(The) Apex

330 E. 35th St.

Originally known as Club Alvadere (1920-22) and The Nest Club (1922-26), The Apex was an afterhours spot on the second floor across from the Chicago... Read More »

  • Jazz

(The) Belmont Rocks

Belmont Ave and North Lake Shore Drive

In 2003 the City of Chicago paved over The Belmont Rocks, obliterating what artist Doug Ischar called the “most central and visible gay beach in... Read More »

  • House

(The) Cotton Club

1710 S. Michigan Ave.

Named for the famous 1920s club in Harlem, the Cotton Club played jazz in its front room and disco in the back, including sets by DJ Frenchie during... Read More »

  • Disco
  • Jazz
  • Spoken Word

(The) Generator

306 N. Halsted St.

Owned by brothers in law Nick Mandis & James Allen Misovec, the Generator replaced the duo’s original venture, the Stop and Drink, and... Read More »

  • Disco
  • House

(The) Midway

1130 Midway Plaisance

Also known as the Midway Plaisance, the narrow band of green known as “The Midway” is most famous for leading the city’s visiting tourists from... Read More »

    (The) Shrine

    2109 South Wabash Ave.

    Opened in 2009 by Joe Russo, of Funky Buddha Lounge and Sinibar fame, The Shrine had one of the best sound systems in Chicago clubland. The club... Read More »

    • Hip Hop
    • House
    • Reggae

    (The) Warehouse

    206 South Jefferson

    The story of house music culture begins here. A narrow building made of cream brick accented with green art deco diamonds, 206 South Jefferson hosted... Read More »

    • Disco
    • House
    • Punk

    411 (The 411)

    411 E. 63rd Street, Chicago, IL 60637

    Gay club on the South Side that ran between 1988 and 1992. Known for being a spot where folks dressed up and down, the club closed after patrons were... Read More »

    • Hip Hop
    • R&B

    A.K.A.

    6259 N. Broadway

    Also known as “A.K.A’s” This Edgewater venue hosted sets by Ron Hardy in 1987-1988 and  1990-1991. DJs Terrance Harrison, Mike... Read More »

    • House

    Alcatraz

    112 North Green Street

    Alcatrazz was a popular teen juice bar in the 1990s. Some of the featured DJs included Luis Segura, Diamond Boy Dito, Philip Delamora, and Mr.... Read More »

    • Hip Hop
    • House
    • Punk

    Annex/Annex 2

    1958 W North Ave

    This short-lived venue, which opened in February 26, 2016 and closed in October 2017, had a 5:00 am entertainment license for Saturday night/Sunday... Read More »

      Aragon Ballroom

      1106 W. Lawrence Ave.

      Part of “The Black and Tan” Club scene (including Ellington’s and Fredi Washington’s Black and Tan Orchestra), a national network of Black... Read More »

      • Disco
      • Hip Hop
      • House
      • Salsa

      Ascot Hotel

      1100 S. Michigan Ave

      An eight-story, 175-room facility, the Ascot Hotel played host to some of the first hotel ballroom parties held by Lil Louis during the mid-1980s... Read More »

      • House

      B-Side Cafe

      959 W Belmont Ave

      The B-Side Cafe was a short lived club on Belmont Street above the Belmont Arcade in the space that was previously called Avalon, and before that... Read More »

      • Hip Hop
      • House
      • R&B

      Bismarck Hotel

      171 E Randolph St

      The Bismarck was opened by the Eitel Brothers in 1894 as one of Chicago’s premier venues for entertainment and lodging. In 1926 the owners... Read More »

      • House

      C.O.D.

      1201 West Devon

      Basement punk club in Rogers Park with a capacity of about 1000 that mainly hosted Chicago punk, hardcore and alternative rock bands, as well as DJ... Read More »

      • Alternative
      • House
      • Punk

      Cabin Inn

      3119 South Cottage Grove Avenue

      One of Chicago’s famous queer cabaret’s, the Cabin Inn (or Cozy Cabin Inn) opened in Bronzeville in 1933 just south of the World’s... Read More »

      • Vaudeville

      Cheeks

      2730 N. Clark Ave

      A multi-racial gay club next door to the Golden Nugget, Cheeks had what some call a “Cheers”-like vibe. Many transgender patrons dressed... Read More »

      • House

      Club DeLisa

      5516 S. State St.

      Also known as the New Club De Lisa and the Unusual Revue, the Club DeLisa was one of Chicago’s most famous “black and tans,”... Read More »

      • Jazz

      Club LaRay

      3150 North Halsted

      Black, gay club in Lakeview owned by Ray “La Ray” Hill. Housed in a former theater, the venue was famous for its “stairs to... Read More »

      • Disco
      • House

      DeJoie’s

      230 W. Kinzie St

      New Orleans-style restaurant own by Steven and Paul DeJoie and Craig Butler that served as a nightclub after the dinner hour. Disco DJ Brian Reeves... Read More »

