Chicago, known for its vibrant LGBTQ+ community and diverse culinary scene, is a welcoming destination for solo travelers seeking inclusive dining experiences. For LGBTQ+ individuals traveling alone, finding restaurants that not only embrace their identity but also offer a comfortable and inviting atmosphere is crucial.
In this blog post, we will explore the best LGBTQ+ friendly restaurants in Chicago, specifically catering to solo travelers. Whether you’re visiting Boystown, Andersonville, Lakeview, Pilsen, or Rogers Park, we’ve got you covered with a variety of dining options that celebrate diversity and ensure a memorable culinary journey.
Boystown is widely recognized as the first officially recognized gay village in the United States. As such, it boasts an array of LGBTQ friendly restaurants that welcome solo travelers with open arms. Here are some top picks:
1. Nookies Tree
Nookies Tree offers a cozy and welcoming environment for solo diners in Boystown. With its bar seating arrangement and friendly staff, this restaurant provides an ideal spot to enjoy delicious comfort food while striking up conversations with fellow patrons.
Known for its mouthwatering vegetarian and vegan dishes, The Chicago Diner is a haven for those seeking plant-based options in Boystown. Its lively atmosphere and communal seating make it easy to connect with other solo travelers while relishing the diverse menu offerings.
3. Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club
For an unforgettable dining experience filled with entertainment and glamour, head over to Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club. This iconic venue features drag performances alongside delectable cuisine, making it perfect for solo travelers looking to immerse themselves in Chicago’s vibrant LGBTQ+ culture.
Located in the heart of Boystown, this LGBTQ+ owned and operated cafe offers a cozy atmosphere and delicious coffee and pastries. It’s the perfect spot for solo travelers to relax with a good book or strike up conversations with other book-lovers.
5. D.S. Tequila Company
This popular restaurant and bar is a must-visit for solo travelers in Boystown. With its lively atmosphere and delicious Tex-Mex fare, D.S. Tequila Company is known for its welcoming environment and communal seating, making it easy to strike up conversations with others while enjoying a tasty meal.
6. Replay Lakeview
For those looking for a fun and unique solo dining experience, look no further than Replay Lakeview. This retro arcade bar offers a wide selection of craft beers and cocktails, along with classic arcade games to keep you entertained while you enjoy your meal.
7. The Leigh Gallery
Not only is The Leigh Gallery a great spot for solo travelers to peruse and purchase art pieces from local LGBTQ+ artists, but it also offers various events and workshops for visitors to participate in. This is a great opportunity to connect with other creatives and learn new skills while supporting the LGBTQ+ community.
8. Roscoe’s Tavern
A trip to Boystown isn’t complete without a visit to Roscoe’s Tavern. This iconic bar and nightclub features drag shows, karaoke nights, and a variety of themed parties throughout the week. It’s a great place to let loose and have some fun while mingling with other LGBTQ+ travelers and locals.
9. R Public House
For those looking for a more low-key spot to grab a drink or meal, R Public House is the perfect choice. This neighborhood bar offers a cozy atmosphere and a wide selection of craft beers and pub-style food. And with its friendly staff and regulars, it’s a great spot to strike up conversations with other solo travelers or locals.
Known as one of the best LGBTQ+ bars in Boystown, Sidetrack is a popular spot for solo travelers looking to have a good time.
Andersonville is another neighborhood renowned for its LGBTQ+ inclusivity and charming dining establishments. Here are a couple of LGBTQ+ friendly restaurants in Andersonville that cater to solo travelers:
1. Hamburger Mary’s
Hamburger Mary’s is not your average burger joint. With its lively atmosphere, drag brunches, and mouthwatering menu options, this restaurant offers solo travelers the perfect opportunity to enjoy a fun-filled dining experience while mingling with locals and fellow visitors.
2. Big Jones
Known for its Southern-inspired cuisine, Big Jones provides a cozy and inviting ambiance for solo diners in Andersonville. The restaurant’s commitment to sourcing sustainable ingredients and its welcoming staff ensure an exceptional dining experience for all patrons.
