The Run Down

Sometimes, planning date night is as easy as dinner and a show. The city is chock-full of establishments that would pair perfectly in this category, but tonight, we’re headed to the West Loop for a fancy dinner in a 70s-inspired French eatery followed by a show in a former church brimming with history with a bar in their "catacombs."

1. Dinner @ Coquette

2. Music @ Epiphany Center for the Arts

1. Dinner @ Coquette

We start the night with an unforgettable meal at an unforgettable restaurant because dining at Coquette (French for someone who is a flirt or tease) is a feast for all the senses. Not only are you fed by thoughtfully prepared cuisine but also by the pink fever dream that is its interior design.

Once you step inside the double doors under an unremarkable awning, you’re met with a stained glass partition fashioned with hues of red and blue. Around the corner, you’ll enter a room enveloped in floor-to-ceiling pink.

The hospitality group, Bonhomme, that runs Coquette — their portfolio also includes Chicago favorites Beatnik and Porto — describes the design of the modern bistro as the intersection between Yves Saint Laurent, Godard, Bauhaus and Mondrian. When combined with a meal cooked exclusively on charcoal and wood, it’s like you’re stepping into a ‘70s Parisian dream.

The intimate restaurant, which seats about 40 people, stands out from its competitors by a mile: A friendly staff indulges you on everything food, design and music related. You might find yourself chatting with the chef or culinary director, either of whom may come to serve you the food himself. You may even be brought behind the spacious bar to sample complimentary pours or choose a record as the night’s musical taste.

The food is as expertly crafted as Coquette’s design. The menu offers beef, duck and fish with a focus on seasonally available ingredients. As a result, the menu changes every two to three months (though one thing that isn’t going anywhere is the pomme puree, a delectable mashed potato dish made 60 percent of butter, the chef told us.) The wine list, on the other hand, celebrates under-appreciated regions in France and champagne made by producers “who dare to make exquisite wine on their own terms.”


If there’s time, it’s worth popping in to take into Bambola, Coquette’s exotic sister restaurant connected by a back hallway adorned with wooden masks. This spot features items that explore the shared cultural heritage between Asia and Europe.

2. Music @ Epiphany Center for the Arts

Continue the night with a show at the Epiphany Center for the Arts, a relatively new venue in a storied building. It’s a half-mile walk southwest on Ogden Avenue and south on Ashland Avenue.

Before the structure became the Epiphany Center, it was an Episcopal church, constructed in 1885 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.

A couple who got married there purchased the building in 2017 — 6 years after the last church service was held there — and went on to restore the space. It officially opened in September 2020 but was forced to close after just 15 events due to the pandemic. It reopened in March 2021 to host the Candlelight Concerts series, with crowds limited to 50 mask-wearing guests.

Today, the venue is back in full swing, with live music almost every night of the week. You can dance the night away to jazz music in the vaulted former sanctuary surrounded by stained glass windows or to house music in the intriguing Catacombs (though, perhaps unfortunately, there are no skulls here like in Paris).

In the mood for DJ sets between Wednesday and Saturday night? The Golden Hour series starts nightly at 5 p.m. and features free live music and food and drink specials. After you grab a drink at the bar, you can relax on the terrace, sit around a fire pit, or roam the grounds while music fills the air.

The Epiphany Center is a staggeringly large event space, with eight art galleries, three resident artist studios, three event spaces, four performing arts venues, and a space dedicated exclusively to classes, workshops, and lectures. In fact, it received the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for adaptive reuse in 2021. The award series celebrates the “best of the best” in preservation projects across the country.