On the outside, Granville Anvil appears another neighborhood, hole-in-the-wall haunt. Step inside, and discover a gay bar dubbed the "Cheers of the gay world" by frequent-visitor Kevin. Everyone knows everyone at this Loyola-area gathering place.
On slow nights, you'll notice a hole in the ceiling and stacks of old boxes and booklets. Add to that a few helium tanks planted beside the wall and the place begins to resemble your grandfather's basement-only your grandfather's got a secret. Pencil-sketches of hairy men-one with an anvil-spot the walls. The bar trades in trophy deer heads for two trophy penises over the bathroom. And near the entrance, you'll find framed photos of drag queens; you can almost see them spinning around the stripper poles positioned on each end of the S-shaped bar.
Broken off as it is from the Boystown strip, the bar caters to several straight couples and Loyola students apart from the local gays. Casual dress appears the norm; looking around, it's almost easy to forget you're in a gay bar. That is, until the jukebox springs to life with a selection of songs fit for a queen: Whitney Houston, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce. Other forms of entertainment include gay porn and occasional improv drag shows.
During summer, retreat to the garden patio, which resembles a squatter home you'd find in a Sao Paulo favela, minus the wandering chickens. Beyond the fence lies a parking lot for customers, although Kevin recommends drinking and stumbling home as opposed to driving.
Join Stephen at the bar and have him pour you a beer on draft ($1.75). On slow nights, he'll offer you pizza he purchased from the bar's sister-business, Gino's North. Drink specials abound daily ($1-$4.50). Cash only.
Centerstage Reviewer: David-Anthony Gonzalez