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The Ultimate Guide To LGBTQ-Owned Businesses In Chicago

Chicago is home to dozens of LGBTQ-owned businesses that serve the community year-round.

Angela Barnes and Renauda Riddle, the owners of Andersonville cocktail bar Nobody's Darling.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — One way to support the LGBTQ community during Pride Month and beyond is by supporting businesses owned by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer.

There are dozens of LGBTQ-owned businesses across Chicago, ranging from entertainment and nightlife to food, boutiques and more.

Block Club rounded up more than 50 LGBTQ-owned businesses across Chicago’s North, South and West sides.

This list is not exhaustive. If you know an LGBTQ-owned business we should include, email reporter Jake Wittich at Jake@blockclubchi.org.

Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
James Cox and Ryann Ibasco, owners of Chicago Sugar Daddy.

Food

Chicago Sugar Daddy: This Lakeview sweets shop, which opened in October, offers everything from traditional cakes, brownies, truffles and cupcakes to savory options like breads. 3243 N. Broadway.

Drew’s on Halsted: This Lakeview restaurant has served American classics with an extensive cocktail bar since it opened in 1996. 3201 N. Halsted St.

D.S. Tequila Company: This full-service Tex-Mex restaurant and bar pairs its signature margaritas and house tequila drinks with tavern digs. 3352 N. Halsted St.

Jennivee’s Bakery: Jennivee’s Bakery was founded by Jenni Vee, a home baker who emigrated from the Philippines with a lifelong dream to open her own patisserie. The shop offers various cakes by the slice, cupcakes, cookies, brownies and other pastries. 3301 N. Sheffield Ave.

Lady Gregory’s Irish Bar & Restaurant: In the heart of Andersonville, Lady Gregory’s is an Irish gastro pub with a menu full of Irish-inspired foods and more than 300 whiskeys. 5260 N. Clark St.

Milky Milky Ice CreamJojo Ybe founded Milky Milky after buying an ice cream maker on a whim in 2019, which later fostered her pandemic project of creating her own small-batch and hand-packed ice cream.

Radical Joy Bakery: Radical Joy Bakery is a pastry studio specializing in painted, botanical cakes and pastries. The business is owned by V, a cake and pastry artist who’s a queer, second-generation, Vietnamese femme.

R Public House: R Public House is a community-oriented restaurant and bar owned by long-time Rogers Parker Renee Labrana. 1508 W. Jarvis Ave.

SferaThis local farmers market staple known for its arancini recently opened a brick-and-mortar restaurant in Edgewater. Sfera specializes in Sicilian street food and is open for breakfast and lunch. 5759 N. Broadway

Split-Rail: Split-Rail is an American comfort food restaurant that offers everything from fried chicken to cocktails. Everything on the menu is nut-free. 2500 W. Chicago Ave.

The DearbornFounded by sisters Amy Lawless and Clodagh Lawless, the Dearborn unites the owners’ passion for heartfelt service, a welcoming ambiance and classically rooted food. The menu includes traditional American tavern fare made with seasonal ingredients. 145 N. Dearborn St.

The LunchroomThis 40-seat restaurant and cafe within the SPACE 519 concept store in the Gold Coast was founded by business partners Lance Lawson and Jim Wetzel. 200 E. Chestnut St.

The Polo InnThis four-suite bed and breakfast, situated above the Polo Café Dining Room, offers the best in hospitality by chef, owner and inkeepr Dave Samber. 3322 S. Morgan St.

Two Hearted Queen: With shops in Roscoe Village and Northalsted, Two Hearted Queen is an LGBTQ-owned coffeehouse and roaster. In addition to its selection of drinks, the cafe serves pastries, teas and breakfast sandwiches. 1201 W. Roscoe St. and 3500 N. Halsted St.

Wilde Bar & Restaurant: Lakeview’s literary-themed upscale Irish pub offers an extensive beer list paired with American bar fare. 3130 N. Broadway.

WoodAt Wood, six-time Michelin Bib Gourmand Winner pays homage to owner Franco Gianni’s father, who was a woodworker for more than 50 years. The restaurant offers a range of shareable plates on a frequently rotating menu for dinner and Sunday brunch. Wood uses locally grown produce, house-butchered meats from responsible Illinois purveyors, housemade charcuterie and bread from the wood-fired oven. 3335 N. Halsted St.

