If you're over 30 and ready to replace the pubs and taverns with more mature hang out spots, you've got options. Yelp's Johnny Todd gives us some top-rated choices for those single in the city.
Yelp (yelp.com) is a website that connects people with great local businesses. Yelp was founded in San Francisco in July Top-Rated Places for Singles over 302004. Since then, Yelp communities have taken root in major metros across the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Austria and The Netherlands. Yelpers have written more than 18 million local reviews, making Yelp the leading local guide for real word-of-mouth on everything from boutiques and mechanics to restaurants and dentists.
PLACES FOR SINGLES IN THE CITY
Nacional 27 (4 star average)
A modern Latin restaurant with an expert mixologist may not seem like a likely place to meet singles. However, after 10pm, Nacional 27 turns into a sizzling salsa club populated by people who know how to shake their hips. Never salsa-ed before? Do not fear! Every Thursday, Nacional 27 hosts complimentary salsa lessons from 7-8:30pm. Maybe you'll meet a salsa newbie there and then dance the night away with some fresh salsa moves? How's that for romance?
Old Town School of Folk Music (4.5 star average)
If you love to play or listen to music, or are interested in learning, check out the Old Town School of Folk Music. Meet a budding musician at their Free Jams sessions, who not only expertly plucks guitar strings, but maybe even some heartstrings? Or, share in the pains of playing an off note with someone in a beginner's music class. You can also just choose to listen to music here; this is a concert venue after all! Dabble in some jazz, or explore the diversity of World Music Wednesdays - chances are, you'll meet someone looking to do the exact same thing.
World Dodgeball Society (5 star average)
For those who like to be active and have a competitive streak in them, try joining a sports league. There are plenty to choose from in Chicago but we really like the sounds of World Dodgeball Society. It is fun, a great stress reliever, and you can meet some great new people playing it! (Plus, who didn't enjoy the movie??) Games take place on Sunday afternoons in the Gold Coast, and afterwards this co-ed league takes itself to a bar/restaurant for some post-dodgeball drinks and grub.
The Music Box Theatre (4.5 star average)
It may not be easy to meet people at a big movie theatre screening action blockbusters, but movie buffs will definitely be able to find each other at the Music Box Theatre. Opened in 1929, this movie house is one of Chicago's gems. From classics to foreign films to independent films to midnight screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, if you love the art of film, you will find something here that fits the bill. There are even special event screenings to attend - MBT most recently screened "The Wizard of Oz" with pre-show commentary and a post-show Q&A by film director, John Waters!
The Chopping Block (4.5 star average) Do you watch Top Chef religiously? Ogle shiny pots and pans at Williams-Sonoma? Then a cooking class at the Chopping Block would be perfect for making new friends. Here, you can start with the basics (e.g. a knife skills class) and move on to making your own gnocchi or rolling sushi masterpieces! You'll be able to work together in groups and could find someone who complements you in the kitchen (he chops; she sautes). Plus, the Chopping Block serves wines (or, you can bring in your own bottle for a corkage fee) that will definitely give you a little confidence boost in the hot kitchen.
Museum of Contemporary Art (4 star average)
Naturally, this is the place for art lovers to meet their lovers! Take a closer look at MCA's offerings and you'll notice that they host a singles event the first Friday of every month, entitled First Fridays (of course). Buy advance tickets online ($13) and come check out the exhibits, or other attendees. Enjoy live music from local DJs, nosh on complimentary appetizers catered by Wolfgang Puck, and imbibe in specialty drinks at the cash bar. Who knew swanky singles events could be so cultured?
Whole Foods Market (on Kingsbury) (4 star average) We all need to eat, and this comes easily at the second biggest Whole Foods store in the country. Maybe strike up a conversation with a stranger in the produce section, or better yet, why not check out the wine and cheese bar located inside the store? Sit down, have a tasting, make a friend. Not a fan of wine? This Whole Foods also has a bar, serving beers on tap and in bottles. Looking for something more structured? Attend one of the many events that take place at this location - from musical performances to beer dinner, even tai'chi (!) - all these things happen right here. Best of all, WFM hosts weekly events such as a Wine & Cheese Tasting on Sunday nights ($17), Beer & Bites on Thursday ($10), and Team Trivia on Tuesday (free), making it super easy to meet new faces with common interests.
Gene's Sausage Shop & Delicatessen (4.5 star average)
It's no secret that men (and women!) like meat, and Gene's Sausage Shop & Delicatessen is a meat mecca. With a bustling store selling quality butchered cuts, homemade smoked meats, and many other specialty European cheeses, drinks, and snacks, you very well likely may meet your sausage loving soul mate here. Not in the mood to grill? Then head up to Gene's newly opened rooftop beer and wine garden! You'll only have to decide what food you want to eat from the Grill Hut and what beer to wash it down with.
Half Acre Brewery (4.5 star average)
Do you love local beers? Then why not take advantage of all our great city has to offer and go on a brewery tour! Half Acre Brewery has been quenching many thirsty mouths with their popular brews such as Daisy Cutter Pale Ale (and even brewing up special batches for hot ticket restaurant, Next)! What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than sampling beers where they are made? Tours start at 1pm on Saturday and are first-come first-served. We've heard they are quite popular, so get there early! $10 gets you a Half Acre glass, beer samples, and the company of 59 other fellow beer lovers!
The Wormhole Coffee (4.5 star average)
Is coffee more your thing? Then a visit to Wormhole Coffee must to added to your to-do list. This 80s-themed coffee shop (yes, that is a real life DeLorean you see in the window) brews local Metropolis Coffee as their staple, and also features some beans from renowned roasters across the country. There is food to eat, places to sit, outlets galore, and free wifi - the perfect set up for camping out, doing work (more likely reminiscing about the 80s), and people watching/meeting!
Greater Chicago Food Depository (5 star average)
With so many great restaurants finds of Yelp, it is hard (and sad) to believe that there are fellow Chicagoans out there in need of food. However, incredible volunteer organizations such as the Greater Chicago Food Depository do their best to feed those in need. You can help donating funds or food, but why not get out there and meet a few people with big hearts like yourself by volunteering? There are plenty of things to do - you can help repack food, strengthen those arm muscles at the loading dock, or even just help out occasionally with administrative filing or working GCFD events. These are all great opportunities to meet fun, caring people while giving something back to the community!
North Park Village Nature Center (4.5 star average)
Maybe you'd rather do something active and more in touch with nature? In this flat expanse otherwise known as the Midwest, it is difficult to find good places to hike. Luckily, Chicago is blessed with the North Park Village Nature Center, a 46 acre nature preserve situated within the sprawling 155 acres of North Park Village Complex. You can hike on trails that wind through woodlands, wetlands, praire and savannas. Make sure to try some of the adults programs offered here, such as a walk where you learn all about medicinal herbs, or a bird-watching hike. In the winter time, cozy up next to the fireplace in The Great Room with some hot chocolate - make sure to bring enough for two!