Tuesday, July 9, 2013

T's Bar and Restaurant

T's Bar and Restaurant interior
T's Bar and Grill 

Location: 5025 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Opened: 2001

Closed: March 2013

Here's an undated review of T's from Chicago Reader:

T's is a little of everything: a casual neighborhood bar, a sports bar (if there's a game on), and the closest thing Chicago's got to a lesbian bar. It's not exactly a beer bar, especially given the recent explosion of places with extensive tap lists, but they do specialize in double pints and variations on the Black & Tan like the Black & Blue (Blue Moon and Guinness) and the Black Magic (Magic Hat and Guinness). The food's better than average for a watering hole, with plenty of vegetarian and healthy options—balanced by stuff like garlic mayo fries and mozzarella sticks for those whose arteries need a little clogging.

"The closest thing Chicago's got to a lesbian bar"? But not not a real bonafide lesbian bar? 

More research was obviously necessary. 

It seems that T's conformed to a very old pattern commonly seen in women's spaces and lesbian spaces in particular: the "front" was dominated by the straights/gay males, while the "backroom" was conceded to the lesbians. 
T's Bar and Restaurant

Yelp has a variety of customer reviews which confirm this spatial arrangement to one degree or another.

From R.J. W., May 2007:

The perfect neighborhood bar in a great eclectic neighborhood.  From biker chicks to folks with kids, this is the perfect melting pot....

They have a girl's bar in back.  But I always felt welcomed. No attitude is the perfect description of T's.

From Erika G., June 2008:

Great place, great energy.The back bar was girls, girls, girls, but the other areas were mixed with all sorts of people. I got sort of a "beach bar" vibe from the back part, not sure why - but I really liked it, and will be back. The drinks were well poured, and the nibbles of food I snuck from two of the people in our party - well, I want to come back for more of that!!

From Yvonne B., February 2012: 

T's definitely holds it's own as a restaurant and bar. In fact, the surprisingly good food lands T's in the top 10% of it's class. Solid. What sets it apart (at least in my mind), is that it's my favorite lezzie hang-out.

Complete with good eats, yummy drinks, and a pool table, what more could a girl ask for? Oh yeah - that's right. Women! It's just a relaxed place to go and it seems as if everyone loves it. Although I haven't necessarily seen kiddos at T's, I've definitely seen all other types....

The front portion of T's has an expansive bar, but it definitely feels more like a restaurant with the good lighting from the large windows. The back portion is a spacious den: another bar, dim lighting, pool table, and a juke box to play some Melissa Etheridge as many times as you can afford.

From Iliana C., October 2008:

Great lesbian bar!  Walking by it we thought it was just a restaurant but then you get to the back and see the lovely sea of lesbians and alcohol.  I was told this was the place to be on Saturdays.  I wish they had a place like this in California.

Of course, there were always the complainers: 

From Kellie K., July 2009:

T's is just that.  It's a place that I often forget about.  Not because it's forgettable, however it's not really memorable either.  I will say that it's significant to have a decent place in the neighborhood for the girl-girl crowd to congregate.  With that said, T's is also friendly and welcoming for everyone.  The typical crowd at T's tends to be clique-ish, but I don't fault the place for that at all.

From Shannon K., October 2012: 

It's a lesbian bar, which as a lesbian I adore, but what I didn't adore was the bitchy ass lesbians who didn't want to share the pool table. I was informed the table was theirs for their night. Um ok. Who said so? Am I missing an unwritten (or written) rule that says first lesbians to claim the table own said table for the remainder of the night? Please advise.

From Nhung T., September 2011:

I have no idea why some Chicagons recommended this bar. Literally on a Sunday night it was full of Lesbians and it was dead. I have nothing against them because I have a few gay/lesbians friends, but I wanted to mingle. Get to know the crowd and have some fun. It was so low keyed, literally we took one shot, stayed for a little bit and just left.

But there were also loyal fans: 

From Stephanie H., August 2009:

T's is a friendly, laid back neighborhood, predominantly lesbian bar/restaurant. There's a pool table, a large outdoor seating area, a great jukebox, excellent food (turkey burgers!), and cuties running amok. What more could you want?

Chicago Bar Project also gave T's a great review: 

There aren't enough good things that I can say about T's Bar & Restaurant. I'm usually not a huge fan of gay bars and come from a city unlike Chicago where they're all pretty much the same and geared towards gay men. Instead, T's is all about the ladies! Whether you're there to play or just observe, you will not be disappointed with the selection.

Located at the southeast corner of Clark Street and Winnemac Avenue in Andersonville, T's is a lesbian's dream when it comes to eye candy—I swear that all of the city's attractive lesbians can be found at T's on any night of the week. T's front room is used as the restaurant area and also has a full-size bar. The back room sports a jukebox, pool table, smaller bar, and some tables but is mostly an open space meant for the crowds that pack the place on weekends. In summer months T's offers a huge outdoor patio that is often packed full, leaving the inside of T's almost empty. On any given night, and especially weekends, T's is typically 90% women with 10% being the gay men who love them. However, the quality of food attracts straight couples during the quieter weekday nights when T's mostly acts as a restaurant.

Unfortunately, T's ran into problems paying the rent, and they were evicted by their landlord earlier this year. See here and here

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