BOYSTOWN — Supporting businesses owned by people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer is one of the best ways allies can help level the playing field, advocates say.
"That's how we get ahead, quite frankly," said queer and femme entrepreneur Kristen Kaza. "Money matters, and money makes things happen. When it actually makes a difference is when you're impacting someone's life. And for an LGBTQ business owner, [their life is] their business."
While there are guides online for gay friendly businesses in Chicago, finding those specifically owned by people in the LGBTQ community is another matter.
DNAinfo Chicago has gathered a list of more than 100 restaurants, bars, shops and professional services, as well as cultural and artistic ventures, in the city. Check out our interactive map to see which businesses are in your neighborhood, and find an alphabetical list by category below.
The 48th Annual Chicago Pride Parade kicks off at noon on June 25 at the corner of Montrose and Broadway in Uptown.
Want to see a LGBTQ-owned business or artist on this list? Email reporter Ariel Cheung at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Amazing Kale Burger: On the outskirts of Rogers Park, the Amazing Kale Burger is made at an Evanston shop and sold prepared at their diner or at grocery stores and restaurants around Chicago. Made with kale, mushroom, black beans, gluten-free oats, garbanzo bean flour and a little jalapeno, the kale burger was voted 2016's best veggie burger in Chicago magazine. If you're not up for a trek to Evanston, find the burger at R Public House, Wildburger and several other Chicago joints. 741 Howard St., Evanston.
The Bagel: Family-owned for 60 years, The Bagel began with treasured family recipes brought from the Old World in the 1950s at Kedzie and Lawrence. Since 1992, though, The Bagel has been at the corner of Broadway and Barry on Lakeview's eastern border, with a second location in Skokie. The classic Jewish deli makes steaming hot oatmeal, lox and fried matzos just like Bubbe. 3107 N. Broadway, Lakeview.
B'Gabs Goodies: Committed to providing soy-free, raw, vegetarian and vegan foods, B'Gabs serves up smoothies, raw and cooked entrees like veggie burgers, tacos with seed-based "meat" and a loaded smashed potato bowl. B'Gabs offers meal plans, juice cleanses along with delivery via Grubhub. 1450 E. 57th St., Hyde Park.
D.S. Tequila Company: Burgers, Tex-Mex, margaritas and of course — tequila — about at the sprawling D.S. Tequila. Co-founded in 2011 by Stu Zirin and John Dalton, the festive eatery is located in the heart of Boystown and features a huge patio, hefty frozen drinks, flavorful pub grub and serves as a Pride destination and LGBTQ-friendly hang-out year-round. 3352 N. Halsted St., Boystown.
Hamburger Mary's/Mary's Attic: You might recognize co-owners Ashley and Brandon Wright from an episode of "Undercover Boss" last year. While the first Hamburger Mary's opened in San Francisco in 1972, the "Mary Twins" brought the concept to Chicago in 2006. With a long history in the LGBTQ community, the kitschy chain labeled itself as an "open-air bar and grille for open-minded people" and specializes in gourmet burgers like "Buffy the Burger Slayer." In Andersonville, the diner has expanded to include Mary's Attic lounge and Andersonville Brewing next door. 5400 N. Clark St., Andersonville.
Jennivee's Bakery: Adored for its ube buttercream cake, Jennivee's Bakery opened in Boystown in late 2016. Owner Jenne Vailoces said she grew up in the Philippines admiring her mother's baking skills, and carried that passion with her to Chicago. As a transgender woman, Vailoces said she wants her late-night bakery to be "the bakery that the LGBT people in Chicago can proudly call their own." In the months since she opened up shop, customers have declared themselves "hooked for life" on her cupcakes, tres leches and Ferrero Rocher mousse cake. 3301 N. Sheffield Ave., Wrigleyville.
Pastoral: It's been 12 years since Greg O'Neill opened Pastoral near Broadway and Wellington in 2004. Since then, the European-style cheese, food and wine shop has added a handful of locations on the North Side and Downtown. With cheese and wine clubs, gourmet gifts and everything you need for the ultimate cheese plate, Pastoral's wares can help make shoppers the hosts with the most. Dine in at Bar Pastoral in Lakeview or check out Appellation, which added a brunch menu to the wine bar and restaurant inside the Andersonville Pastoral. Bar Pastoral/Pastoral, 2945-47 N. Broadway, Lakeview; Appellation/Pastoral, 5212 N. Clark St., Andersonville; Pastoral, 53 E. Lake St., Loop; Pastoral, 131 N. Clinton St., French Market.
Provisions: Since opening shop as Provisions Rogers Park in 2015, owners Erik Archambeault and William Meek added a second location, Provisions Uptown, in the former Shake, Rattle and Read storefront earlier this year. A locally-run boutique stocked with craft beer, liquor and wine, as well as cheese and charcuterie, both shops feature a variety of locally-made gifts and events hosted by neighborhood entrepreneurs in the store. 6928 N. Glenwood Ave., Rogers Park; 4812 N Broadway St., Uptown.