3. Lady Gregory’s
For a taste of Ireland in Andersonville, head to Lady Gregory’s. This gastropub serves up delicious Irish fare and boasts an extensive beer selection. With its warm and friendly atmosphere, it’s the perfect spot for solo travelers to enjoy a hearty meal while chatting with locals.
4. Bar Roma
Italian food lovers will feel right at home at Bar Roma, a cozy restaurant serving up traditional Italian dishes with a modern twist. The friendly staff and intimate atmosphere make it an ideal spot for solo travelers to enjoy a delicious meal in Andersonville.
5. Casbah Cafe
For a taste of the Mediterranean, stop by Casbah Cafe in Andersonville. This charming cafe offers a variety of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes, as well as a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Solo travelers can sit back and relax while enjoying delicious food and soaking in the neighborhood’s vibrant culture.
6. Hopleaf Bar
Beer enthusiasts will love Hopleaf Bar, a popular spot in Andersonville known for its impressive selection of craft beers. With its cozy indoor bar area and spacious outdoor patio, solo travelers can enjoy a cold brew while mingling with locals or catching up on some reading.
The bar also offers tasty bites to pair with your beer for a well-rounded dining experience.
Although the restaurant scene in Andersonville may be smaller compared to other Chicago neighborhoods, it certainly does not lack in diversity and quality. From Southern comfort food to Irish pub fare, there’s something for every solo traveler to enjoy in this charming and eclectic neighborhood.
So if you find yourself exploring Andersonville, be sure to stop by these delicious and welcoming restaurants for a taste of the local flavors. And who knows, you may just make some new friends along the way! Cheers to tasty eats and great company in Andersonville.
Lakeview, nestled next to Boystown, is another neighborhood brimming with LGBTQ+ friendly establishments. Here are a couple of standout restaurants where solo travelers can comfortably dine:
Wood is a trendy eatery in Lakeview that offers an inclusive environment for solo diners. With its communal seating arrangements and delectable farm-to-table dishes, this restaurant provides an excellent opportunity to meet new people while savoring delicious food.
2. The Bagel Restaurant & Deli
For those seeking a taste of traditional Jewish deli fare, The Bagel Restaurant & Deli is a must-visit spot in Lakeview. Its warm and inviting atmosphere, along with its wide range of menu options, ensures that solo travelers feel right at home.
3. The Gundis Kurdish Kitchen
This family-owned restaurant serves up authentic and flavorful Kurdish cuisine in a cozy, intimate setting. Solo travelers can enjoy the warm hospitality of the owners while indulging in dishes such as lamb kebabs and savory stews.
4. Nookies Too
For a classic American breakfast or brunch experience, Nookies Too is the perfect spot for solo travelers. Their extensive menu, featuring dishes like fluffy pancakes and hearty omelets, will surely satisfy any craving.
5. Tango Sur
Tango Sur brings a taste of Argentina to Lakeview with its mouthwatering steaks and empanadas. The cozy and intimate atmosphere makes it an ideal spot for solo travelers looking for a delicious meal and lively conversation.
6. Gino’s East
No visit to Chicago is complete without trying the city’s famous deep dish pizza, and Gino’s East in Lakeview is a top spot to do just that. With its communal seating and friendly staff, solo travelers can enjoy a slice of cheesy goodness while embracing the bustling atmosphere.
Pilsen, known for its vibrant art scene and diverse culture, also offers LGBTQ+ friendly restaurants that warmly welcome solo travelers. Here are two notable options:
1. Dusek’s Board & Beer
Dusek’s Board & Beer combines an inviting atmosphere with a delectable menu featuring seasonal American cuisine. Solo travelers can sit at the bar or communal tables, enjoying their meal while soaking up the artistic ambiance of Pilsen.