Credit: Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
2Bears Tavern, 1140 W. Wilson Ave.

Bars

2Bears Tavern: Uptown’s latest LGBTQ late-night bar, which opened in February, offers a queer-friendly gathering space with pinball and video games just off the Wilson Red Line stop. 1140 W. Wilson Ave.

Big Chicks: Big Chicks has served Chicago’s LGBTQ community since it opened in Uptown in 1986. 5024 N. Sheridan Road.

Charlie’s Chicago: Northalsted’s western-theme bar and dance club with late-night hours feature drag shows, live DJ sets and more. 3726 N. Broadway.

The Closest: The Closet Bar was launched in 1978 by two lesbians and introduced as a place where women could proudly drink and be themselves. Over the years, the dive bar has become a popular spot for gay men as well. 3325 N. Broadway.

Hydrate Nightclub: Hydrate is an energetic gay dance club with themed nights, drag shows and late hours. 3458 N. Halsted St.

Credit: Maia McDonald/Block Club Chicago
“We open the doors up and make sure everyone feels comfortable at the Jeffery Pub,” says Jamal Junior, owner of the Pub. Junior adds it’s important to provide a welcoming space for those who have nowhere else to go.

The Jeffery Pub: This South Side bar is one of the longest-running Black-owned gay bars in Chicago. Jeffery Pub has been a neighborhood stalwart since the 1960s and serves as a safe haven for Black and Brown queer people. 7041 S. Jeffery Blvd.

La Cueva Nightclub: This historic LGBTQ site in Little Village is known as the oldest Latino drag bar in the country. 4153 W. 26th St.

Lucky Horseshoe Lounge: The Lucky Horseshoe is a divey and casual male strip club at the south end of the Northalsted strip. 3169 N. Halsted St.

Marty’s Martini Bar: Marty’s Martini Bar is a chic, low-lit lounge with an extensive menu of cocktails and gaudy decor. 1511 W. Balmoral Ave.

Meetinghouse Tavern: This Andersonville LGBTQ gathering place has pool, darts, skee-ball, board games and more. The bar also hosts drag shows and other events. 5025 N. Clark St.

The North End: This Northalsted sports bar has been open since 1983, offering space to play pool and darts. 3733 N. Halsted St.

Nobody’s Darling: Nobody’s Darling is a Black woman-owned, queer cocktail bar in Andersonville that opened to much fanfare last summer. 1744 W. Balmoral Ave.

Rogers Park Social: This industrial bar offers craft beers and seasonally inspired cocktails in an inviting atmosphere. 6920 N. Glenwood Ave.

Roscoe’s Tavern: Located in the heart of Northalsted, Roscoe’s Tavern is one of the largest dance clubs and meeting spots. The bar hosts regular “RuPaul’s Drag Race” viewing parties, drag shows and live DJ sets. 3356 N. Halsted St.

Sidetrack: This sprawling gay club is known for its show tunes nights and alcoholic slushy drinks. The bar also has a roof deck for nice summer days. 3349 N. Halsted St.

The SoFo Tap: The SoFo Tap is a neighborhood bear bar with darts, board games, theme nights and an outdoor patio. 4923 N. Clark St.

Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
David Owens, who owns pet supply store Barks N’ Rec, 3030 N. Lincoln Ave., with his husband, Josh Moore.

Retail

Barks N’ Rec: This LGBTQ-owned pet store is focused on pet education, healthy food options and various treats and toys. 3030 N. Lincoln Ave.

Brown Elephant Thrift Store: Howard Brown Health’s Brown Elephant resale shops carry various clothing, home decor and other vintage items. 5404 N. Clark St.; 3020 N. Lincoln Ave.; and 217 Harrison St., Oak Park.

CRAM Fashion: This Lakeview boutique sells seasonal shirts, shorts, swimwear and more menswear items. 3331 N. Broadway.

Early To Bed: Chicago’s feminist sex shop has been helping people of all genders have better sex since it opened in 2001. 5138 N. Clark St.

Here Here MarketThis woman-, Indian- and queer-owned e-commerce startup highlights food and beverage products from Chicago chefs.

Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
Men’s Room, 3343 N. Halsted St.

Men’s Room: Men’s Room Chicago offers fetish gear, leather harnesses, handcuffs, underwear, sex toys and more. 3343 N. Halsted St.

