Babes in Boystown

Babes in Boystown

It has come to my attention that many of the descriptions used in this article come off as offensive and demeaning to those who frequent the Boystown community. I assure you that was not my objective. I have nothing but respect and adoration for this community which is why I wanted to write about it. I'm not some decorated journalist. I'm just a simple twenty-something girl that likes to go out and see new places in our great city. I for one am proud to say my city has Boystown and I deeply apologize if I made anyone feel small or cheapened from it. I originally wanted to delete some of the post but felt as if it would be as if I spilled the paint and tried to hide my hands. So I left it up and instead struck out the things I would have chosen to be deleted.

Once upon a time....in a city known for its famous skyscraper, multitude of sport teams and obsession with incredibly fatty foods....lived three fabulous ladies who just so happened to share a workspace as well as an affinity for girl talk and stiff drinks. So one evening they decided to venture out to a rare place filled with the city's most fabulous and sharply dressed men. A place so bursting with men that live for sick fashion, 24 hour gyms, glitter and ferocity, as well as the entities known as Barbara-Madonna-Cher, they named a whole town after them. Chicago's Boystown is a beacon for those same sex loving and subversive patrons. So can a place meant for the boys be an appropriate girls night out option? 4-Star Explorer thinks so.

Geographically speaking Boystown has it's own quadrant cut around the Lakeview neighborhood with streets like Belmont and Broadway lying as proverbial markers of gay-friendly territory. But everyone who's anyone knows that Halsted is the epicenter of this progressive area. This trendy strip which in my opinion could rival that of Vegas on a good night (have you seen the annual Pride Parade?) host many of the areas restaurants, shops, and importantly their bars. Enlisted to help me out in my exploratory pursuits were my water cooler mates Tonantzin Gamboa and Alexis Morales, whether work or play these ladies have been there to lend words of wisdom and a good laugh.

As I headed madly down Lake Shore Drive, always on the heels of Father Time, on what had been a mostly rainy Monday night I expected to see the trademark droves of people hopping from bar to bar wearing some type of tightly fit pants. I was shocked to see that the strip was uncharacteristically quiet. It seemed muted. As I walked from my car I shrugged it off as a case of the Monday blues. As I was suddenly pummeled by a surge of raindrops I realized why no one was out.

Petco may be  where the pets go but all good kittens, along with their mittens of course, head over to the Kit Kat. The Kit Kat Lounge plays hosts to both guys and dolls offering the famous California trend of chic supper clubs for a Chicago audience. Offering tasty choices in both culinary and cocktail creations, the Kit Kat Lounge succeeds in multiple arenas of hospitality. Sporting a 50s Old Hollywood theme patrons don't know whether they're in a lounge or a movie house what,with the multiple images being displayed over the snazzy white walls.

And if the Kit Kat wasn't already a retro throwback to food and film du jour they offer dinner and a show. Included with your meal and drinks is a short campy but classy show from that day's resident female impersonator. The ladies and I ordered the baked macaroni and the chicken skewers from the streamlined menu and marveled at the 200 plus drink options. Alexis nursed the potent Cucumber Martini, Tona liked a bit of the sweet stuff with the Chocolate Raspberry Truffle,and I felt transported to the orient with the Sake-It-To-Me featuring both sake and triple sec.

Not wanting to end the night just yet despite the soggy weather the ladies accompanied me to my favorite spot in Boystown, Roscoe's Tavern.

There are so many great things I can say about this bar. Some of the best times I've ever had and some I can't even remember. Roscoe's headlines daily events like Weekly Drag Races including the annual Rupaul's Drag Race tour (of which I've been going to for three years now), Wet Boxer Contest, and two types of Karaoke! It's truly a place for boys and girls of all club attending ages. Not partaking in the usual heart pumping dancing antics that the bar is known for, our trendy trio took in the local talent showcasing their singing chops for the masses. Now this isn't your usual mechanized sing-a-long patronized by zany townies and aging out-of-town corporate schmoozers. These people can really sing! I was nervous to get up and do my thing I mean the last solo I'd had was senior year Show Choir and that was some time ago....a lady never discloses. I got over my nervousness and sung for my life. Luckily the band was so loud the crowd nor I could hardly hear my voice. Whatever! I went with it. I was glad it was over and even partook in a live band rendition of "Gin and Juice" with another caroler.

