Over the past decade, the gayborhood has morphed into what’s often termed a “post-gay” neighborhood. At many LGBT-owned businesses, you’re apt to bump into plenty of straight folks as well — and vice versa. And it’s a good bet that the formerly explicitly gay neighborhoods will continue to become steadily more diverse — including the influx of the dreaded “hipster”. But if you can get beyond the sometimes precious conceits of these trendy urban districts, you’ll discover some of the best businesses and restaurants in the country.
Every day for the next two weeks, we’ll be taking a look at a dozen of the most dynamic and interesting post-gay neighborhoods in the United States and Canada. These aren’t necessarily the biggest or the most popular — just a good sampling of especially notable ones.
To see all the articles in this series, click here.
You could definitely make a case that Andersonville, which actually has several lesbian- and gay-owned bars and other businesses, is actually Chicago’s most mixed post-gay neighborhood, and it is an area definitely worth checking out. But Wicker Park has evolved over the past two decades into one of the country’s most eclectic and inviting hipster ‘hoods in the country, and a visit here gets you to a different part of the city and also provides easy access to a pair of additionally diverse and indie-minded districts, Bucktown (to the north) and Logan Square (to the northwest). Wicker Park’s heart is the six-way intersection of North, Milwaukee, and Damen avenues, right at the Damen-O’Hare metro stop.
Within just a few blocks of this creative confluence, you’ll find such diverting watering holes and nosh pits as the dark and seductive Violet Hour cocktail bar, the trendy Big Star Mexican restaurant (with its expansive front patio), and the fusionist brunch and dinner spot Trenchermen, which inhabits a former Russian neighborhood bathhouse.
Wormhole Coffee is an inviting place to warm up with a latte on a brisk day, while Links Taproom is a convivial place to partake a well-curated craft-beer list. For late-night revelry, Subterranean is a fun dance club with a decided LGBT following and even some occasional gay parties.
This article is one in a series about post-gayborhoods.
(Featured image via Jamie Bernstein/Flickr)