
Since Thanksgiving Day 1989
referred by many as 'the shoe'
and apparently before that - Irene's Diamonds
photo - Lake View Patch 
zoomed photo - DNAinfo 
This entrance to the new Mini Bar was to be part of a 
planned development that failed when a neighborhood association and the ward alderman voted against it in 2013. 
(a precursor to Mini Bar)
photo - Bob Meyers
photo - Lake View Patch 
photo - Bob Meyers
Bobby Loves
formerly known as Big Red's 
photo - Bob Meyers
A Game of Rotating Chairs

photo - DNAinfo
"There's a bit of a complicated history for this site, so here's a primer. Boystown landmark Spin closed in May 2014, and new ownership came in and opened two neighboring joints: Chloe's and Whiskey Trust. After a few financially-trying months, Chloe's went away to make room in September for the second coming of the Manhole. The first Manhole closed in 2002 where Hydrate Night Club now stands down the street on Halsted. The newer Manhole and Whiskey Trust closed in December, as Spin's former owner, Dave Gassman once again gained control of the space on the corner." 
According to Chicago Pride.com the new bar called " Whiskey Trust would have had a pre-Victorian saloon-feel with craft cocktails and small plates food - occupy the south half of the 9,000-square-foot indoor space. Chloe's, a new nightclub with an entirely new sound system and lighting, will operate on the north end. The front of Whiskey Trust was to a tavern, with the back portion home to a live performance stage, private room and whiskey distilling learning center. Chloe's would have featured house music and artwork of gay street artist Homo Riot, injecting elements from popular gay clubs in the 80's and 90's."

photo - Bob Meyers
photo - Lake View Patch 
The two bars before Spin were Eon’s and then Foxy's 
After Spin's closure in 2014 ...
by Windy City Times
"We used to go to Berlin a lot, and Roscoe's, and Foxy's. Originally there was a bar there called Eons, where Spin is at now. I think there was a straight restaurant there at some point. Eons opened in early '92 and it was open for about a year and then it became Foxy's. I went to Eons all the time. It was a cross between Berlin and Roscoe's, they had a dancefloor and it was funky but it wasn't as Goth ... for lack of a better term ... than Berlin was. It also had the little ritzy bit of Roscoe's. A lot of Black guys hung out there, so I liked that!!" - Read more from the link in the title.
Manhole 2.0 
at 3208 N Halsted
the former Spin location

The original Manhole was an avant-garde nightclub located in the where HYDRATE currently operates since 2002. The original Manhole was created to honor the spirit of the former club and provide a dance space for those who may feel that they do not fit into other dance club scenes. This location of the current Manhole is located at the gateway to Boystown along with The Den, a pool and darts bar. 
The Den 
The latest concept to take over the former Spin nightclub space in Boystown (RIP Whiskey Trust, we barely knew ye) promises "the feel of a 1920s men’s social bar with prohibition era cocktails." Bathtub gin, gentlemen? - per Time Out Chicago. The bar closed Summer 2016. And then...
two restaurants under one roof
The Latest on the Corner
by DNAinfo
photos -  joannesellschicago
‘Two trendy food chains will replace a trio of shuttered clubs in Boystown, marking a big chance for the corner of Belmont and Halsted that has long been home to a series of gay bars. The two eateries will replace SEVEN Nightclub, The Den and Manhole, three bars catering to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities that opened at the corner in 2015. But the venue is likely best remembered as Spin Nightclub, which ran for more than 15 years before owner David Gassman put it up for sale in 2014. One month after Spin closed, new owner Jason Zilberbrand opened Whiskey Trust and '80's-inspired dance club Chloe's.