It was a great night out and even better for ladies wanting to liven up a dull Monday night. In Boystown, there's no need to rehash the age-old Battle of the Sexes. There's no boys against girls just a shared love of club music and designer shoes....

Support our local Boystown bars! Visit here:

Kit Kat Lounge
3700 North Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60613

Roscoe's Tavern
3356 North Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60657

Did you like the article? Want to see pictures from the event? Contact us at fourstar.explorer@yahoo.com and visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/4StarExplorer and don't forget to "like" us!

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  • These sound like very cool places- I must pay a visit

  • In reply to artemortifica:

    I hope you do! Thanks so much for commenting!

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    It was a fun night! Even better with the great company!

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    Dear 4SE,

    I happened upon your blog, specifically this post and its sequel, quite by accident. A hour or so ago, I was reading a Facebook post written by a friend that linked back to something she'd written on this website. In the mood to see where links would take me, specifically on written journeys of people thoughts, I started reading entries the site "promoted" via links on her blog entry. One story after another ultimately to me to the sequel to your post above *first*. I was intrigued by your opening disclosure and read on. Then I read through the 30+ comments and exchanges. Finally, I clicked through to your post above to see what had inspired all of the hurt feelings, taken offense, and criticism.

    As a professional marketer, understanding the source of what attracts the consumer to something is a great piece of data to own. I thought I would initially tell you how I found you in case you were in the least bit interested. Then I would tell you my thoughts on your posts and the many comments.

    To start, I must say that upon reading your original post after reading everything else, I was sort of left with a "that's all?" feeling. This wasn't because of your content, your writing style, or your disclosures. It was really because I, like you, was amazed at how much of a mountain the non-mole hill became. Had I only ever read your initial post and you'd not added disclosure or struck through lines of copy, I would have continued along my merry way clicking on new posts until I was ready to turn off my iPad. It was quite clear to me the intent of your article and not once did I take offense to anything you wrote.

    This leads me to my next string of thoughts spawned by the exchanges in the comment section of your sequel post. There were many points made whether grounded in the best rationale or not with which I can agree. Conversely, there were several with which I disagree, and some which I feel we're truly not appropriate. With some of the comments you'd received, there was a time or two when I could see in the reply you'd offered, it was another unintentional poking of the hornets' nest. Sometimes it's fun to poke the nest. Some people thrive on that, as the poker and as the pokee.

    Well, now I'll offer my POV on some of the specifics I read in your posts and replies, and some that I read in other people's comments. Your original post seems to deliver well on the strategy you mapped out in the About Me section of your profile. By including firsthand accounts and pictures paired with a sense of humor and fun, you delivered a travel journal entry that offered some sage advice to others who might look at your posts as idea starters on where to go and where not to go.

    I was not offended by your choice of colorful words deemed stereotypical of the gay community. I have also attended a few of Chicago's pride parades - and if your post caused this much angst and unrest, I shutter to imagine what that day-long, seemingly endless stream of cause and debautury must do to some of your offended readers. There's enough glitter, sequins, skin-tight painted-on clothes, wigs, mascara, and heels to last us a lifetime... and we attend the parade because it's fun and funny.

    To the reader who suggested the bridal showers stay out, I side with him sometimes. They spend money like the rest of us and often times more on those occasions. If they're making asses of themselves in front of others, it diverts attention from others and certainly makes for more Insta-gram content. When they start to get sloppy and spill drinks all about, then it becomes quite annoying. That's usually when the Karen Walker in them comes out. And for every Karen Walker, there are probably four times as many Jack McFarlands flouncing about now that they're through with their shifts at Sephora, Macy's Foot Locker, Chili's, and Whole Foods. That leaves the rest of the population to make up the Will Trumans, the Grace Adlers, the Sue Sylvesters, the Brother Boys, the Chaz Bonnos, and the Will Schusters. Depending on the season, the yardage of fabric comprising apparel selections can vary greatly.