Revival Social Club: Named for the revival Edgewater has experienced over the years, this American eatery does it all: Delicious food, curious cocktails and a focus on giving to great causes. Owned by Alan Stoll, Revival Social Club has organized special dinners to help raise money for fighting AIDS in Chicago and to supports the arts, like with a post-Pride brunch benefit for the Raven Theater June 25. 1133 W. Granville Ave., Edgewater.
R Public House: Owned by long-time Rogers Parker Renee Labrana, R Public House is a community-oriented restaurant and watering hole that also raises money for women's health, LGBTQ issues, immigration rights and more. 1508 W. Jarvis Ave., Rogers Park.
Wilde Bar & Restaurant: This upscale Irish eatery opened in 2008 as a gay-friendly trend-setter on the edge of Boystown. Irish natives Martin Cournane and Paul Sheahan set out to change the perception that Irish crowds and pubs had be to conservative or harbor prejudice. Named for the Dublin-born writer Oscar Wilde, the eatery has an expansive menu of small plates, sandwiches, Irish entrees and side dishes, brunch and gluten-free options. 3130 N. Broadway, Lakeview.
Avenue Tavern: Since 2003, the green-and-white checkered Avenue Tavern has stood at Broadway and Oakdale, in the former Bulldog Road corner space. With stand-out dishes like a chicken mashed potato bowl, juicy burgers and tasty, cheap drinks, Avenue Tavern is what one Yelp reviewer called a "real neighborhood bar." Be warned, though, owner Mark Camilleri is a "huge" Detroit fan, so expect to see Red Wings and Spartans on the big screens. 2916 N. Broadway, Lakeview.
Big Chicks: Located in a lush stretch of Sheridan Road, Big Chicks' classic neon signage is impossible to miss. A staple on the North Side for queer, straight and all folks in between over the last 30 years, Big Chicks now even has its very own honorary street designation. The cash-only cocktail lounge offers delicious drinks and a full kitchen busting out everything from burgers, to fish and salads, tacos, potato skins and much more. Stop in for a themed night or just hang out with friends and family. 5024 N. Sheridan Road, Uptown.
Charlie's: While a gay country dance bar might seem like too much flair for one bar, Charlie's has been carrying it off since it first opened in Denver in 1981. In Lakeview, Charlie's opened in 1991 and has since expanded from exclusively country music and gay rodeos to include drag performances, line dancing lessons and karaoke nights. 3726 N. Broadway, Lakeview.
The Closet: As Lakeview's first lesbian bar, The Closet has been slinging drinks since 1978 after the straight bar Digby was sold to Rose Pohl and Judy Petrovsky. Featuring decades of music videos and top-notch Bloody Marys, The Closet is meant to be a place that welcomes all parts of the community and also hosts benefits for LGBTQ causes. 3325 N. Broadway, Lakeview.
Crew: Fancy yourself a 'beer god'? Check out this Uptown sports bar's one-year passport challenge, in which participants attempt to drink every beer Crew has to offer. With more than 60 brews, plus cocktails, no one will leave Crew thirsty. Crew also has 24 high-definition televisions and sponsors more than 30 community teams in leagues like softball, Ultimate Frisbee, bowling and beach volleyball. 4804 N. Broadway, Uptown.
Hydrate Nightclub: Whether you're thirsty for a cocktail, drag show or late-night dance session, Hydrate will keep you on your feet. A staple in the Boystown nightclub roster, Hydrate has weekly shows and events, including "Honeys on Halsted" and "Beauties and Beaus," hosted by the glamorous Ms. Ruff n' Stuff and Naysha Lopez from Season Eight of "RuPaul's Drag Race." 3458 N. Halsted St., Boystown.
The Jeffery Pub: Since the 1960s, nightlife for the LGBTQ community of South Shore has lived on at Jeffery Pub. Offering DJ sets from Thursday to Sunday evenings, the pub also hosts poetry nights. Drinks include anything from beer to champagne, plus a mix of cocktails to go with bumping pop and house music. 7041 S. Jeffery Ave., South Shore.
La Cueva Night Club: This Little Village bar has been around for over 30 years and is known to be one of the oldest Latinx drag bars in the country. La Cueva hosts karaoke events and drag shows. 4153 W. 26th St., Little Village.
Lucky Horseshoe Lounge: Standing at the southern entryway into Boystown, Lucky Horseshoe has been around since 1995. "Sleaze is the word" at the male strip club, according to Time Out Chicago, which gives Horseshoe credit for its friendly bartenders and low-key atmosphere. Benjamin Allen, who owned the Horseshoe and The North End Bar, died last year. 3169 N. Halsted St., Boystown.
The North End: For 32 years, The North End has retained its dive bar-like charm on the literal north end of Boystown. With billiards, darts and sports-watching, the bar continues to be a go-to spot for a casual time, inexpensive drinks and free popcorn. 3733 N. Halsted St., Boystown.Progress Bar: A relative newcomer to Boystown, Progress Bar opened in 2013 after the former Cocktail bar shuttered amid lawsuits and eviction battles. Anchored by a massive cloud-like installation of 19,000 light bulbs, Progress has an open floor plan made for dancing and a unisex bathroom that could be considered a sign that the bar lives up to its name. 3359 N. Halsted St., Boystown.
