On any given weekend night there will be a crowd of people leaving Spin late at night and walking a few blocks north to Roscoe’s where shirts are optional and partying is not. There’s no question that it’s an LGBTQ+ friendly bar, but if you’re a straight woman you will most likely be welcomed with open arms by the gay men who would love to ogle you.
I stopped by Roscoe’s on a Saturday afternoon to take pictures and almost didn’t even recognize the place. I thought just for a moment that maybe they had remodeled, then I reminded myself that the only times I’ve been to Roscoe’s is when it’s packed full of people. I was pleasantly surprised at how laid back the atmosphere was. There were about a dozen people or so just hanging out and having a few drinks, two concepts I didn’t know were possible at Roscoe’s. On the busiest nights, drinks are being slammed left and right and no one is there to just hang out and chat. I also think this may have been the first time I noticed the bar’s décor. Local artwork covers one of the walls, and brick walls separate the tavern into different rooms offering more service bars, dance floors and a pool table. I will say the layout is a bit odd, and would work much better if it was a wide open space instead of sectioned off rooms. The layout has never been a concern of mine because the music at Roscoe’s is a delightful distraction. The mixes are always good, and the city’s best DJ’s can be seen there throughout the week.
What amazes me about Roscoe’s is that even when they are packed so full, you may wonder if they are breaking any fire codes, you still don’t have to wait long for a drink. I’m not sure if their bartenders take classes on how to serve dozens of people at one time, all while people are screaming, yelling, dancing, and throwing money at them, but they pull it off. My only complaint is that drinks can sometimes be on the weak side but I cut them some slack since they are serving about 10 people every 30 seconds on busy nights. Also, they aren’t the friendliest bartenders, but who can really blame them?
Pitchers of Stoli Lemonade is the bar favorite and trust me when I say that I have had to take a break from lemonade after nights of downing a few pitchers but it’s well worth it and I have many fond memories of Roscoe’s all while sharing pitchers with my friends. In fact, every day of the week, Roscoe’s has a different pitcher on special. The bar has so many drink specials for every night of the week, I could write an entire article on it so to save time a full list can be seen above. I do have to mention my personal fave: double Bloody Marys on Sundays, it doesn’t get any better then that on a Sunday afternoon. The bar does serve food, but with a number of great restaurants just around the corner, I would pick one of those over eating at Roscoe’s but, if you’re there and need a quick bite, you’ll definitely be satisfied with one of their basic sandwiches or burgers.
No-shirt policies do not exist at Roscoe’s. Actually, I think it might be a requirement to be shirtless (if you are a man that is) at Roscoe’s, especially if you are dancing. Although, it gets so hot in the bar sometimes, I have been tempted to take my own shirt off. In addition to shirtless eye candy for all the gay men, Roscoe’s always has some event going on. Drag queen shows, including performances by bar favorite Miss Foozie, You’re the Star karaoke Wednesday nights, and a wet boxer contest the last Thursday of each month are the popular events. The next big event at Roscoe’s is Gays Got Talent on March 3rd. Bar patrons can watch Chicago’s best LGBTQ+ talent sing and dance for a chance to make it to the finals and eventually be crowned Chicago’s Most Talented Gay.
If I could sum up Roscoe’s in one sentence, I think back to a review I was reading of Roscoe’s and the first line in the review was, “Hmm, I’m bored, I think I’ll head to Roscoe’s and have sex with a tourist.” And then I remembered fondly when my friend was visiting and he did just that after a night of partying at Roscoe’s. For more information, check out the Roscoe’s website – not to be confused with our friends at the Chicago work uniform company.