BY TAYLOR WADE
We scoured through Anthony Bourdain's The Layover and No Reservations episodes and carefully handpicked our favorite Chicago venues for crafting the perfect date night. Tony's culinary and cultural aptitude combined with Ambiance's dating expertise is sure to give you all of the necessities for a great date experience.
Chicago Tribune contributor Mark Caro takes Tony to one his favorite drinking holes in Chicago, The Hideout. This gem is located on a hidden street shared with another Ambiance favorite, Ada Street (which makes for a FANTASTIC date night combination, just saying). The Hideout is self-described as a "regular bar for irregular folks who just don’t fit in, or just don’t want to fit in." It's much more than a bar though – they have a charming live music venue where you can see local favorites such as The Oh My's (caution: the lead singer's voice might seduce your date).
Address: 1354 West Wabansia, Chicago, IL 60642
CHICAGO ARCHITECTURAL BOAT TOAR
This boat tour gives visitors a fascinating history and architectural lesson through downtown Chicago. It’s also probably the best way to see the city, and Tony seemed to enjoy it, so it can't be that bad.
Address: 465 North McClurg Court, Chicago, IL 60611
Tony meets up with Chicago Tribune contributor Mark Caro for dinner at Paul Kahan’s The Publican. An homage to beer, pork and oysters, The Publican's eclectic menu is inspired by simple farmhouse fare in a space evocative of a European beer hall.
Address: 837 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 06067
PUBLICAN QUALITY MEATS
The Publican's sister restaurant is a tad more laid-back and the perfect spot to try meats washed back with good beer. And that's exactly what Tony did when he met up with Paul Kahan at his butcher shop and deli for some charcuterie and beer.
Address: 825 West Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607
No, it’s not just bad spelling of a Spanish restaurant; EL Ideas stands for Elevated Ideas in Cuisine and Dining. The chef, Phillip Foss, has a “question everything” approach, inviting guests into the kitchen for a very interactive, learning experience. We know it doesn’t sound very extravagant that you have to travel to a back alleyway of the Chicago Loop, and if you want to enjoy a dinner libation, you'll have to bring your own bottle in tow, however, you'll be glad once you step inside. The menu features dishes such as Octopus with red onion, caper, and citrus, and if you're still hungry, you can eat your menu.
Address: 2419 West 14th Street
GIRL AND THE GOAT
Owner and Chef, Stephanie Izard, visits local farms used for sourcing the restaurant's ingredients so you can rest assured that your meal will be prepared with the utmost quality while also supporting the local food movement. The menu is divided into three categories – vegetable, fish, and meat – and features wine (which they blend themselves) and beer on tap. Head to the West Loop, just make sure it’s after they open at 4:30pm!
Address: 809 West Randolph St
Chef Bill Kim offers up dumplings, rice, and noodles in this BYOB pan-Asian restaurant located in Avondale. It was voted one of the 50 Best New US Restaurants by Travel + Leisure in 2009 and sticks to its philosophy, "Feed your belly from the heart."
Address: 1400 West Randolph St
Tony travels to Chicago's South Side for 'destination smoked fish' on the Calumet River. Being the fanatic pescatarian that I am, I immediately borrowed a car to drive down to Calumet Fisheries and ordered the smoked salmon, shrimp, and crab cakes, complete with a side of good ole' cole slaw. I was lucky enough to grab one of the only two picnic tables that sit outside the fish shack overlooking the river. I was in heaven.
Address: 3259 East 95th Street, Chicago, IL 60617 US
Happy Village is a great casual, down-to-earth, neighborhood pub to grab a beer and play some ping pong. One single Chicagoan loves it "because hanging out in the beer garden is like hanging out at your cousin's backyard graduation party: plastic furniture, a party tent and the steady hum of a sizable crowd sipping on cans of beer. It's perfect for that get-to-know-you conversation on a late summer afternoon. Oh, and you can have pizza delivered!"
Address: 1059 North Wolcott Avenue
THE GREEN MILL
There aren’t too many cocktail lounges like this around anymore. This legendary jazz and blues club has a sophisticated atmosphere “steeped in the heady sounds of the early 30’s and 40’s”. It was actually patterned after Clark Monroe’s Uptown House in Harlem (as it was during the ’40s). A great place for hitting the dance floor or taking it all in with a strong drink.
Address: 4802 North Broadway Street
LONGMAN & EAGLE
Whether you want to eat, drink, or sleep, this place has it all, including an off-site bar, a pop-up Saturday Sausage Shop, and a pop-up Sunday Donut Shop. The restaurant features local “farm to table” food and consequently, the menu may change daily depending on ingredients. They have an unparalleled whiskey selection (148 selections) and even bio-dynamic wine. Located just near the up and coming trendy neighborhood of Logan Square.
Address: 2657 North Kedzie Avenue
THE DOUGHNUT VAULT
Tony stops by the Doughnut Vault to learn why people wait in line for $3 donuts.
Address: 401 1/2 North Franklin St, Chicago, IL 60654
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