Replay Beer & Bourbon: Coming up in the age of beercades, Replay now has three locations on the North Side. With 26 beers on tap, 50 bourbons and whiskeys and free vintage arcade games, what's not to love? Replay also hosts fun events like skee ball tournaments and has specials like free burgers on Sunday afternoons. 2833 N. Sheffield Ave., Lakeview; 3439 N. Halsted St., Boystown; 5358 N. Clark St., Andersonville.
Rogers Park Social: This Far North Side modern take on a retro lounge is set on cobblestone Glenwood Avenue across from a muraled wall. A gem tucked-away from the hustle and bustle of Boystown, Rogers Park Social serves up classy cocktails, craft beer and an easy-going neighborhood atmosphere. Headed by husband-and-husband team Erik Archambeault and William Meek, this family-owned tavern is a sweet retreat. 6920 N. Glenwood Ave., Rogers Park.
Roscoe's Tavern: Established in 1987, Roscoe's Tavern is essential Boystown. The tavern is a long-time testament to the area's queer and gay nightlife culture. For 30 years, Roscoe's has been the place to be for indoor and outdoor drag shows (including showcasing some of the industry's biggest stars), dance parties, celebrity sightings and theme nights. 3356 N. Halsted St., Boystown.
Sidetrack: One of the earliest bars actually owned by a gay person in the budding LGBTQ neighborhood that became Boystown, Sidetrack The Video Bar has been in business since 1982. Co-owners Arthur Johnston and husband Pepe Peña got their start in LGBTQ activism and helped to pass a Chicago anti-discrimination ordinance for gay people in the late 1980s. Since then, Sidetrack has ballooned into an eight-storefront, multi-level party palace for up to 1,000 people. It was also where Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined activists and defendants in 2015 when gay marriage became legal nationwide. 3349 N. Halsted St., Boystown.
The SoFo Tap: Named for its location south of Foster Avenue, this neighborhood bar features a massive beer garden and classic jukebox jams. Since 2011, the bar has featured work from local artists. It also offers a weekly "Doggy Days" party on Saturdays "for dogs and their well-behaved owners." 4923 N. Clark St., Uptown.
The Twisted Vine: After 10 years as a wine and gift shop, the former Gourmet Grape became a lounge-style bar specializing in wine and whiskey. Owners Jeffrey Durbin and Michael Banko offer flights from their extensive wine and whiskey menus, along with craft beer, cocktails and small bites. 3530 N. Halsted St., Boystown.
Angler Fish Lighting: Like a deep-ocean angler fish, this custom lighting design studio promises lamps that are "useful, interesting and a little bit absurd." Using industrial hardware and other reclaimed materials, the studio creates lights made out of trumpets and pipes, robot lights and custom pieces. 5224 N. Clark St., Edgewater.
Asrai Garden: What began in 1999 as a 23-year-old entrepreneur's first flower shop has blossomed to include a line of apothecary products, jewelry, tarot cards and home goods along with its bouquets and wedding flowers. 1935 W. North Ave., Bucktown.
Brown Elephant Thrift Store: What does one do with that old faux fur coat or unused table set? Bring it to Brown Elephant in Andersonville, a community thrift store that supports Howard Brown Health Centers. The resale shop is also a great place to find deep discounts on gently-used furniture, home decor, clothes and more. Bonus: donations are tax-deductible. 5404 N. Clark St., Andersonville.
CRAM Fashion: Since 2008 CRAM Fashion has been turning mice into men with brand names like G-Star Raw, Ben Sherman, Hudson Jeans, and Original Penguin. Looking to dress the whole body? Check out athletic wear, underwear, swim suits and more in their underwear lounge. Find the latest pieces from designers like Andrew Christian, PUMP, Pistol Pete and Nasty Pig. 3331 N. Broadway, Boystown.
Dapper and Urban: This Lincoln Square-based designer creates affordable bow ties out of fanciful fabrics. From Star Wars to spiders to the Chicago flag, find a bow tie for every occasion for $14-$22. Find them online.
Early To Bed: The women behind Early To Bed put a lot of thought into making their product line accessible to everyone in the LGBTQ community. Online, their home page directs customers to toys for "seasoned lovers" (over 50 years old) and products to assist with gender expression like the stand-to-pee devices and packers. Early To Bed has been open since 2001 and has been named Chicago's Best Sex Shop several years running. 5044 N. Clark St., Uptown.
Flashes: Flashes has been making Chicago look and feel fabulous since 1983. Not only can stylists take clients beauty to new heights, the salon offers Swedish, deep tissue and Thai massages from licensed professionals. 3740 N. Broadway, Lakeview.
Foursided: Like Target, Foursided dangerously scratches a shopping itch you didn't know you had. Everything from kitschy pins, patches and home decor to custom framing and matting, wall art, jewelry and more, three Foursided locations across the North Side make it easy to express yourself and show off local pride. 2939 N. Broadway, 2958 N. Clark St. and 5061 N. Clark St., Lakeview and Andersonville.