2. Taqueria El Milagro
If you’re in the mood for authentic Mexican cuisine, Taqueria El Milagro is a must-visit restaurant in Pilsen. With its friendly staff and vibrant atmosphere, this spot provides a comfortable setting for solo travelers to indulge in mouthwatering tacos and other traditional dishes.
Rogers Park Restaurants
Rogers Park, located on the far north side of Chicago, offers an array of LGBTQ+ friendly restaurants that cater to solo travelers. Here are two standout options:
1. Heartland Cafe
Heartland Cafe has been a pillar of the Rogers Park community for decades. This beloved establishment not only serves delicious food but also hosts events and live performances that create a lively and welcoming atmosphere for solo diners.
2. Charmers Cafe
Charmers Cafe is a cozy coffee shop by day and a wine bar by night. Solo travelers can relax with their favorite beverage while enjoying the warm ambiance and striking up conversations with locals or fellow visitors.
Chicago’s LGBTQ+ friendly restaurants offer an impressive variety of cuisines to cater to diverse palates. Whether you’re craving American comfort food, international flavors, or health-conscious options, these establishments have got you covered. Here are some examples:
- Crisp: Known for its mouthwatering Korean fried chicken, Crisp offers a unique blend of Korean and American flavors that will leave your taste buds wanting more.
- Takito Street: If you’re in the mood for Mexican street food with a modern twist, Takito Street is the place to be. Their creative taco offerings and bold flavors are sure to impress.
- Kal’ish Vegan: For plant-based comfort food done right, Kal’ish Vegan is an excellent choice. Indulge in their vegan burgers, sandwiches, and hearty breakfast options without compromising on taste or quality.
Tips for Solo Dining
While exploring Chicago’s LGBTQ+ friendly restaurants as a solo traveler, here are a few tips to enhance your dining experience:
- Engage with the staff: The restaurant staff can be a great resource for recommendations and local insights. Strike up conversations and let them guide you through their menu offerings.
- Try new dishes: Solo dining is the perfect opportunity to step out of your culinary comfort zone. Explore unfamiliar flavors and embrace the chance to discover exciting new dishes.
- Embrace the experience: Dining alone allows you to immerse yourself fully in your surroundings. Take in the ambiance, observe fellow diners, and enjoy the moment of solitude.
Healthy Eating Options
For solo travelers seeking healthier dining options, several LGBTQ+ friendly restaurants in Chicago prioritize dietary-conscious menus. Here are some notable choices:
- Chicago Raw: If you’re looking for raw, vegan, and gluten-free options, Chicago Raw has got you covered with its range of nutritious smoothies, juices, salads, and raw desserts.
- Handlebar: Handlebar offers vegetarian and vegan comfort food made from locally sourced ingredients. Indulge in their hearty bowls, sandwiches, and creative brunch options while staying true to your dietary preferences.
Inclusivity and Hospitality
When choosing LGBTQ+ friendly restaurants as a solo traveler, it’s essential to prioritize establishments that foster inclusivity and hospitality for all patrons. By supporting these restaurants, you contribute to creating an environment where everyone feels welcome and respected.
Getting around Chicago is relatively easy thanks to its efficient public transportation system. The city offers buses and trains that can take you directly to various neighborhoods where these LGBTQ+ friendly restaurants are located. Utilize apps like Google Maps or transit guides available at visitor centers to plan your journeys seamlessly.
Chicago sets the stage for unforgettable culinary adventures for solo travelers within its LGBTQ+ friendly neighborhoods. From the vibrant energy of Boystown to the artistic charm of Pilsen, and everything in between, Chicago’s diverse dining scene has something to offer for everyone.
Embrace the inclusive atmosphere, engage with fellow diners and staff, and savor the delicious flavors that await you in this stunning city. So, whether you’re a solo traveler seeking new experiences or a seasoned adventurer looking to expand your culinary horizons, make sure to explore these LGBTQ+ friendly restaurants during your visit to Chicago.