The Closet – The Best Gay Bar in Chicago

Make your way to the Windy City for some Chicago-style hot dogs, Chicago-style pizza, and Chicago-style gay bars! Boystown in West Lakeview continues to be a thriving gayborhood characterized by LGBTQ residents, businesses, and nightlife. If you fancy watching a game at a gay sports bar, watching drag queens lip-syncing your favorite songs, indulging in a karaoke adventure with the sisters, getting woofy with the bears, getting your leather on, or dancing among a sea of twinks, Chicago’s got you covered.

The Closet Bar in Chicago is an unpretentious video bar staple that has been around since long before video bars became popular. Gay men and lesbians mingle delightfully at The Closet over a game of darts, and the bar hosts a king show and a monthly drag queen spectrum. Although The Closet Bar attracts a predominantly lesbian and gay crowd, everyone is welcome. The small gay bar located in Boystown has been serving locals and non-locals since 1978. It is a longtime fixture on Broadway and a proud component of the gay history in Chicago.

During the 70s when The Closet Bar was launched, gay bars were where members of the LGBT community went to meet similar people, feel like themselves, find lovers and make friends. The Closet Bar offered a space where gay men and lesbians could party, drink, flirt, and not have to worry about harassment or code-switching for the comfort of straight people. During the 80s and 90s when AIDS was at an all-time high in the United States, gay bars such as The Closet Bar in Chicago were where gay men and lesbians could hang out following ACT-UP meetings, gather for memorials, organize around healthcare and politics, and create performances and art. In other words, it was a safe haven where queer folks made meaning. And this is how it had been for decades.

Following the Second World War, gay bars were the only place a person could reliably find other folks from the LGBT community since they were the place where LGBT folks could gather in public legally. Some of the early cases of civil rights were about gay people being served alcohol and drinking in public. So when gay pubs were introduced, they became an instant hit with the LGBT community.

The Closet Bar in Chicago is the perfect place if you are seeking an intimate or serene atmosphere. The tiny little bar opens from Monday through Friday from 4 pm to 4 am, on Saturdays from 1 pm to 5 am, and on Sundays from 12 pm to 4 am. Game nights and karaoke nights are some of the adventures that await you when you visit The Closet Bar.

The name of this staple video bar speaks volumes to the size of this decades-old, cash-only drinking joint in Boystown. The name of this popular Boystown bar is derived from the fact that the space is about the size of a closet. Well, okay perhaps a big Gold Coast walk-in closet. However, you will not be bothered by size when you visit this welcoming bar. Although The Closet is one of the smallest bars around the area, you’ll be surprised by how cozy and friendly things can get with perfect strangers when you visit the establishment and have a few drinks.