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. We’re kicking off date night with good conversation over a good a cup of 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 9 sister coffee shops in Chicago. This coffee bar is part of a network of coffee bars that each go by a different name, but they’re all owned 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.

In pre-Covid times, normally there’d be stools along their long wooden bar where you could post up and order directly from the bartenders behind it. We’re not quite back to normal yet, but we’ll get back there eventually. 

If the weather is right, they’ve got a back patio that’s 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-travelling”. Experts think they navigate via the angle of sunlight, or magnetised brain cells that act like compasses

– A group of kittens is called a kindle

2. Catcade

Now that we’re caffeinated and primed with interesting cat facts, we’re onto our next spot just down the street. We’re going to the Catcade, a non-profit cat shelter that has a fun and innovative way for people to hang out with cats while enjoying some 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 $15 (but you get to pet cats, play video games, and they’ll give you a non-alcoholic drink)

Here’s a shot looking into the lounge from across the street. This works so great as a date night spot, beause any awkward breaks in the conversation can be supplanted by, “oh look at that cute kitten sleeping under that pillow”

It’s called Catcade, because not only are their cats, but they have a old school arcade games and Mario Kart on the N64 hooked up and ready to go.

 Most of the cats were super 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 are more cute cat pictures.


 After your hour is up hanging out with this clowder (which we learned is 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.