The Run Down

In Rogers Park, there's a narrow cobblestone street full of shops and bars that feels more like old world Europe than it does Chicago. This guide has you spending the evening there drinking hot cocktails, playing old school arcade games, and catching a live jazz performance to cap off the night. Here are the details.

1. Hot Cocktails @ Rogers Park Social

2. Arcades @ Mission Control

3. Live Music @ Le Piano

1. Rogers Park Social

We’re starting things off at Rogers Park Social, a cozy tavern located in what looks like an enchanted alleyway full of shops and bars. You have businesses on one side of the street and the Red Line, partitioned off by a long concrete retaining wall, on the other side.

Rogers Park Social is a neighborhood bar in every sense. It’s owned and operated by long time Rogers Park residents, and when you walk into this place, you get the feeling that almost everyone knows each other.

The bar has two main rooms. There’s the main long bar in the front and a side room to space out. Here’s their side room. You know that feeling you get when you put on a sweater right after it’s been in the dryer? This is the bar version of that.

Here are a few other things to note.

– They specialize in cocktails and have a deep menu. In the winter it’s full of hot cocktails like spiked hot chocolate, hot buttered rum, and hot toddys

–  They’ve got a selection of board games free to play

– While they sell snacks like charcuterie plates, it’s also Bring-Your-Own-Food

2. Mission Control

When you’re ready to make the next move, head about a half-block north for another round of drinks and arcade games. We’re at Mission Control, a barcade that’s a product of the pandemic. It’s owners originally operated Uptown Arcade, but after the pandemic forced them to shut their doors, they took their collection of over 60 vintage arcade games and pinball machines to this new 2000 square-foot space.

Here are a few notes.

– Their arcade games are a mix of free-play and paid. They got your classics like Street Fighter, Ninja Gaiden,  Trong — well you get the idea.

– There’s a walk-up kitchen window in the back that hosts different pop-up restaurants.

– They also have a big library of board games if you want to keep things analog.

3. Le Piano

This is the last stop and main event of the night. We’re at Le Piano for an evening of live music, eats, and more drinks at this French-inspired jazz club.

A short walk north of Mission Control and you’ll find a red light hanging above Le Piano’s front entrance giving off serious Moulin Rouge vibes. If you’re using this guide to plan a date, I’d be hard pressed to find a more romantic place than this. And while the romance scale is off the charts, I wouldn’t categorize this exclusively as a date night spot either.  Guys night out? Family in town? This works for almost anything.

Next to the bar is their performance space which is where you’ll post up for the night. There are tables, couches, and seating that put you right in front of the performers. Here are some other things to keep in mind.

– There is live music every night they’re open (Tues – Sun)
– Doors open at 6pm and music starts at 7pm
– A waiter will seat you. There’s a $15 “Salaire D’Artiste” added to your bill at the end of the night. This goes to the performers. I present to you this picture below, which is undeniable evidence of just how damn romantic this place can be. The Morse stop on the CTA Red Line over looks Le Piano below. The trains whirring behind the performers makes for an incredible Chicago backdrop.

After you settle into your seat, you’ll find that Le Piano also has a full service kitchen and bar to go along with their evening performances. Their menu includes French-inspired small plates with things chicken tarragon, steak and frites, and these Frenched petite lamb chops pictured below.

Here’s a few shots from the end of the night and this guide. People were dancing, drinks were pouring, and we were feasting on our food while listening to the smooth voice of Devon Sandridge who put on a fantastic show.