Sidetrack marks 35 years, commemorates with successful anniversary party

Tue. June 20, 2017 8:09 AM by Ross Forman

Chicago, IL - Sidetrack celebrated 35 years as an anchor of Chicago's LGBT community at the annual Anniversary Party, held Thursday night, June 15, at the popular Boystown bar.

More than 2,400 attended over the course of the night.

"As (Sidetrack co-owner) Art (Johnston) mentioned during his comments (at the party), when Sidetrack opened the average lifespan of a gay bar was two years. Well, 35 years later, it's great to celebrate the community that made Sidetrack what it is today," said Sidetrack general manager Brad Balof. "(The party) was a great celebration of 35 years of Pride for Sidetrack and the LGBTQ community."

The event included food from Wrigley BBQ, Chubby Wieners, and The Slide Ride. There were a wide variety of prize give-aways, including tickets from Broadway In Chicago, Sound-Off Fashion design packages, an entry into the annual Proud to Run 2017 event, and more.

There were $2 well cocktails and $2.50 frozens and other drinks.

Dixie Lynn Cartwright was the evening's host, along with her sexy camp counselor, Jake – and the two handed out buttons and magnets to commemorate the 35 years of pride.

Lori Cannon and her army of volunteers with Heartland Alliance collected toiletries, donations and more at the door. 

"One moment that stuck out to me was a video created by one of our video editors, Russell," Balof said. "It was a look back at the memories and staff of the last 35 years. It was a very touching moment for many of the staff and regulars to remember those we used to work with, some of whom aren't with us anymore."

Balof added, "We loved having Glitter Guts with us to take pictures of the staff and guests."

Sidetrack's float at this Sunday's Chicago Pride Parade will be bright-colored and focused on spreading a message of love, "which is something we can all use in the current political climate," Balof said.

Sidetrack, er, Camp Sidetrack has been a festive addition over the past month or so to the north-side bar. Camp Sidetrack has brought new décor and parties to the video bar, anchored by Troop Leader Dixie Lynn Cartwright, and of course, sexy Camp Counselors.

Sunday Funday Merit Badges have been the rage.

Balof said Camp Sidetrack has been going great. "Everywhere you look in the bar there are little nods to camp theme," he said. "They are so clever and well thought out. Matthew Harvat and his team, (including) Edwin, David and Sean have done a remarkable job with this décor and theme ...and there's still more to come."

For the latest Sidetrack news, visit the bar's website:

View more photos from the party