GNAT: Gnat Rosa Madrid started this online shop, which makes glittery queer gear handmade "for every gorgeous body and look." Also available at Early To Bed, GNAT's femme-centric harnesses, bondage props and other custom gear are a way to promote gender fluidity, body positivity and a whole lot of kink. Shop online or at Early To Bed, 5044 N. Clark St., Uptown.
Humboldt House: Filled with work from local and emerging Chicago makers, this West Town shop shop has jewelry, furniture, rugs, dishware, aromatherapy and other home decor. 1045 N. California Ave., Humboldt Park.
Jameson Loves Danger: Named for the co-owners' dogs who have been BFFs since they met, Jameson Loves Danger is an Andersonville pet store pet spa and training center. The shop also partners with animal shelters like It's a Pittie Rescue to find home for loveable pets. 5028 N. Clark St., Andersonville.
Knee Deep Vintage: Take a trip south to search for gems from the 1920s to the 1950s at Knee Deep Vintage. Offering affordable prices for its customers, Knee Deep also sells shoes, accessories, houseware and furniture. On the second Friday of every month, Knee Deep hosts a “Midnight Sale”, offering 25 percent to 50 percent discounts on everything in the store from 6 p.m. until midnight. 1425 W. 18th St., Pilsen.
LavenderPop Greeting Cards: Hallmark's got nothing on Otis Richardson, whose multicultural greeting cards have been celebrating special occasions for 13 years. The cards feature drag queens, people of color and Chicago icons like the Chicago dog and LGBTQ themes like a "Bi The Way" card. Find his cards at Whole Foods Englewood and online. Shop online and at 832 W. 63rd St., Englewood.
Provoke Culture: This online shop provides retail space for artists who celebrate culture and identity through their work. A collaborative of female queer artists like Quirklyn artist Jenny Cunningham — who moonlights as a volunteer doula — and Sandra Antongiorgi and Sam Kirk — who together created the spectacular "Weaving Cultures" Pilsen mural — Provoke Culture serves as a central retail shop for the artists. Through Provoke Culture, the artists donate 25 percent of profits to organizations for women and youth dealing with homelessness, violence or difficult circumstances. Find bold prints, vintage furniture reupholstered with indigenous fabric, greeting cards and apparel. Find them online.
Rebirth Garments: Tired of fashion not fitting your body? Designer Sky Cubacub has the perfect line for you: Rebirth Garments, fashion for the spectacular array of bodies out there. Cubacub's designs were created for the non-binary, gender non-conforming, plus-sized, people with disabilities and more and showcases bright and patterned pieces meant to instill comfort and confidence. Find them online.
Reformed School Chicago: This online retailer creates bow ties and other apparel and accessories meant to suit every fashion sense, from formal to fanciful. Bow tie designs range from $30 to $50, and Reformed School also makes throw pillows, sweatshirts and T-shirts with the same nod to the classics. Find them at The Silver Room in Hyde Park, online or at pop-up events. Available online and at The Silver Room, 1503 E. 53rd St., Hyde Park.
Shirts Illustrated: Out and proud? New bride or groom? On a softball team? Say it with a custom T-shirt. Shirts Illustrated offers personalized printing, embroidery, promotional items, clothing and more. 1340 W. Belmont Ave., Lakeview.
Stitch Chicago: A Wicker Park destination for 18 years, Stitch Chicago carries luxurious modern furnishings from emerging designers. The shop specializes in leather handbags, jewelry and unique housewares, and both its storefront and online shop offer everything from a 24-carat gold corkscrew to a $350 minimalist bird cage Bluetooth speaker and light. 1937 N. Damen Ave., Wicker Park.
The TaTa Top: On a quest to "free the nipple," Edgewater couple Michelle and Robyn Lytle launched "The TaTa Top" — a flesh-colored bikini top that depicts a male nipple — in 2014 as a way to highlight double standards between the sexes when it comes to nudity laws. Since then, the pair have donated over $37,000 from the top's sales to an array of women's health organizations. Find them online.
Tulip Toy Gallery: The owners of Tulip opened the sex toy and lingerie shop in 2005 with a mission to educate adults on using products with safe materials to get the ultimate customer satisfaction. Tulip prides itself on being "truly" free of discrimination and offers a huge range of products both online and in its Boystown storefront. The shop also offers adult workshops, private shopping and parties. 3459 N. Halsted St., Boystown.
Unabridged Bookstore: Unabridged Bookstore satisfies the need to read in ways you never thought possible. The long-time book shop not only serves up the classics, but has an extensive collection of children's material, biographies and LGBTQ texts and resources like no other. Looking for a certain title? Check them out. 3251 N. Broadway, Boystown.
Vanité: This Paul Mitchell salon opened in 2012 and says it knows that beauty isn't a one-size-fits-all feeling or perception. Stylists can help clients bring their vision to life so they can look and feel like their best self. The salon promises to provide a balance between inner and outer beauty. 3161 N. Halsted St., Boystown.
Vintuition: Bold jewelry and silky kimonos stand out at this Wicker Park boutique, but the shop offers a wide range of products. From feathered leather shoes to bright art prints, there's no end to the surprises shoppers will unearth at Vintuition. 1250 W. Van Buren St., West Loop.