    To the reader who doesn't want to be around anyone of the female gender, I agree with him, sometimes. I recently heard a radio story about segregation in Chicago, specifically what it does to neighborhoods, education systems, and other sociological aspects of the human race. The fact of the matter is that humans flock to those who make them feel most comfortable. Whether it's neighborhoods, apartment buildings, restaurants, bars, or even tables in lunchroom... we self-segregate and until someone points out that it's a problem for some reason, we don't care. I just attended a conference with about 150 other people. I know about a third of them. The organizers assigned tables to attendees to encourage networking and open discussions. You'd think that for a conference with a $1600 admission price, attendees wouldn't need enclosure meant to network. But they do. On the last day, the organizer announced to the group (who had now been together for a day and a half), that attendees could sit where they wanted... and many people still chose to sit with their co-workers or current partners on projects instead of sitting with people they hadn't met yet. It's human nature.

    There are times when I go out that I don't want to be in a mixed gender environment. I'm not always sure why, but sometimes I don't. Sometimes I don't want to hear what at times sounds to me like high pitched yammering of a clutch of women. And then I realize that it was actually a clutch of nelly boys being silly.

    I have to admit that I have been taken back by complete strangers using cliches or known slurs in my presence or directly with me, as if they'd been granted immunity, permission, or whatever one gets or feels in using them. In the written work, especially online where anyone can write virtually whatever he or she wants, it seems odd that someone would take the time to express their offense to what was written... especially on a blog like yours which suggests a fun-loving adventurer willing to step out of the box of conformity for the sake of doing something different. Perhaps it's no different than the political banter that besieged Facebook news feeds for the past few months. Then again, as a reader, it's our choice to keep reading or stop and move on. The writer has expressed the right to the freedom of speech. The reader sometimes forget that there's an unwritten right to read.

    I don't live in Boystown, but have been there several times. In fact it's almost a day trip or overnight excursion for me to go to Boystown because I hate driving distances and the trains aren't convenient. I'm not someone who fancies driving 90 minutes to party and carry on, only to have to drive 90 minutes home afterward. Add up to 45 minutes each way if I take the Metra and CTA.

    To you as the virtual owner of your blog and your experiences, I say: write what you want how you want and when you want in your blog. I wouldn't recommend doing the same if you write in channels specifically targeting audiences without filtering what you write. But a blog is a blog for a reason.

    You don't need professional writing skills, auto-correct skills, correcting auto-correct error skills, or even an education. If you have any or all of these, great. Too many words? Not a problem. That's when the right to read should be enacted. Stereotypes? Too bad. They are what they are and everyday we all perpetuate at least one. Will that make you stop rocking your hoops or eating Popeye's? No, and it shouldn't. Can you walk up to me and call me Gurl... maybe. Depends on just how fabulous you and your shoes are, Miss Thing.

    Thanks for providing me with more entertainment than I ever expected this evening by reading through blog posts.

    BTW, I haven't proofread this post for errors, including but not limited to missing words, misspelled words, auto-corrected errors, or trailing thoughts. Because I don't have to. I can end sentences wi prepositions if I want. It's a blog comment, after all.

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    In reply to David Foxx:

    Thanks so much for your comment and I don't think it's too wordy at all. I love it! I think its the best comment I've gotten yet. I'm glad you noticed some of the same things I noticed with both articles, I do think it was a non-mole hill as well. I was really trying to channel my inner Carrie Bradshaw when writing this article, it had never occurred to me that there would be a problem. I never knew that Boystown had an issue with straight women at all. I had always had nothing but great times there and I had to realize that the way I look at Boystown is different from the screen that other patrons see it. I just think that emotions have been brewing for some time and I just happen to be the convenient punching bag to take it out on. I just wanted to know there were wonderful people like yourself that could read pass the surface and see the innocence behind it. I am thankful that your iPad randomly sent you my way on this big thing called the internet.

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    BTW (part 2): I like to write also, in case that wasn't apparent from my comment above. :)

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