Was your father a baker? Cause you've got great buns. Ugh. We know we've got great buns. We're quite proud of them. But they're not really what we want our future husbands to notice first, right?
It's time to stop hitting up those trashy, meat-market bars, and start getting picked up at a watering hole you can tell your grandchildren about. Does that mean you have to trade in your tequila shooters for some old-person brandy? Not at all. We found the perfect spots for meeting that perfect someone—sans the cheese.
Exposure Tapas Restaurant and Supper Club
Small plates perfect for sharing and amazing, buzz-inducing mojitos make this place a great pick-up joint. Start at the bar for a few drinks, and if you meet someone, invite them to the restaurant area, decked with burgundy booths and an opulent chandelier, for some cheese fondue. But the best part about this South Loop lounge, which attracts many locals and hip transplants from other 'hoods, is that if you happen to stay solo all night, you can wallow away your sorrows by diving into the most-decadent creme brulee ever. Served on top of a warm brownie, this treat almost makes it worth not meeting someone: You won't want to share.
Dark lights, chic martinis and cool jazz greet you when you step into this near-century-old Uptown landmark. The large, central bar is a great place for singles to mingle—leaving those already coupled off tucked comfortably inside their own half-moon booths. Wordy types should go for the Sunday evening poetry slams, while those who want to jiggle can find a new swing-dancing partner every night of the week. Weekends pack in the crowds, so come prepared to be literally smashed between strangers (which can be a good thing), or stop in during the week to strike up a more intimate conversation with the artsy patrons who frequent this sexy joint.
Inner Town Pub
So you want to meet that special someone, but you're broke? Not a problem here. This Ukrainian Village pub is a haven for quirky hipsters, who take advantage of the cheap beer (where else can you find Berghoff for $3?), free pool and old-fashioned jukebox that plays eclectic tunes from the likes of Aretha Franklin and David Bowie. The pick-up lines come naturally here, so you won't have to resort to "Can I borrow a quarter? Cause I told my mamma I'd call her when I fell in love." Instead, challenge a cutie to one of the vintage video games squirreled away in the back of the bar.
It's incredibly easy to strike up a conversation with the always-chatty regulars of this bar, especially if you're into beer and/or traveling. Book cases throughout the bar stock travel guides and atlases, and the drink selection includes dozens of beers, offering everything from gluten-free Redbridge to Belgium's St. Bernardus. The bar puts out free food on Tuesdays and screens movies on Sundays, giving you plenty of reasons to climb off your couch, out of your pajamas and go meet someone already! Expect to mingle with beer snobs, intellectuals and eccentric Bucktown residents.
Pops for Champagne
This sleek Gold Coast gem reeks of romance and new beginnings. A glass of bubbly Bollinger Special Cuvee ($18 per glass) and a plate full of oysters adds up to one heck of an aphrodisiac-laden evening. Factor in the mood lighting and the downstairs live jazz lounge, and you're in hook-up heaven, especially if you're looking to score with the type of people who don sophisticated, funky glasses and sleek hairstyles. Bonus: You can rent out Pops for weddings, making this the perfect place to meet, fall in love and get hitched.
Okay, so it's not a bar or a lounge or a club, but Warehouse Liquors offers a free wine tasting every Friday from 5 to 8 p.m., and we can't think of better environs for scoring some digits. For one thing, getting drunk with a crowd of strangers virtually guarantees some impromptu chatting. Plus, the guys who work here are super cute—and single. And the tastings usually focus on affordable wines (on a recent Friday night, guests sampled three Spanish reds within the $9-$12 per bottle range), so you can afford to buy a bottle and some snacks—like a bag of gourmet chips, fine chocolates and cheese and crackers—grab an employee and head home.