Stop by the trendy shops along Damen and Milwaukee Aves.
Then stay for the great food/drinks and atmosphere:
Two of many choices…
The Violet Hour
Hot date, trying to reconnect or just looking for great atmosphere and a wide array of cocktail choices-- the Violet Hour may be just the spot. Lauded by publications including Esquire, Conde Nast and GQ, The Violet Hour serves up a heady mixture of classic cocktails and innovative appetizers that can substitute for dinner. Everything here is deliberate and impeccable. The serene space is full of floor-to-ceiling curtains, chandeliers, candles, and high-backed blue leather chairs; the eclectic music is loud enough to comment on but muted enough that you can hear your friends. Sexy, fun and affordable. 1520 N. Damen, (773) 252 1500. http://www.theviolethour.com
A couple of blocks north of The Violet Hour is Mindy Segal’s HOT CHOCOLATE. Segal, named best pastry chef of the year by Chicago magazine, offers an outstanding menu. While recognized for her sweets, her haute comfort food will get you through the worst of a Chicago winter day. Try the Reuben with house-brined corned beef followed by her legendary Banana Volume VI, a banana cream pie with caramelized bananas, banana sherbet, butterscotch and fudge—a meal in it self—that you may want to split with one of your tablemates. By the way the HOT CHOCOLATE is not bad either and you can order it to your liking—all the way up to 90 percent (bitter).
Saturday and Sunday Brunch 10a.m. to 2p.m. or dinner Friday, Saturday and Sunday,
1747 N. Damen, (773) 489 1747. www.hotchocolate.com