Second Story Bar

94% love it
Dark, cruse bar downtown
This dingy dive bar with is up a flight of stairs, away from the upscale shopping strip below.
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    • Chaud002
      Chaud002 Over a year ago
      Loves it

      dark and dicey
      After a day of shopping on Michigan avenue I love coming here for a strong Drink, and maybe more. Very diverse clientele from young to old, and black to white. No judgement zone inside. You never know who might come to this bar. Can be a lot of fun!

    • aes92975
      aes92975 Over a year ago
      Loves it this place!
      Dive is right. Strong drinks, laid back vibe. A must when in Chicago

    • cavalier
      cavalier Over a year ago
      Loves it

      Downtown's Best Secret
      I come to this bar every time I'm in Chicago. I love a good, unpretentious, divey gay bar (an endangered species), and Second Story is as good as it gets. This last time I took my husband, who is NOT a dive bar fan. He wasn't loving the fact that the entire bar is smaller than our living room (he has space issues), but after a couple of strong drinks and after noticing how diverse the crowd was (old men, young boys, big lesbians, lipstick lesbians, etc), he let his hair down and had a great time.

    • rb60614
      rb60614 Over a year ago

      Fun bar but too cold
      Fun vibe and crowd, stong drinks, good music ; but it's always way too cold ... bartenders keep the air on cold because they are hot behind the bar. Hint: when your customers are donning their winter coats, it might be time to think of their comfort vs your own

    • 77
      77 Over a year ago
      Loves it

      small local gay bar
      Strong drinks, cheap. Nice mix of people, retail queens to millionaires in business

    • geoff1985
      geoff1985 Over a year ago
      Hates it

      Had a good time the first time I visited, second time waited at the bar for a while and the bartenders couldn't be bothered to ask if I wanted a drink, so I left.

    • SummerLovers
      SummerLovers Over a year ago
      Loves it

      Hidden secret just off Chicago's Magnificent Mile
      Classic old school gay bar full of friendly locals. It's not glamorous by any means, but nice to be in a bar that hasn't lost it's original charm. Cheap and stiff drinks, a perfect stop after shopping along Michigan Avenue. It's also a cool place if you're downtown working and don't want to cab into Boystown. This place and the Downtown Bar a few blocks away are convenient for having a gay experience in the heart of downtown Chicago.

    • jookman8
      jookman8 Over a year ago
      Loves it

      Go there
      It's not a large bar, but what it has over the bars in boystown is you can actually have a conversation there. Drinks are great and same price as boystown. It can only fit about 35 people there, but so what. The crowd is very diverse and friendly. I found it to be very fun and fresh. Not going to win any awards for decor though... LOL

    • nakedjerry
      nakedjerry Over a year ago
      Loves it

      Straight from the office on N MI
      Only place in this top shopping neighborhood

    • rainbowrhl
      rainbowrhl Over a year ago
      Hates it

      Lively Bar
      Went on a holiday night (Labor Day) and was told about this bar. Was skepital about it when I saw it, but was pleasantly surprised inside. Bartender was good, music was Fantastic, and there was an assortment of guys with varied ages. Definitely a pick-up bar. On the way out, 2 guys on stairs making out.

    • MrNickler
      MrNickler Over a year ago
      Loves it

      The tiniest of all Chicago Gay Bars
      It was my plan to attend a Cocoa programing user group at the Michigan Ave Apple store one evening after work. The group started at 7:00pm, but I got off work at 4:20pm. I decided to stay downtown until the group started which left a few hours to kill. Before I left work I Googled "gay bars in the 60601." I was presented with two choices, the Baton (which I had previously visited) and the Second Story Bar. I read a review by August Evans at for the Second Story Bar: "This dingy walk-up is called Second Story for a reason. Its placement above Armenian restaurant Sayat Nova, just a stone's throw from glitzy Michigan Avenue (and next door to an ultra-sleek Gap), gives the dive some charm-not to mention the element of surprise. Not many would expect a tiny gay bar with cheap, stiff drinks to be in this upscale area, and fewer probably enjoy its presence. But if you like getting dirty looks from the suburban mothers strolling by, by all means, head up the rickety carpeted stairs and through a thick door to Second Story Bar." The review seemed intriguing, it was located close to the Apple Store, and I had the free time I decided to go. Upon arriving I became unexpectedly nervous; Evan's description hit the scene to a T. To enter the bar you ascend a flight of rickety carpeted steps to the second floor (hence the name) and you are presented with a huge metal door. This isn't your average looking door, think of a door used for a large walk in meat locker and then you have the idea. When I entered the door, I was surprised by how tiny this bar was. I can't stress the minuscule size enough. The bartenders ice maker is not even behind the bar or in a back room. There is simply no space for a back room so the ice machine is in the commons area and the bar tender takes one full step from his bar and then is able to fill his ice chest. I wouldn't imagine the space was able to hold more than 30 or 40 people at its maximum capacity. I decided to order a vodka gimlet; one of my staple drinks. I find a gimlet a good test of a bartender's skill. It seems like a simple drink to make with only two ingredients, but can be easily spoiled by a novice bartender. Next drink up was the Skinny Girl Margarita ®. In my experience, this drink is rarely made by others to my satisfaction. Interestingly enough, both the gimlet and the margarita came out great. The drinks were both stiff and cheap, my favorite combination. For the most part the crowd was older and was juxtaposed against a young fit bartender. Again, I was still very nervous, and the thought had occurred to me that this might not really be a bar but a cover for some other elicit activity. I wasn't there long before people started introducing themselves to me. I noticed this wasn't the normal sleazy gay bar introduction. After the normal name exchanges the patrons were all quick to mention how the group was like a family and after spending a few hours there I agreed. This bar is not your normal high-end uber trendy downtown Chicago bar. In fact, this bar seems to be from a previous generation when being gay wasn't the safest lot in life, and gay bars had to be low profile in order to survive. For me, Second Story Bar is about a great crowd and cheap drinks. I plan to make this one of my afterwork haunts. Mr. Nickler

    • discodolly
      discodolly Over a year ago
      Loves it

      Tiny but fun.
      A tiny space above an Armenian restaurant. It's a convenient spot to grab a drink (or two) after shopping on the Mag Mile. I find the crowd friendly and a mix of ages and types.