      • Disco
      • Jazz
      • Reggae

      Dingbats

      247 East Ontario

      Commercial disco owned by Ron Briskman that became famous for its bouncer, Mr. T. Dingbats was also known for playing music videos in the early 1980s... Read More »

      • Disco

      Dreamland Cafe

      3520 S. State St.

      Also known as Bottom’s Dreamland Cafe, for Bill Bottom who re-opened the venue in 1917, Dreamland Cafe was part of a wave of “black &... Read More »

      • Jazz

      Evergreen Plaza

      9500 S. Western Ave. Evergreen Park, IL

      Also known as “Everblack” and The Plaza, this shopping zone was a popular hangout for teens, who would dress to impress, pick up girls,... Read More »

        Faces Disco

        940 N. Rush St.

        Discotheque catering to, at its peak, 16,000 card-carrying members. Taken over in 1978 by Jewish Lithuanian immigrant Milton Shlaes (at the time 71... Read More »

        • Disco

        First Impressions

        13th and South Michigan

        Juice bar popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s for its blend of disco and punk. The venue influenced promoters and artists like David Risque,... Read More »

        • House

        Green Dolphin

        2200 North Ashland Ave

        Embattled second home to the legendary Boom Boom Room that closed after a weekend shooting in the summer of 2015. The venue was also home to Frankie... Read More »

        • House

        KA-BOOM!

        747 N. Green St.

        25,000 square foot multiplex nightclub venture produced by Cal Fortis of Neo and Ken Smith of Exit with interior design by Thomas Schlesser. When the... Read More »

        • Disco
        • House

        Martin’s Den

        5550 South State Street

        Black, gay disco owned by Henry Martin where DJs Craig Cannon, Craig Loftis and Michael Ezebukwu spun records in the late 1970s and early 1980s.... Read More »

        • Disco

        Medusa’s

        3256 North Sheffield

        Remembered as a significant meeting ground for young people from all over Chicago and its suburbs, this juice bar owned by Dave “Medusa”... Read More »

        • Hip Hop
        • House
        • Punk

        Nimbus

        1515 E. 154th St., Dolton, IL

        A discotheque located in a suburban Ramada Inn, the Nimbus was reviewed in Playboy, had private rooms and multiple levels, and is even rumored to... Read More »

        • Disco

        Polonaise

        3192 N. Milwaukee Ave.

        Built as a Polish social club in the early 20th century, this spot was also known as the Polo Club. In the mid-1990s, promoter Al Cisneros, of... Read More »

        • House

        Red Dog

        1958 West North

        The longtime home of Chicago’s epic Monday night Boom Boom Room party, this second-story bar/club on the corner of North and Milwaukee was a... Read More »

        • House

        Rhumboogie Club

        343 E. 55th St.

        Also known as Rhumboogie Cafe and home of the Rhumboogie Recording Company, Rhumboogie was owned by Charlie Glenn and boxing champion Joe Louis. The... Read More »

          Smart Bar

          3730 North Clark

          North Side institution opened by Joe Shannahan as the sister dance club of Metro. Has hosted residencies by many of Chicago’s most well-known... Read More »

          • Disco
          • House

          The Armory

          5200 S. Cottage Grove

          This opulent art deco building, originally known as the Washington Park Armory, was built in 1931 to hold military training exercises. In 1970 the... Read More »

          • Disco
          • Steppers

          The Bitter End

          7300 South Cottage Grove

          Juice bar with separate dance floor and raised DJ booth owned by Lowell Tuff. In the early 1980s Leonard “Remix” Rroy began his DJ career... Read More »

          • House

          The Clubhouse

          440 North Halsted

          After Club LaRay closed, Bob Yeaworth and the late Sam Davis opened The Clubhouse to fill the gap left in Chicago’s Black, gay house music... Read More »

          • House

          The Generator

          306 North Halsted Street

          Owned by brothers in law Nick Mandis & James Allen Misovec, the Generator replaced the duo’s original venture, the Stop and Drink, and... Read More »

          • Disco
          • House

          The Midway

          1130 Midway Plaisance

          The narrow band of green known as “The Midway” is most famous for leading the city’s visiting tourists from Washington Park along what was once... Read More »

          • House

          The Shrine

          2109 South Wabash Ave

          Opened in 2009 by Joe Russo, of Funky Buddha Lounge and Sinibar fame, The Shrine had one of the best sound systems in Chicago clubland. The club... Read More »

          • Hip Hop
          • House
          • Reggae

          Washington Park

          5531 South Martin Luther King Drive

          The Chicago Defender held communal Bud Billiken picnics in Washington Park to both cultivate young readers (hailed by the fictitious Billiken... Read More »

            Wax Trax!

            2449 North Lincoln Ave

            Partners Jim Nash and Dannie Flesher opened Wax Trax! on Lincoln Avenue in 1978, just in time to witness the ritualized death rites of disco at... Read More »

            • House
            • Industrial
            • Punk