Heart of the North Shore: Where the grownups go, top spots for fun and food
Vibe at 1935 manager Erik Melle of Highland Park mixes a drink. | Michelle LaVigne~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 6, 2013 9:22AM
Any mom or dad on the North Shore can name dozens of cool places to take the kids for fun.
Lots of parents think of Kohl’s Children’s Museum as their second home, they can provide eight different restaurants to feed the kids for under $10 and have an internal map for the location of every North Shore park.
All that said, if you ask mom and dad where to go for a fun date night out, they might respond, “How late is Chuck E. Cheese open?” Most parents are all about play dates, and just don’t spend the time to plan good dates for themselves.
So, with February being the month of Valentine’s Day, as well as a short window between football and March madness, here are some great North Shore places to have your own, private play date. With everything from shows to comedy to live music to fine dining, hit these spots and experience a night you won’t soon forget.
Oil Lamp Theatre
1723 Glenview Road, Glenview, (847) 834-0738, www.oillamptheater.org
Relatively new to the North Shore, this quaint and cozy theatre is both relaxing and romantic, with its B.Y.O.B policy and its complimentary warm apple cider and fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. Starting Feb. 14 is “All You Need Is Love,” a Valentine’s cabaret where singers and dancers recreate the hits of the ’60s. And get this, you can dress up and be part of their costume contest!
550 South Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling, (847) 465-9988, www.tuscanychicago.com
One of the best Italian restaurants on the North Shore, this quiet, romantic place has live piano music in the bar. As far as the food, enjoy big glasses of red wine, bread dipped in olive oil and freshly mashed garlic, mussels in garlic tomato broth, several amazing pasta dishes, Tuscan sausage with sweet peppers, fresh fish and the best eggplant parmagiana ever!
Art and Soul
1955 Raymond Drive, Suite 118, Northbrook, (847) 341-2955, www.artandsoulnb.com
Why not take your hubby or wife out for a night of painting? Art and Soul, an art school in Northbrook, offers couples night art classes. Painting is relaxing and romantic and interesting. And who knows? Maybe your hubby’s flair for art will show you the sweet, sensitive side of him you always knew was there.
The Wilmette Theatre
1122 Central Avenue, Wilmette, (847) 251-7424, www.wilmettetheatre.com
With its charming, vintage feel, the Wilmette Theatre, one of the last remaining independent movie houses, is a great place to spend an evening. See the latest indie movie, or a blockbuster hit, or try a live show. Playing now: “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and Comedy At The Mette.
Vibe at 1935
1935 Sheridan Road, Highland Park, (847) 780-4815, www.vibe1935.com
Are you in the mood to go to a swank martini bar with live music, beautiful Moroccan décor and great food and drinks? Say hello to Vibe at 1935, a Highland Park club that will make you feel like you and your date just drove into the city to hit a club. With shared plates like skirt steak and a bite of blue cheese, salads, flatbread pizzas, and sliders, you’ll be well fed. And don’t worry about staying too late. The sign on the front door says, “Bar closes when Lisa says so…”
1150 Willow Road, Northbrook, (847)480-2323, www.pinstripes.com
Pinstripes isn’t just any old bowling alley. This place is beautiful, fancy and fun, and not just for kids! Located in Northbrook, Pinstripes also has bocce ball and live music on Friday and Saturday nights. And as for the food, it’s yummy! With everything from pizza and flatbread, to sandwiches, salads, pasta and main dishes, you’re sure to find something you both will love. Pinstripes also has a full menu of wine, beer and cocktails. Grab your neighbors and bowl as a group!
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Can’t find a sitter? No problem! Have your date right in the comfort of your own home. Put the kids to bed early and set the table as if you were having guests. You deserve to be treated like a guest! And get this: you don’t even have to cook. There are so many wonderful gourmet food stores on the North Shore where you can pick up fresh, delicious items. My favorites are Foodstuffs in Evanston and Glenview; Sunset Foods in Northbrook and Highland Park; and The Fresh Market in Wilmette. Whatever you do, don’t forget to light candles, especially if it’s Valentine’s Day!