Date Night: Ada Street, Chicago

It's Wednesday, half-way to the weekend. But, oh - you already have some fun options you might get into come Friday. Or, maybe you know who you wanna be with but not what you'd want to do. Fellas, take notice. Your beloved will look favorably on you. But you'll want to wait until you're sure the gal is special and that what you have is special. Because this place is special. 

Ada Street is located on 1664 N. on its namesake.


Your date may be fumbling to find her cellphone as you near Ada Street because she might think you are trying to kill her. No one will hear me if I scream, she might easily think as you cruise past the Streets and Sanitation parking lot full of blue behemoths. The north branch of the Chicago River shoulders through here, the less-flash, more-trash uncouth part of this tributary. Nestled among The Hideout, various industrial yards, abandoned train tracks and butting up against a Home Depot, Ada Street is easy to pass if you're not paying attention. Look for the two red lights and a speakeasy door.

If I could give Ada Street another name, it might be Hernando's Hideaway. It's a very intimate fifty-seat dining room (including bar), a perfect place for pulling each other close with conversation and canoodling in its shadowy holds. Ada Street is wonderful for small gatherings of friends, groups of no larger than four. Do call ahead and make reservations if you want dinner. My favorite of the small plates menu was the ricotta-stuffed, bacon-wrapped rabbit on special. Sharing is caring.

As much as the food was great, I'd go back just to drink (reservations not needed). Crafted by "Spiritual" Advisor Tim Lacey, complex yet well-balanced cocktails with names like Gonna Love You 'Till the Wheels Fall Off deliver on their promises. Our barkeep, a Sam Worthington look-alike, was a mad scientist pulling off a really cool chemistry experiment as he plied bottles tall and fat of unknown spirits, eye droppers of elder flower essence, glasses afire, globs of homemade chocolate-pear jelly. All while the pops and brush of the needle on mish-mashed vinyl helped wash away our cares.

One more time: Find Ada Street on 1664 N. Ada Street, (773) 697-7069. Ada Street is closed Monday and Tuesday, opens on 6 pm to 2 am on Friday and Saturday; Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday open 'till 1 am.

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