Recommend date spots in Chicago?
December 6, 2005 7:41 PM   Subscribe

I could use some first-hand recommendations for first-date meetup spots in Chicago. Looking for reasonable and interesting places for drinks, dinner, maybe some background entertainment, that foster conversation without shouting. Prefer classy & pleasant vs. trendy and cool. i.e. not looking for dance clubs or meat markets.
posted by Tubes to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Nobody's posted on this so I'll throw out something.

This place used to be cool among the post college set when I was in college (so like 1999): The Map Room. This is a simple bar and I don't think that they have food. Good music that is loud but not too loud to talk. Very nice vibe in there -- cool old atlases and travel books line the walls (in front of the maps of course).

Great place for dinner in Chciago: Mango.

Which is right next door to a place that does not fit your "too trendy / cool" constraint. It's over the top cool. But really pretty chill once you're inside.

Again, take all of these recommendations with a grain of salt. I haven't even set foot in Chicago since 2001.
posted by zpousman at 6:14 AM on December 7, 2005

grrr, typos.
posted by zpousman at 6:15 AM on December 7, 2005

Try surfing Metromix for some different suggestions, since those have ratings and locations.

It all really depends on what exactly you're looking for - The Map Room is a good suggestion. Coffee? Intelligentsia is an old stand-by. You could do the Art Museum or the Field Museum.

Look up some of the threads on AskMe that talk about things to do in Chicago - those suggestions could also work for first-date places.

By your profile, you're from Waukesha, so I'm assuming you'll want to stay on the north side (easier to get to). Lincoln Square has several nice places, including Square Kitchen and La Bocca Della Verita. Also, Bad Dog Tavern and the Grafton Pub have fireplaces in the back half (and good food and drinks). You could do a two-place date - start with wine at the Book Cellar (bookstore that has a small "cafe" where they sell wine by the glass) and then move to one of the other restaurants down the street. It's a nice area, but I'm biased.

All the places I listed are in Metromix, and I think they even have articles on which places are good date places. Take a look.
posted by bibbit at 7:19 AM on December 7, 2005

Jack's or the 404 Wine Bar attached to it on Southport is one of my favorite places. The wine bar would be a great chill, low key date place. Comfy sofas.

Or if you want dinner or even just a great microbrew try Piece in Wicker Park, great thin crust pizza. They make their own beer and it is yummy.
posted by echo0720 at 8:19 AM on December 7, 2005

cru in the gold coast is a reasonably comfortable wine bar (recently went 100% nonsmoking, so not a good bet if either of you will want a smoke to ease the nervousness). i think erwin in boy's town is a good bet, too: fancy food but a low-key neighborhood setting. lemmings where ukranian village meets bucktown is a fun bar (they keep board games behind the counter for patrons to check out) and is usually not too crowded during the week.

it is, however, really hard to make suggestions without more information (price range? neighborhood? weekday? weeknight? lunch?). after all, any tavern would be the wrong "first date" spot for me.
posted by crush-onastick at 8:27 AM on December 7, 2005

As an idea for maybe a second date, or a late-starting first, or a great post-dinner thing to do (it's a ton of fun but not conducive to conversation as it is theater) is to go see Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind at the neofuturarium.

It's 30 plays in 60 minutes, and it's relatively inexpensive ($7 plus whatever you roll on a 6 sided die, if memory serves, so anywhere between $8 and $13). It's creative, it's fun, it's different than your average night out.

I understand you're looking for a low key place to have a conversation, so I will throw out the Pic Me Up cafe in wrigleyville too, but I really wanted to mention Too Much Light... because I think it's a really fun / different thing to do, which makes for a good date.
posted by twiggy at 8:54 AM on December 7, 2005

Thanks gang! You've given me some good starting points. Metromix leads to many possibilities, too.
I'll report back after the weekend...
posted by Tubes at 1:58 PM on December 7, 2005

Here's the update: at her suggestion we started out at Leona's, where we had great calimari, lasagna, herb-crusted salmon, and tiramisu. Also notable was the unobtrusive but very attentive service from all the staff. We were so comfortable we hung out there until they closed.

This weekend I'll have another chance to check out more of the suggestions offered here...
posted by Tubes at 2:31 PM on December 14, 2005

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