Women & Children First: Since 1979, this Andersonville bookstore has been an iconic queer-friendly and women-owned resource. One of the largest feminist bookstores in the country, Women & Children First stocks more than 30,000 titles that run the gamut from gay fiction to a "read local" section. The founders sold the shop in 2014 to two longtime employees, and it remains an LGBTQ-owned mainstay to this day. 5233 N. Clark st., Andersonville.
AMFM: For all the latest in art, music and fashion, AMFM serves as an online magazine and curator. The brand supports emerging and established artists with in-depth Q&As, music reviews, art shows, music showcases and fashion events. From a recurring jazz series to the Dapper Ball, AMFM has its finger on the pulse of the latest and greatest. Find them online.
Chicago Dancers United: What began as an annual HIV/AIDS fundraiser in 1992 has blossomed into a nonprofit organization that supports dance professionals with critical health issues. The group has raised more than $5.5 million through its annual benefit dance concert, Dance for Life and spin-off events like the gloriously campy Dance Divas — which, incidentally, is coming up June 20. Find more information online.
Edgewater History Museum: Learn about the incredible origins of Maybelline makeup — a now international cosmetics empire that was humbly founded in Edgewater by a secret LGBT pioneer of industry. On display for a limited time are creator Tom Lyle Williams' original red tin Maybelline mascara boxes and the glamorous Hollywood ads that would propel his product into stardom. The museum is open on weekends from 1-4 p.m. 5358 N. Ashland Ave., Edgewater.
E3 Radio: Branded as the new-age NPR, E3 Radio blends talk and indie music to provide an online radio station for queer people. Shows like Anna DeShawn & The Q-Crew focus on current events affecting queer people of color and advice for people with relationship and professional struggles. Listen online.
Gerber Hart Library: Stop into the Midwest's largest circulating collection of LGBTQ books, resources, historical items and more at the Gerber Hart Library in Rogers Park. Bonus: It's co-located with the new Howard Brown Health Center. 6500 N. Clark St., Rogers Park.
Got Her Back: A monthly variety show celebrating female performers, Got Her Back donates all proceeds to a rotating female-based charity. Past shows have included stand-up, music, improv and dance acts and benefited organizations like Deborah's Place, Broadway Youth Center and Thresholds Mothers Project. MCL Chicago, 3110 N. Sheffield Ave., Lakeview.
Jeezy's Juke Joint: Jeez Loueez's mission is two-fold: To showcase the diversity of black entertainers and to bring the "beautiful and subversive art of burlesque" to audiences of color. The annual revue debuted in 2011 and features an award-wining line-up of talent featuring classic burlesque, drag and comedy acts. Last year, Jeezy's expanded to offer classes on stage makeup, showmanship and dance at Vaudezilla Studios. This year, Jeezy's is up for best burlesque troupe in the Chicago Reader Best of Chicago awards. Find more information online.
Leather Archives And Museum: There's a new daddy in town — he's a discipline daddy and you can find him and many more at the Leather Archives and Museum in Rogers Park. The museum is dedicated to the LGBTQ, gay, kink, leather and fetish communities and their rich history and contributions in Chicago. 6418 N. Greenview Ave., Rogers Park.
The Leigh Gallery: Named for owner Jean Leigh, this art gallery has been showcasing work from Chicago artists for over a decade. More than 80 artists from around the world have had their work displayed, and the gallery runs the gambit from old-school classics to modern art. 3306 N. Halsted St., Boystown.
Matthew Muñiz Music: When not collaborating with other musicians for The Live Debate!, Matthew Muñiz offers lessons in piano technique, songwriting, ear training and arrangement to students of all ages and skill levels. Muñiz graduated from Columbia College in 2003, and his music has appeared in short films, plays and one full-length zombie flick. He also music directs at The House Theatre of Chicago. Based in Avondale.
Open Hand/Chicago: In 28 years, founder Lori Cannon has helped deliver more than 15 million meals through the nation's only network of grocery services geared toward people who have HIV and AIDS. Cannon founded the food pantry with a group of friends after volunteering at Chicago House and learning about the disease upon the AIDS-related death of a friend. Open Hand still exists today and operates as part of the Chicago-based anti-poverty organization Heartland Alliance.
PATRON Gallery: A contemporary art gallery that seeks to be a patron itself, protecting and supporting artists "from all walks of life." 673 N. Milwaukee Ave., West Town.
People Who Care: This collective of queer, femme and people of color creates branding and campaigns for nonprofit organizations and grassroots initiatives. The group has worked with the Prep4Love public health campaign and the Canvas Chicago organization. Find them online.
Pride Arts Center: After six years of award-winning productions, Pride Films & Plays found a permanent home last year when it replaced the beleaguered Profiles Theatre in Uptown's Buena Park neighborhood. Since then, the two performances spaces have been host to the "After Orlando" tribute, drag legend Charles Busch and SheFest. Pride Arts Center is meant to be a home base for new works with LGBTQ themes or characters created by artists as diverse as their productions. 4139 N. Broadway, Uptown.
