Chicago House recently had an opportunity to sit down with Michael Quinlan, the Owner and Beer Director of Links Taproom, to thank him for his recent $10,000 donation and learn about what motivates him to give back to the community:
Chicago House: How long have you been in Chicago?
Michael: I was born and raised in the suburbs (Oak Brook) but have lived in the city proper for 16 years now.
Chicago House: What has your experience with the LGBTQ community been like in Chicago?
Michael: My experience has been a very positive one overall. I was blessed enough to make some lifelong friends right away after I came out out when I was about 20. In addition, it was incredible and influential to me some of these friends are older couples who have been in relationships for decades and have since married. While I appreciate the community and close-knitedness of the LGBTQ community and have certainly immersed myself in it past and present, I think it is amazing to be able to just “be” in society in general. I personally don’t think many people were able to do that here as recently as a generation or two ago.
Michael: I think almost everyone, at least in the back of their mind, dreams to open a bar or restaurant, and I was no different. My fiancee, Lee, and I really fell in the love with the Craft Beer movement, and everything it entailed. It was after a trip out to the Pacific NW and Northern California (Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco) that we decided to focus our energy on making our dreams into reality. I was fortunate enough to know Cary Michael, who is my Operating Partner at Links. Without him, none of this would be possible.
Chicago House: How did you come up with the concept for your fundraiser?
Michael: Quite simply, I was pissed off. I was shocked and saddened on so many different personal levels, not only from the Orlando tragedy, but those before and after, that I felt compelled to do something, anything, to put love and positivity out into the world. I think we get wrapped up in negativity and forget how much good there actually is in the world. Good is still winning.
Michael: The LGBTQ community has never historically been able to rely on anyone but themselves to advance their goals of equal treatment under the law, and acceptance into mainstream society. We have begun to overcome hate and fear others have of who we are and what they think we represent vs. what we actually represent. Simply put, the more we love and understand one another, the easier it is for others to love and understand us. It still amazes me to see how far we have come in the last few decades, but we still have so much work to do.
Chicago House: How can other individuals make a difference in the community?
Michael: I think by realizing any act of love and positivity, no matter how small one may perceive it to be, is a step in the right direction. The most important acts are the ones that happen every hour of every day, and aren’t celebrated. Everyone has something to give back to their community, and we are no different.
Make sure to stop by Links Taproom next time you’re in Wicker Park or make a special trip when you’re in the mood for a craft beer and some gourmet sausage!