photo: Courtesy of Nick Flandro
Now you can learn to tango in the middle of the Ukrainian Village; just order your lesson with a latte.
Ritz Tango Cafe may look like any coffee shop on the block, but move away the tables and chairs and you'll find yourself standing on a full-fledged dance floor. Jorge Niedas, graduate of Argentina's prestigious dance school Teatro Colon, recently relocated to America with his wife, Dinah D'Antoni, with the desire to spread his skills to Chicagoans.
His venue? A roomy, polished cafe serving up fresh-ground espresso, specialty paninis and freshly-baked South American desserts. His method? Give customers their daily caffeine fix then urge them to come back Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday night to tango for $10. Regulars flock to the lessons, which consist of an hour of formal instruction followed by three hours of free dance while D'Antoni looks on and offers necessary adjustments (there's no live band, unfortunately).
If you're embarrassed to test your skill in front of the pros, feel free to request a private or semiprivate class. Still not convinced that tango's your thing? Watching the movement while nibbling alfajores (traditional cookies smothered in dulce de leche) can be just as mesmerizing. Stop by on Mondays for tango bohemian night, or Saturdays for tango high tea, and don't forget to order a dozen de miga (teeny crustless sandwiches) to go along. BYOB, with free wi-fi access.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Carly Schwartz