Reunion Chicago: This hybrid space is both a co-working studio and and event space for artists and other creators. Started in 2016, Reunion Chicago is the brainchild of Kristen Kaza and Elijah McKinnon. The pair wanted to create an affordable, fluid space that could meet the needs of women, people of color and people who are transgender or queer. 2557 W. North Ave., Humboldt Park.
Street Glass Productions: The stained glass artwork of Andy Bellomo has been exhibited at the Bridgeport Art Center and the Joffrey Ballet Studio. In her exploration of "the duality of line work as a boundary and as infinite possibility," Bellomo has also created public art for The Field Museum and stunning murals and mosaics in Edgewater, Rogers Park and Chinatown. Find them online.
VAM Studio: This full service production company is promised of a diverse team of people of color, women and queer-identifying artists and producers. Their unique perspectives have lent necessary context to projects with Do 312, The Dill Pickle, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and Red Bull. The team has also produced music videos for musicians like Jamila Woods and web series like "Brown Girls," an intersectional response to Lena Dunham's "Girls." Diversey and Richmond, Logan Square.
Wendy Jo Carlton: As a writer/director of feature films and other love stories about working-class, female and LGBT characters, Wendy Jo Carlton also does freelance work as an associate producer and writing consultant and teaches screenwriting and production courses in Chicago and Los Angeles. Check out her lesbian rom com web series "Easy Abby" online. Find more information online.
Windy City Times: For 31 years, Windy City Times has been the go-to source for LGBTQ issues, news and advocacy. Its investigative work includes features on AIDS, the criminal legal system and homelessness for LGBTQ youth. The media group also produces Queercast, nightlife coverage and the Out! Resource Guide. On newsstands weekly and online; 5315 N. Clark St., Edgewater.
Aardvark Insurance: Aardvark Insurance is a personalized insurance company that is certified with the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. The company has an online Policy Service Center to allow for easy filing of claims or paying bills. 1228 W. Wilson Ave., Uptown.
Alchemia Art of Hair: Transforming your hair from “ordinary to extraordinary," Alchemia Art of Hair is located in The Somerset Building, a national landmark in Uptown. Stylist Edward Steinbeigle has crossed over into television and created makeovers for MTV and talk shows, so you know you'll get the star treatment. From waist-length black hair to a purple bob, the salon offers haircuts, up-dos, color services, texture and other treatments to care for your hair. 5009 N. Sheridan Road, Uptown.
Barbara & Barbara: Welcoming to people of all genders, Barbara & Barbara offers hair styling with gender-neutral cuts starting at $28. Coloring is also affordable, with mini-highlights clocking in at $50 all the way up to a full balayage for $160. "Whether it's a blue mullet, slicked-back pompadour, crazy Shakira curls or a sleek bob, we have got you covered." 2925 W. Diversey Ave., Logan Square.
Black Oak Tattoo: This appointment-only tattoo and piercing shop is the home of some truly gorgeous floral, patterned and intricate tattoos. While their Instagram page is chock-full of their work, the shop also regularly partners with dozens of guest tattoo artists. 3419 W. Fullerton Ave., Logan Square.
Blown by BOCAJ: Cheeky names are all the rage in Boystown, and although BLOWN is in between the gayborhood and Wrigleyville, it's true down to its gay roots. Owner Jacob Leatherman opened the salon in 2015 with a BLOWN Back program that donates a portion of proceeds to charity. Customers can book online for a wide range of hair care, makeup styling and waxing for "A-list celebrity treatment at D-list celebrity prices." 3353 N. Clark St., Lakeview.
Char Schoenbach Insurance: For two decades, Char Schoenbach has run the Allstate insurance agency in Boystown. As one of the first agents in Chicago to work with members of the LGBTQ community, Schoenbach provides car, homeowners and life insurance. 3322 N. Halsted St., Boystown.
Chicago Info Tech: A boutique IT consulting company focused on under-served clients in the small business, nonprofit and education sectors, Chicago Info Tech provides IT services from start to finish. Whether it's setting up a network, cloud integration or on-demand support, the folks at CIT have dozens of years of experience. 500 N. Michigan Ave., Downtown.
Christy Webber Landscapes: Full-service landscape provider offering design, construction and maintenance to residential, commercial and municipal clients in Chicago. Past work includes landscaping at Millennium Park, Mariano's and Stroger Hospital. 2900 W. Ferdinand St., Humboldt Park.
Copperplate Tattoo: With a knack for clean lines, traditional designs and cartoon-themed tattoos (like the Simpsons-based "Everything's Comin' Up Milhouse" design and a tombstone that reads "Still Mad"), tattoo artist Rick Proper is kicking off summer scheduling hours, which means more time for customers to get their custom tats in an inclusive and welcoming environment. Avondale.
Cramer Public Relations & Events: Specializing in art, entertainment and hospitality, CPR & Events offers media coaching, consultation, event coordination and social media marketing. Its clients range from Do 312 and Grindr to Spring Awakening and Riot Fest. 2354 N. Milwaukee Ave., Logan Square.
Feinerman Development: A Wicker Park family of real estate brokers has spun off its own development business. With several apartment and commercial spaces, the company is looking to attract more queer clients. Both Erin and Ian Feinerman also work for @properties. Contact Erin Feinerman at email@example.com for more information.
