The Run Down

Centered around one corner in Avondale, this guide takes your traditional coffee date and mixes it up with an after-hours comedy show followed by beer, board games and a variant of the Italian beef next door.

1. Coffee and Comedy @ Avondale Coffee Club

2. Drinks @ The Beer Temple

1. Avondale Coffee Club

Meet in front of the black iron gate where a spool of razor wire hangs overhead. The backdoor entrance to Avondale Coffee Club is where this guide starts.

Peer through the gate, and you’ll find an enclosed patio. If you’re visiting with a date, the string lights overhead and lush plants abound to help set the mood.

Continue inside the coffee club, where it feels like hanging out in a comfy living room decked in mid-century modern furnishings.

Behind the counter, you might find Kati Paiz or Adam Paronto, the husband and wife owners, whipping up a merlot caramel latte, one of their many specialty drinks.

If you have a discerning coffee palate, Paiz and Paronto are masters of the pour-over, with their coffee technique winning 15 medals at the Golden Bean, the nation’s biggest coffee competition.

Avondale is home to a burgeoning arts community, and the coffee shop has become a natural gathering spot and, at times, a performance space. Signs for shows and other events happening hang inside the shop. The latest is a recurring comedy podcast recorded live and after hours on the last Tuesday of every month. We spoke with the comedians behind the show about their experience.

The Turnip and Stone Podcast features comedians Eric Emerson and Steve Raines, providing their take on essential life issues submitted by the audience. As an audience member, it’s like going to therapy but with two funny yet unqualified therapists guiding you the best they can.

2. The Beer Temple

If the date is going well, continue next door to the Beer Temple. If it’s not going as planned, the #77 Belmont is outside for a quick exit.

Opened in 2013, this bottle shop is a favorite among the craft beer crowd and has slowly expanded, first with a taproom addition in 2017 and most recently with a full-service kitchen in 2023.

The focus is still its craft beer selection, with around 20 hard-to-find craft beers on tap.  The main doors bring you to their main taproom, where arched cathedral window panes make you feel like you’re truly entering a sacred space.

There’s a crowd lined up along the bar. Order food and drinks with the bartender and find space in two additional rooms back in the building. Board games are stacked on a pushcart in the back of the bar next to a dartboard—essential items for date night. 

Regarding food, it would be a disservice to describe the menu as just bar food.

Their “Beefy Boy” sandwich, a variant of the Italian beef, is a prime example. It’s house-smoked beef topped with braised onions and peppers in a soft French roll. You could slot this into any fancy West Loop restaurant, which would fit right in. Their entire menu feels like that.