Petty Butter: Petty Butter’s handcrafted skincare products are all-natural and made with the goal of uplifting Black people, especially those in the LGBTQ community.

Rattleback Records: This Andersonville music store offers a variety of new and used vinyl, CDs, cassettes, movies and more. The LGBTQ-owned store also offers cash for used records and other merchandise. 5405 N. Clark St.

Rebirth Garments: This local fashion company is dedicated to creating gender non-conforming clothing and accessories for people of all genders, sizes and abilities.

Soundoff: This Edgewater-based streetwear brand offers T0shirts, sweatshirts, hats and other accessories. It recently partnered with Men’s Room on a collection of LGBTQ-themed T-shirts.

SPACE 519Opened 10 years ago, SPACE 519 is a boutique offering women’s ready-to-wear, home decor and furnishing, all-natural beauty products and accessories. 200 E. Chestnut St.

Leather64Ten: This store is a go-to destination for leather fetish clothing, custom leather outfits, sex toys and other gear. 6410 N. Clark St.

Unabridged Bookstore: This long-time bookstore offers a variety of books, ranging from children’s literature to LGBTQ-related titles. 3251 N. Broadway.

Women & Children First: This Andersonville bookstore is known for its feminist and kid-friendly focus, featuring regular visits from authors. 5233 N. Clark St.

Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
Gerber/Hart’s archive has boxes upon boxes of photos, documents, board games and other memorabilia relating to the LGBTQ community.

Entertainment and culture

The Chopping BlockThe Chopping Block is a queer-owned recreational cooking school that combines entertainment with education. 4747 N. Lincoln Ave.

E3 Radio: E3 Radio is an online radio station that plays queer and independent music in high rotation.

Gerber/Hart Library and Archives: Located in the Howard Brown Health Clark building, the Gerber/Hart Library and Archives is the largest circulating library of gay and lesbian titles in the Midwest. The library and archives also recently launched a queer history podcast that pulls from its collection. 6500 N. Clark St.

Credit: Provided
Jason Bailin leads a cooking party at his business, Get In The Kitchen, 3617 N. Broadway.

Get in the Kitchen: Known as the “party school of cooking classes,” Get in the Kitchen hosts fun-filled cooking lessons like Kooking & Karaokie, Dinner & Dancing Lessons, Cooking & Comedy and Cooking & Drag Queens. 3617 N. Broadway.

Leather Archives & Museum: This library, museum and archives collects items pertaining to leather, fetishism, sadomasochism and other alternative sexual practices. 6418 N. Greenview Ave.

Pride Arts Center: The Pride Arts Center is a home to queer theater, film, visual arts and other community projects. 4139 N. Broadway.

SlayYo App: SlayYo is an LGBTQ-owned ticketing platform for artists to share upcoming art experiences happening across Chicago.

Windy City Times: The Windy City Times has been the go-to source for LGBTQ news for 31 years. The publication is on stands biweekly and online. 5315 N. Clark St.

Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
Minky “LiftyBoi” Kim, personal trainer and owner of Han Training.

Professional services

Barbara&Barbara Salon: This hair salon fosters a safe, inclusive environment where people can get their hair done in a welcoming atmosphere. 2925 W. Diversey Ave.

Brush Park GymBrush Park Gym, a family-friendly gym, was founded by a Lincoln Square mom who needed a space to workout with good child care. The business has held multiple events for the queer community since it opened. 4646 N. Rockwell St.

Chicago Male Salon: This salon offers a full range of hair styling, facial skincare treatments and body removal services for all genders. 3418 N. Halsted St.

Christy Weber Landscapes: For more than 30 years, Christy Webber Landscapes has offered award-winning landscaping services, including at prominent locations such as Soldier Field, Millennium Park and Navy Pier. 2900 W. Ferdinand St.

Han Training: This Asian- and transgender-owned gym fosters an inclusive space where people of all backgrounds, body types and genders can train to get stronger. 743 W. Irving Park Road.

Wish Me Luck Tattoo: This Black- and trans-owned tattoo shop aims to create a tattooing space that’s safe for LGBTQ-people and people of color. The shop also doubles as a training lab for aspiring Black, Brown, Indigenous, queer and trans tattoo artists. 3323 W. Armitage Ave.

Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities across the city for Block Club Chicago.

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