Formatografia: Photography makes a creative face with Chicago-born photographer and digital content creator, Eric Formato. Inspired by the city’s architecture, natural beauty and diversity, Formatografia works with minority-owned businesses, socially conscious non-profits and emerging entrepreneurs to create the digital “face” of a company's brand. His work has been featured in several artistic and commercial publications, art expos, galleries, fundraisers and community centers. 609 W. Stratford Place, Lakeview.
Firebelly Design: With collaborations with the minds behind the You Are Beautiful project and Dollop Coffee, Firebelly's design work can be found around Chicago. In business since 1999, the firm and founder Dawn Hancock have been named a top design innovator and one of the most generous designers. Each year, Firebelly provides a full year of free design to a nonprofit, from photo and video services to research and marketing. 2701 W. Thomas St., West Town.
Fix Hair Studio: Owner Erin Nelson wanted to open a salon that could be a safe space for all humans, and it seems she succeeded. "I've found no other salon that is super hip and cute and actually friendly and not pretentious," one reviewer wrote. See examples of the studio's work on Instagram. Haircuts start at $36, and the studio also offers hair and makeup styling, waxing and coloring. Plus, it's dog friendly. 952 W. Newport Ave., Wrigleyville.
Flashes Hair Designs: Serving the Lakeview neighborhood since 1983, Flashes offers hair styling, waxing, nails and Swedish massages. Owner Michael Kauffman got top honors from The Soma Institute and promises that clients will "sleep like babies" after an hour of bodywork. 3740 N. Broadway, Lakeview.
iCandee Marketing: iCandee has a broad approach to marketing and offers everything from custom apparel to promotional products. The company pledges to bring design ideas to life with their in-house printing, production and graphic design. Founded by a United States Marine Corps veteran, an Illinois native and a University of Illinois graduate with a combined 50 years of experience, iCandee is also a proud NGLCC-certified LGBTQ business enterprise. 954 W. Carmen Ave., Uptown.
Ingmar James Salon: Founded by educators William James Reinke and Garret Ingmar Koski-Budabin, Ingmar James describes itself as a salon that's "upscale yet unpretentious, professional yet laid-back." Everything from men's barbering to color, cuts and extensions can be found here. 3255 N. Broadway, Boystown.
Kelaine Photo: Flipping through the Instagram for photographer Karmen Elaine will reveal a vast range of projects, from wedding photography to direct portraiture from the ongoing Queerbook project. A commercial photography graduate of Harrington College of Design, Elaine's work continues to evolve and expand into videography and product work. Find out more online.
Klofoto: Mexican native Karla Olvera seeks to capture the complexity of the human experience through her black-and-white photography. Olvera is available for weddings and events, and her bold shots of Chicago streets are sold for $20 online. Based in Lower West Side.
Let's Go, Fido Pet Care: You want the best to care for your fluffy fam, and Let's Go, Fido has been in the business since 2000. Available on holidays and seven days of the week, Let's Go Fido provides dog walks, overnight and vacation care, pet taxi and other transportation and care for cats, rabbits and birds. Ravenswood and Lawrence, Uptown.
Logan Parlor: Voted Best New Salon in Chicago magazine when it opened in 2014, Logan Parlor has hair cuts starting at $25-$35 and also grooms beards, styles, colors and treats hair. Antique mirrors, exposed brick walls and luminous chandeliers provide for a charming experience in a modern salon. 3251 W. Fullerton Ave., Logan Square.
Needle & Thread Law: Attorney Tina Tran served underprivileged clients with Cabrini Green Legal Aid before striking out on her own with Needle & Thread. Now, her firm is dedicated to helping clients alleviate the stress of bankruptcy in an LGBTQ-friendly environment. 208 S. Jefferson St., The Loop.
No Small Plans Productions: You won't find any tacky nylon banners or cheap hashtags at events from award-winning event producer Kristen Kaza. Kaza brings together a unique team of creatives for immersive events designed to inspire. Perhaps best known for the monthly Slo 'Mo party at the Whistler in Logan Square and the annual Paradise queer Pride ball, No Small Plans has also organized an "Empire" discussion panel, galas, launch parties and the Chicago Magazine Culture Festival. 2557 W. North Ave., Humboldt Park.
Public Barber: Public Barber is a neighborhood barbershop in Uptown that focuses on all the classic elements of traditional barber grooming. The shop's goal is to bring the community back to the barbershop with events featuring local artists and musicians. The cash-only services start at $15 for a buzz cut to a $38 haircut and beard trim. 1319 W. Wilson Ave., Uptown.
Saunders Consulting: An expert in productivity, Stacey Saunders has 20 years of experience in leadership and management in Edgewater and Chicago's LGBTQ community. Saunders can guide businesses through evaluating their productivity, show them how to "Get Stuff Done" through various workshops and speaks at events on the art of saying "no," setting goals and time management. 6045 N. Lincoln Ave., West Ridge.
Scott Barnes Photo: Scott Barnes specializes in headshots, physique photography, starter modeling portfolios and nightlife scenery. "As a photographer, I run into so many people with self-image problems," Barnes said. "But here's the deal: If I'm photographing you, I think you're beautiful." College students get discounted rates. 5051 N. Glenwood Ave., Uptown.
