The Run Down

There's a misconception out there that you're either a dog person or a cat person, and you've got to date someone with a matching preference. For this date idea, however, we'll prove that everyone can be a cat person. We start things off with coffee at a place that looks more like a dive bar than a coffee shop. Afterwards, we head down the street to play video games in a room full of cats. Here are the details.

1. Coffee @ Osmium Coffee

2. Cat Party @ The Catcade

1. Osmium Coffee Bar

When you want a coffee house experience but dive bar vibes, this is the spot. Date night starts with good conversation and good coffee at Osmium Coffee. If you’re taking the train here, the coffee bar is just a few blocks west of the Belmont Red Line station and in the middle of all the action in Lakeview.

After you step inside, if the place looks a bit familiar, it might be because you’ve been to one of Osmium’s nine sister coffee shops in Chicago. This coffee bar is part of a network of coffee bars that each go by a different name. They’re all owned by Dark Matter Coffee, a local coffee roaster that’s a favorite among locals and has a strong reputation nationally among hardcore coffee connoisseurs.

Their first location in Ukrainian Village was a converted dive bar turned coffee bar, and they’ve replicated that same vibe at many of their other locations, including Osmium.

If the weather is right, they have a back patio walled off by the neighboring buildings on both sides. Before we move on to the next location, since this is a date-focused guide, here’s a list of cat facts to help spur conversation and segue to our next spot.

– Most cats don’t like water because their coats do not insulate them well enough

– Disneyland owns about 200 cats. Every night, the cats are released in the park to hunt down all the little Mickeys and Minnies for cat snacks

– In ancient Egypt, killing a cat was a crime punishable by death

– Cat people are also 11% more likely to be introverted. But cat people are more open to new experiences than typical “dog people.”

– Cats can find their way home through “psi-traveling.” Experts think they navigate via the angle of sunlight or magnetized brain cells that act like compasses

– A group of kittens is called a kindle

2. Catcade

With a jolt of caffeine and primed with interesting cat facts, the next spot is just down the street. Walk to  Catcade, a non-profit cat shelter that has a fun and innovative way for people to hang out with cats while enjoying old school arcade games. Here are some notes to get us on our way.

– Open every day (except Tuesday and Wednesday) until either 6pm or 8pm. Hours are on their website.

– You can reserve an hour in their arcade lounge where you can play video games while also hanging out with about 20 cats.

– It costs $17 (but you get to pet cats and play video games)

Friends and first dates are lounging on comfy couches and chairs inside. Cats run the place scurrying freely. Some approach for petting, others nap at your feet undisturbed by the sound of video games playing in the background. 

A 90’s era Nintendo 64 is in the center of the room. The familiar Mario Kart theme is like siren song telling you to uncoil the controller.

Most of the cats were friendly and sociable. They’ll just walk up and take a seat right next to you and use your body as heating pad to take a nap. Personally, it felt therapeutic.  Now here for more cute cat pictures.


After your hour is up hanging out with this clowder (the term for a group of cats), you may finally start to realize that the ‘crazy cat lady’ that lives down your street might actually be onto something great.