Friday, February 8, 2008

Great First-Date Spots

In my mind, the criteria for a first date with girls of our age and status is pretty clear: Casual enough to alleviate the associated pressure of a first date; filled with plenty of distractions in case he is boring, but not so loud as to prohibit conversation if you feel so inclined to get to know each other; and nice enough that the guy has to put in some degree of effort (and cash) – i.e. no sneakers, jeans, baseball hats, or happy hour specials.

Below are a bunch of great first date dining options that fit the bill. Even if your date’s a dud – your dinner doesn’t have to be!

Adobo Grill, Old Town
Cuisine: Authentic Mexican / Nuevo Latino

This boisterous Mexican spot is an experience for your senses – complete with margaritas that go down like candy! It’s busy enough that you can amuse yourself if your date’s jokes don’t do the trick, but also allows for conversation if you prefer to get to know each other better. And make sure you order the guacamole – they prepare it tableside for your entertainment and palate!

1610 N. Wells St.
Chicago, IL 60614
Phone: 312-266-7999

Luxbar, Gold Coast
Cuisine: Traditional American / Bar Food

Luxbar is a great choice for those who play into the “drinks-first-and-we’ll-see-what-happens” mentality. If you don’t want to commit to a full dinner but would like to keep your options open, LuxBar offers a great upscale Chicago-bar atmosphere for the upwardly mobile, young professional lushes (not to mention the frequently spotted sugar-daddy-arm-candy ensembles) as well as a full menu of delicious appetizers, salads, sandwiches and steaks if your date makes the cut and gets promoted to an entree.

18 E. Bellevue Pl. (Rush & Division)
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: 312-642-3400

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! Lincoln Park
Cuisine: Spanish Tapas

Caring is sharing. Enjoy getting to know each other over shared small plates at this lively Lincoln Park watering hole. They boast a great assortment of unique Latin-inspired cocktails and too many types of Tapas to explore in just one visit. While this restaurant is less expensive than some of the others on this list (depending on how much you drink of course) – I highly recommend you (or, ideally your date) make a reservation and that requires a commitment to date, location and time - a great kick-off to a budding relationship.

2024 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60614
Phone: 773-935-5000

Rumba, River North
Cuisine: Latin Fusion

This is a great date choice and probably the most expensive on my list. The atmosphere is perfect for a fun, sassy dinner while you loosen up over a few tasty mojitos or caipirinhas. Between the live band and infinite influx of interesting-looking patrons you’ll never be at a loss for entertainment or conversation starters. If the date is going well, you can stay after dinner and dance the night away to some sexy Latin beats. You know what they say about how a person dances… talk about killing two birds with one stone.

351 W. Hubbard St.
Chicago, IL 60610
Phone: 312-222-1228

Rosebud, River North
Cuisine: Italian

For the more subdued set, Rosebud is a great standby for delicious Italian food, lively atmosphere and flattering lighting (girls, you know what I mean). Enjoy a cocktail or two with an appetizer like the perfectly crisp calamari and then sink your teeth into any one of their hearty Italian entrees, including a vast assortment of pastas, risottos, Milanese and Parmesan dishes. This is a good choice if you know the company will be good – it’s a bit quieter than the other recommendations and thus, you should prepare to be the primary source of each other’s entertainment.

720 N. Rush St.
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: 312-266-6444

RA Sushi, Near North
Cuisine: Japanese Fusion / Sushi

Personally I think sushi on a first date is bit dicey, but if you must get your raw-on then where better to go than RA. More like a club than a typical sushi restaurant, you can bask in the joys of people-watching as good-looking 20 and 30-somethings clamor to catch up at the bar; indulge in an array of trendy cocktails to take the edge off the work week that is quickly fading into the shadows of Friday night; and show off your adventurous side with an assortment of unique and vibrant cooked and uncooked menu items. If the conversation dwindles, you can always talk about the Crazy Monkey Roll… or pick yourself up a hot replacement at the bar.

1139 N. State St.
Chicago, IL 60610
Phone: 312-274-0011

1 comment:

Sparky said...

Ms. Friedrich, can you please elaborate on what exactly a "girl(s) of our age and status" is. This would greatly help me in laying out my own date plans when the rare occassion comes around?