SMB Helpdesk: SMB Help Desk is an IT consulting firm that provides consulting services on Salesforce solutions, Microsoft and Infrastructure support. SMB team has a rich history of charity work, whether their crew is diving for the Polar Plunge or shaving their heads for St. Baldrick's Foundation, SMB raises thousands of dollars for good causes. 4147 N. Ravenswood Ave., Lakeview.
Someoddpilot Creative Agency: Since 1999, Someoddpilot has "worked hard to bring wonder into the cultural landscape. The agency offers branding, social content and copywriting, multimedia and printing, and it has worked for top brands like Patagonia, The Second City, Pitchfork and Wolverine. 1539 N. Damen Ave., Wicker Park.
South Social & Home: With a focus on interior styling and event production, it's hard to nail down the limits of what South Social & Home does. They've produced a private MSMR concert inside an Airbnb and planned Oscars parties, but their most frequent projects are planning weddings in some of Chicago's most spectacular venues. 2401 W. Hirsch St., Wicker Park.
SpeedPro Imaging: All your printing needs can be met at this queer-owned printing studio in West Town. From banners to elevator wraps to wall murals, SpeedPro promises "superb results" and decades of experience. 2130 W. Fulton St., West Town.
Tamar Westphal Events: Event designer Tamar Westphal "thrives at the intersection of artistic inspiration and organizational wizardry." Having planned weddings, galas, cabarets and academic events, Westphal promises to "bring the panache" along with the hand-crafted goodie bags. Find them online.
West Town Home + Decor: Formerly West Town Reup, this design studio from Patricia Hall and Erin Schremp offers a modern vintage/bohemian minimalist take on interior design. 2136 W. Chicago Ave., West Town.
Health & Fitness
Birthways Inc.: For 20 years, Birthways has provided pregnancy, birth and postpartum doula services in Chicago. Whether new parents are looking for a night nurse or a breastfeeding clinic, Birthways has them covered. It also specializes in mood disorders before and after birth. Owner Karen Laing founded the doula agency after directing the state's first such center, Dana Mothercare. 3717 N. Ravenswood Ave., Lakeview.
The Care Plan: Longtime LGBTQ advocate Jacqueline Boyd launched The Care Plan after spending years with a private caregiving agency and nursing homes. Boyd helps map out care plans for aging clients and their families from legal protections to end-of-life wishes with a nod to the unique issues aging members of the LGBTQ community might face like HIV discrimination or same-sex relationship rights. 5816 S. Indiana Ave., Unit 2, Washington Park.
Great Lakes Clinical Trials: Headed by couple Steve Satek and Dean Hervochon, Great Lakes Clinical Trials is a research firm studying ways to treat memory loss diseases like Alzheimer's and Dementia, as well as mental health, pain management, chronic illness and more. The investigative medical services are free and research is led by board-licensed physicians. 5149 N. Ashland Ave., Andersonville.
Knecht Chiropractic Clinic: Andrew Knecht offers specialized chiropractic services for pregnancy care, weight loss, rehabilitation and other causes of pain along the back and spine. 3444 N. Halsted St., Boystown.
New Hope Recovery Center: New Hope is an alcohol and drug rehabilitation treatment center that provides a specific LGBTQI addiction treatment program called “New Hope New Pride." The center offers personalized, holistic treatment and caters to specific needs by offering a variety of levels of care to help individuals create the life they desire. 2835 N. Sheffield Ave., Lakeview.
Practical Audacity: Rena McDaniel is a certified sexologist with a master's degree in community counseling. With a mission to help those who feel hopeless, bored, disconnected or terrified when it comes to sex and relationships, McDaniel offers workshops, coaching, consultation and sex therapy. As a licensed counselor at LGBTQ counseling agency IntraSpectrum Chicago, McDaniel developed a passion for helping people break down the barriers of gender, sexuality and relationships. Find more information online.
Steamworks Baths: Open 24/7, Steamworks Baths has been a place for gay men to meet in a safe and comfortable place for over 35 years. The private gym, sauna and bathroom also has private rooms and has thought of everything, from a drinking fountain that dispenses mouthwash to free condoms and HIV/STI testing. Membership starts at $7 for one month. 3246 N. Halsted St., Boystown.
RAD Remedy: Based in Chicago, this national organization helps connect people who are transgender, gender non-conforming, intersex and queer to safe and respectful healthcare — think of it like Yelp for queer and trans health. The referral site also works with providers to improve systems and hopes to find a way to accredit LGBTQ-friendly providers. Find them online.
Rising Phoenix Martial Arts & Fitness: Co-owners Catherine Blaisdell and Pat Carbajal have a combined 26 years of training and teaching kung fu, tai chi, krav maga and kickboxing. Since 2005, these black belt sifus also host self-defense and outreach workshops at Center on Halsted, University of Illinois Chicago and Latin School of Chicago. Rising Phoenix offers classes for children and adults. 3727 N. Broadway, Lakeview.
Contributing: Patty Wetli, Isra Rahman, Kayla Martinez