This dingy walk-up is called Second Story for a reason. Its placement above Armenian restaurant Sayat Nova, just a stone's throw from glitzy Michigan Avenue (and next door to an ultra-sleek Gap), gives the dive some charm-not to mention the element of surprise. Not many would expect a tiny gay bar with cheap, stiff drinks to be in this upscale area, and fewer probably enjoy its presence. But if you like getting dirty looks from the suburban mothers strolling by, by all means, head up the rickety carpeted stairs and through a thick door to Second Story Bar.
Upon pushing open that heavy door, it's obvious right away that the sole Second Story action lies at the L-shaped bar, where the clientele is predominantly over 40. The cozy main room doesn't have a whole lot of seating, so your best bet is to snag one of the few barstools. Watch the waiter pour you a dive bar-priced beer, or opt for something stronger; rest assured, it won't be necessary to order quite as many as you usually might. A reddish hue drapes the main room in a velvety light, but those hankering for a more well-lit vibe can head to the stark fluorescent back room, where a table or two offers the uptight among us a bit less of a glossy feel, and, depending on the evening, a bit less PDA.
Centerstage Reviewer: August Evans