Forget the age of Aquarius, it’s the age of Tinder—long live the swipe! Or for those of you still doing it the old fashioned way of meeting people at work, or dare we say, in bars—we all need good date night spots. What constitutes a good date night place? Ample people watching (in case the conversation stalls and you need material), good lighting, and nothing too noisy—no one likes close-talking and shouting when you aren’t that familiar.
An oasis in the Gold Coast, where pretension and high prices reign supreme, Sparrow is a shotgun-style bar that has been restored after 75 years as an apartment building. The bar offers a rum-forward list of cocktails, plus a fine list of old-school classics at this soft spoken cocktail lounge. On the plus side, if things do progress to dinner, you are in walking distance to many fine establishments.
Photo courtesy of Sparrow
West Loop’s own faux dive bar, Lone Wolf is hipper than your neighborhood taproom, complete with Three Floyds beer on draft and clever cocktails. The interior has burgundy booths, and lounge-style tables surround the sizeable bar, which is ideal for people-watching. The place’s modestly upscale feel attracts anyone out in the West Loop neighborhood looking for a solid drink at a reasonable price.
Photo courtesy of Lone Wolf
Bars with activities are a great way to mix up retelling your life story at a barstool. The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club landed in Chicago in 2018 from Brooklyn and offers cocktails with a “Florida feel” alongside 11 shuffleboard courts. Whether you want to play or be a spectator, The Royal Palms is a great place to shake up the usual date night. They have a rotating cast of food trucks, oversized and regular sized board games, DJs, a roof deck, and of course, shuffleboard to keep you entertained, regardless of if your date is or not.
Photo courtesy of The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club
Downstairs from the historic Green Door Tavern is the refurbished Prohibition-era basement speakeasy known as The Drifter. Enjoy a well made craft cocktail alongside unique entertainment. Every hour or so, the projector playing old-timey belly dancing videos will turn off, the curtains will part, and you’ll be treated to a rotating selection of cabaret acts—all of which dazzle for few minutes before disappearing to let you finish your drink.
Photo courtesy of The Drifter
This vintage jazz club has been infamous in Chicago for the past 80 years. Built over Capone's actual bootlegging tunnels, the lounge features authentic art deco and art nouveau ornamentation, and nightly music acts to match. The Green Mill embraces what they call "sophisticated informality," so don't feel like you must dress to impress.
The Zebra Lounge is a Gold Coast piano bar, where the party and the piano get started every night at 9pm. Located on the ground floor of a residential apartment building in the Gold Coast, The Zebra Lounge is one of the strangest bars you’ll find in the area. Awash in red light and decorated with plenty of zebra print, it definitely does not look like the typical piano bar, but has been beloved by Chicagoans since 1929.
Photo courtesy of The Zebra Lounge