LKH Management, the team behind Boystown hotspots like Hydrate, Elixir and Replay, assumed management of the bar and nightclub at the end of August 2014 and rebranded Chloe's as Manhole. The original Manhole dance club was located at 3458 N. Halsted St. and closed in 2002, at which point LKH converted it to Hydrate.’ reports DNAinfo in 2017.
interior of the former Spin

Hydrate Night Club 
and before that the original ...
... and then before that until the early 90's
 images - Ebay
King Kong on the Roof ...
1990's photo below - Tom Hartman 
via Original Chicago-Facebook
photo - Lake View Patch 
text - Chicago Now via Bitter Old Queen
the original space 
- long and narrow space with beer box crates as seats
and currently known as the mega bar of Halsted Street

SideTracks celebrated 30 years in 2012
image - Sidetrack-Facebook
2016 image - Side Track Video Bar
photo - by Sukie De La Croix 
Sidetracks owners Art & Peppie - 1984
Listen to Art Johnston (co-owner) on his thoughts of that era
2016 photo - Windy City Times
Honored at the Chicago Historical Society's 22nd Annual 
Making History Awards for the contribution to the community
and in 2017 ...
Elixir Lounge 
and before that ...
photo - LakeView Patch
 know for its food and back beer garden space
photos above/below - Yelp!
and before that Voltaire
photos - Bob Meyers
1994 image - Gay Chicago Rewind
since 1988
alongside former alternative clothing store called Bad Boys
photos - Bob Meyers
2017 Pride Month photo - Wayne Johnson
photo - Lake View Patch 
photo via Jeffrey Nayman, Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
unknown year
photo - owner Jon-David
A fire destroyed the old building and lost its top floors in 2009
 Gentry-Lake View
the precursor to Scarlet
photo - Bob Meyers

The other bar was located 440 N. State currently called the Downtown Bar & Lounge
image - Chicago Pride Rewind
Some Advertisements of Past Bars
via Owen Keehen 

Advertisements from the 'Bitter Old Queen'
via Chicago Now

The Other Side
This bar had a short existence on 3153
1980 image - Gay Chicago Rewind
1979 image - Bitter Old Queen
1979 image - Bitter Old Queen
'Club Victoria' at 3153 N Broadway and before that ...
'The Other Side' then 'Crystal's Blinkers' 
all at the same location
1978 image - Gay Chicago Rewind 
1983 image - Chicago Gay Bars Past & Present
Club La Ray @ 3150 N Halsted
1986 image - Gridforce
Eon's to Foxy's to Spin
1993 image - Gay Chicago Rewind
image - David Ehrlicher
His n' Hers
1976 image - Bitter Old Queen
1987 image - Bitter Old Queen 
Christopher Street to Manhole at 3458 N Halsted
1988 image - Bitter Old Queen 
Dickies at 674 W Diversey Parkway
1981 image - Gay Chicago Rewind
Deeks at 3401 N Sheffield
image - Gay Chicago Rewind
Dandy's at 2632 N Halsted
1993 image - Gay Chicago Rewind
Broadway Limited at 3132 N Broadway
image - Gay Chicago Rewind
Trianon-Chicago at 3150 N Halsted
1986 image - Chicago Gay Bars Past & Present
Hi-Tops Cafe
3551 N Sheffield Avenue
image - David Ehrlicher
Bulldog Road at 2916 N Broadway
image - Bitter Old Queen
Darche's at 3725 N Broadway
1979 image - Chicago Gay Bars Past & Present
Normandy at 3400 N Clark Street
1985 image - Chicago Gay Bars Past & Present
Big Red's at 3019 N Clark Street
1983 image - Chicago Gay Bars Past & Present
The Lady Bug
a lesbian bar to Rick's Retreat?? at 3445 N Halsted
1979 image - Chicago Gay Bars Past & Present 
Buddies Restaurant & Bar at 3301 N Clark
image - Gay & Lesbian Hall of Fame
Ye Old Mill Lounge 
image - Windy City Rewind
Bushes at 3320 N Halsted
1979 image - Gay Chicago Rewind
The New Windy City Bar at 3127 N Clark
1989 image - Gay Chicago Rewind
The Private Gentlemen's Baths/Gym 
With its membership gym on the third floor
once known as 
Long before it was Steamworks the building was the home of another former bathhouse called the Unicorn Club with a third-floor gym called the Body Shop. The building was purchased in 1991 by Rick Stokes, who famously ran for district supervisor for the City of San Francisco against Harvey Milk in 1977. - TimeOut Chicago
The Ram Bookstore
known for its private rooms
image - Wisconsin's Escape Magazine
and the honorary gay friendly one!
2013 photo - Lake View Patch
 2013 photo - Lake View Patch
 2013 photo - Lake View Patch
2013 photo - Lake View Patch
Laura Ricketts - Lake View Patch 2013 photo
  2013 photo - Lake View Patch
 2013 photos - Lake View Patch
View from the Gay Bars
 photos - WBEZ

