Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

Wed. August 27, 2008 12:00 AM
by Feature Column

It used to be in the gay clubbing world of Chicago that Sunday was the night of the week to get AWAY from Boystown in order to get your dancing groove on. It started with "Bent" at Limelight (now Excalibur) in the late 1980s and then proceeded to Bedrock in Lincoln Park, then Cairo (now Club 720) for a couple of successful years in the early 1990s, over to River West at Ka-Boom for a hot mess of a minute, then back to Cairo, then "GLEE Club" @ Crobar for a long ass time, then a blink of a minute to Sound-Bar while Crobar was closed for remodeling, and then back to the "new" Crobar.

Once the second iteration of GLEE Club fizzled a couple of years ago, the Sunday night party crowd wandered aimlessly. But alas, Sundays are back, and like a beacon call to its wayward sons, Boystown is the center of all the action with plenty of fun options along the Halsted Street strip. It's like a professional wrestling "Cage Match" with various entrants all fighting it out; not necessarily to destroy each other and reign supreme, but to get their piece - a big piece at that - of the pie. Here are the contestants in the Sunday Night Halsted Street Battle of the Bars.

The Old-timer: Roscoe's Tavern
Hosted by the one and only Miss Foozie, Sunday night's "Male Call" (sponsored by ChicagoPride.com) has been providing basic pimping services for well more than a decade. While no actual money exchanges hands in what is essentially a live "home game" of Manhunt (but without the dirty pics or false claims of weight, age, height, or size), the exchange of bodily fluids with your admirer at the end of the night is an achievable goal, especially if you and your friends have been getting liquored up on the potent pitchers of Long Island Iced Tea that are a Sunday staple at this Boystown institution. And being the full-service bar that they are, there's music videos featured in the front bar and a hi-energy dance floor in back. Like veterans of most contests, Roscoe's Sunday night prowess may not be flashy, but they know how to play the game with their well-worn party and always seem to come out standing in the end.
Roscoe's, 3356 N. Halsted

The Alternative: Cocktail
Combine a loyal and devoted clientele, friendly bartenders, top-notch house music (with commercial pop remixes kept to a minimum), and HOT "Spank Go-Go Boys", and what you get is Cocktail, considered by many to be the "grooviest" bar on Halsted (whatever that means). Add DJ Pete Augusta's good looks, wicked cool sideburns, and dirty electro house sounds on Sunday nights and what you get is a weekly offering that is deceptively powerful. Once you've been enticed by the sexy Sunday crowd you'll soon be hit with a 1-2 punch combination of the gyrating strippers and Augusta's music (which is routinely augmented by DJ Heather Doble), and then succumb to the sleeper hold, which means weekly returns to Cocktail in order to finish out your weekend.
Cocktail, 3359 N. Halsted

The Flashy: Minibar
Every good contest needs a stylish, trendy, good-looking participant, and at Minibar good looks are in abundance. We could be talking about the interior design of the bar, but who are we kidding, we're mostly talking about the hottest collection of bartenders and servers in the city. OMG! And while the hotties behind the bar surely attract crowds to Minibar on any given night, it's the inventive and unique weekly theme parties that have brought steady flows of traffic through the doors on Sunday nights (a night sponsored by ChicagoPride.com). The most interesting theme may have been "Graffiti Night" when patrons and staff were given plain white t-shirts to wear and then encouraged to use magic markers to write and draw on each other. Long-time Chicago DJing favorite Chris Eterno provides a most pleasing blend of rhythms, melodies, and beats that is sure to ensure that Minibar isn't some flashy flash in the pan, but a Sunday night player to be reckoned with.
Minibar, 3339 N. Halsted

The Kid: Scarlet
Of course there has to be a "wet behind the ears" kid in this story and Scarlet Bar plays that role two-fold. First off it's the new kid on the block, having been around for less than a year, and secondly, its weekly "First Ward Ball" event is the most recent participant to enter into the Sunday night battle on Halsted Street. Like any smart rookie, Scarlet has looked to the past for the key to its future by naming its Sunday night after the legendary party hosted by "Hinky Dink" Kenna & "Bathhouse" John Coughlin (what a name!), the First Ward Chicago Alderman in the early 1900s. Back then the party was infamously known for its drunken debauchery, loose women, and philandering men. Early reports from Scarlet's modern-day version of the party are that not much has changed with dancers prancing on top of the bar, DJs (including Luis M) supplying wicked grooves, and special guest celebrities such as Mini Cher keeping things lively all night long. Only time will tell whether the rookie Scarlet and it's First Ward Ball will have staying power, but so far it has let its fellow Sunday night competitors know it aims to claim that championship belt.
Scarlet, 3320 N. Halsted

Written By DJ Plez
Article provided in partnership with Boi Magazine.