Art Johnston above to the far right 
and him below in 2019

The 'Gay' Press of Chicago
image - Out & Proud in Chicago
along with some sample pages ...
photos - Chicago Go Pride
image - Gay Chicago Rewind
image - Gay Chicago Rewind
This magazine informed bar-goers of what was, what and when and respectfully called "the gay bar rag"was The Gay Chicago Magazine 1976-2011. The other vintage publication is the Windy City Times since 1985. A fairly recent publication is Grab Magazine since 2009.
Gay Chicago Magazine 
In 2001 this magazine celebrated its 25th year in publication. I bought this issue from Ebay in 2016. 
The Only 'Straight Bar' on the Strip
The Town Hall Pub
This old school bar (retail in front with bar in back) has become an oddity in the middle of so called gay north Halsted Street. This bar was located the strip way back in 1969 - way before the gay bars on Halsted arrived....
photo - TimeOut Chicago

photo - Lake View Patch 
photo below - Lake View-Bars
Retail space is located on Halsted with the bar in the back
Carol's Speakeasy 1978-1992
photo - Chicago Crime Stories via Flickr
 still vacant as of 2016
 1981 advertisement
I entered this bar in 1986 and met who I would referred to as my 'gay parents' who taught me the 'safe culture' of sexual interaction with others in my community. They saved my life!
Thanks Jim & Tim!
a great reference book
The Boystown Book Store

Novels about Boystown
"One of the most diverse and lively neighborhoods in the country, Chicago's Boystown has something for everyone. So it's wonder that Jesse Morgan and Cole O'Brien chose to live there upon graduating from college. Ready to begin the next phase of their lives in an exciting new city, Jesse and Cole quickly find themselves at the center of a new group of friends. Joyelle and Derek Mancini have been happily married for years, but Derek is harboring a secret that could tear them apart. Derek's brother Emmett is about to discover that his boyfriend Keith Colgan has a past that will haunt them both. Long time couple Logan Pryce and Max Taylor must face a crisis that neither of them expected. And, before they realize it, Jesse and Cole find themselves at the center of it all in the adult playground known as Boystown." 
"The book became an international hit, with fans all over the globe clamoring for more. Boystown Season 2 was published in July of 2014. Season 3 was released on May 1, 2015, Season 4 was released on November 13, 2015, Season 5 was released on June 1, 2016, and Season 6 was released on December 16, 2016. Because of the popularity of the book series, fans have suggested that Boystown be turned into a television series. Biondi recently completed the TV scripts for the first season of Boystown and hopes to bring the series to television in the very near future." - Ebay
Synopsis 2015

"From neighborhoods as large as Chelsea or the Castro, to locales limited to a single club, like The Shamrock in Madison or Sidewinders in Albuquerque, gay areas are becoming normal. Straight people flood in. Gay people flee out. Scholars call this transformation assimilation and some argue that we gay and straight alike are becoming post gay. Jason Orne argues that rather than post gay, America is becoming post queer, losing the radical lessons of sex. In "Boystown," Orne takes readers on a detailed, lively journey through Chicago s Boystown, which serves as a model for gayborhoods around the country. The neighborhood, he argues, has become an entertainment district a gay Disneyland where people get lost in the magic of the night and where straight white women can go on safari. In their original form, though, gayborhoods like this one don t celebrate differences; they "create" them. By fostering a space outside the mainstream, gay spaces allow people to develop an alternative culture a queer culture that celebrates sex. Orne spent three years doing fieldwork in Boystown, searching for ways to ask new questions about the connective power of sex and about what it means to be not just gay, but "queer." The result is the striking "Boystown," illustrated throughout with street photography by Dylan Stuckey. In the dark backrooms of raunchy clubs where bachelorettes wouldn t dare tread, people are hooking up and forging naked intimacy. Orne is your tour guide to the "real" Boystown, then, where sex functions as a vital center and an antidote to assimilation." - Ebay
The Only Official LBGTQ+ Community 
in the U.S. 
hosted by the 
Ravenswood-Lake View Historical Association
Or is Boystown Losing its Popularity
Like Hubbard Street is no longer the center of LGBTQ community is Boystown losing its status to other neighborhoods in Chicago like Edgewater
above photo - Choose Chicago
The 50th Anniversary 
of Protest & Pride in 2019

 the photo gallery
 leaders of the community
 Aldermen James Cappleman 46th, Tom Tunney 44th, and Raymond Lopez of the 13th ward 
owners of Roscoe Tavern and Sidetrack
and a few happy folks
Prepping for the Crosswalks
Gregg Moreland via Pictures of Chicago-Facebook
and below .... 
Ron Erday's smartphone via Chicagopedia-Facebook
Racial Overtones in 2019
the year of the 50th anniversary of Chicago Pride Parades
'DJ's are no longer welcome to play rap songs at Boystown’s Progress Bar — and the new policy is being called racist by critics according to Block Club Chicago. The bar is located at 3359 N Halsted is a gay nightclub that frequently hosts DJ's and dance parties and was known for its diversity of music. But on Wednesday night an email from the bar leaked, showing Progress Bar was now banning DJ's from playing rap music. “This is f-ing racist as f-ck,” one person wrote on Twitter. “Progress is frequented by [people of color] and banning rap is basically saying ‘f- you’ to these patrons"' 
‘Some [members of the LGBTQ community] are calling for a boycott of vintage clothing and costume store Beatnix,[located on Roscoe & Halsted,] after its owner called the police on two customers who found a Confederate flag vest for sale among its merchandise and complained to the owner. “Being an African American, especially having grown up in the Deep South, this vest was jarring to me,” Byrd said. “We’ve been in Beatnix many times and always thought it was a place that’s comfortable and safe for all people.”’
'The activists started organizing against racism in Boystown shortly after a tumultuous Memorial Day weekend highlighting racism in the neighborhood. In one incident, owner of the popular vintage and costume store Beatnix called the police on a black customer who found it was selling a Confederate flag vest. Later that week, Progress Bar came under fire for attempting to implement a ban on rap music. Progress’ rap music ban was quickly reversed, and bar owner Justin Romme agreed to a series of demands issued by the activists. According to a July 1 Windy City Times Report, the demands include anti-racist trainings, anti-racist security policies, a sign declaring the business’ commitment to racial justice, direct investment in the black LGBTQ community, and a public statement accounting for the incident.'

COVID-19 Pandemic 2020

 a WTTW Report

 Mayor Lori Lightfoot have keep her citizens safe
while adding some comic relief via gif's & photoshop's
 GIF's above and a photoshop below
and by the way the Pride Parade this year has been canceled due to the virus
June 2020

Name Change?
marketing it with a different name
photo - Enjoy Chicago 
article - Chicago Tribune

Now called Two Differecnt Names
and then on June 1st

Re-Opening Old 'Boystown'
June 1, 2021
More Inclusion is Wanted
June 2021

Post Notes: 
ALSO ...
View a complete list of Chicago bars per a site called Gay Cities as of 2015. View a list of Chicago bars as of 1987 as well as more pictures of bars listed in this post. 
View and listen to a video highlighting some of the bars on the strip as of 2014. Read and view about the Pride Parades located in Boystown and the bars along the strip. And finally, to research that 1970's to 80's time period google-up with the key words 'Chicago Gay Rewind'. 

Important Note:
These posts are exclusively used for educational purposes. I do not wish to gain monetary profit from this blog nor should anyone else without permission for the original source - thanks!

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