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Late 20's Single, love food, and looking to mingle.. Ouch, excuse the rhyme!

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I'll be in Chicago for the first time next week from Tuesday- Sunday. (I hail from Toronto). I'm staying at the Conrad so suggestions within walking distance / easy transit ride are ideal.

I'm on business so I will be alone for most of that time and being a social butterfly and conversation lover I was hoping for some recommendations on where to eat with a special emphasis on friendly atmospheres or those places with a nice bar setup / communal tables that are conducive to breaking the rules of childhood and openly chatting with strangers.

If you have any pub/ Bar /Lounge recommendations for weekend nights those are always appreciated as well.

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  1. Two restaurants with communal seating are Avec and the Publican. Both are in the West Loop, about a mile from the Conrad. (To orient you, the Loop is Chicago's historical and commercial downtown area. The Conrad is in River North about half a mile north of the Loop, and both restaurants are about half a mile west of the Loop.)

    Avec specializes in Mediterranean cuisine. It does not accept reservations, and gets very busy on weekend evenings, but you can talk to others who are waiting. And if you're solo, they may have an open seat so you wouldn't have to wait as long as a party of two or more. Seating consists of a row of bar stools at a long bar, and the rest of the restaurant is eight-tops. www.avecrestaurant.com

    The Publican specializes in pork and charcuterie. About half the seating there consists of two long communal tables. They accept reservations, although you might not need one as a solo, and if you make one, you can specify your seating preference for the communal seating. www.thepublicanrestaurant.com

    Another restaurant you would probably enjoy is Sunda. The cuisine is pan-Asian and I've heard it's great for young singles who want to mingle. And it's in River North, about five blocks from your hotel. www.sundachicago.com

    2 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      Very cool. I love charcuterie and Toronto has an awesome place for it so I'd love to compare the two.

      Your suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!

      1. re: nsxtasy

        Just to let you know, Avec is closed (and will be closed until mid-September) due to the recent fire and death of a fireman that occurred in the restaurant.
        However, I do highly recommend Publican. Great place for pork, beer, and a good time.

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        Avec Restaurant
        615 W Randolph St Ste A, Chicago, IL 60661

      2. Another suggestion along the line of communal seating, very close to the Conrad and great food- The Purple Pig off of Michigan Avenue. They don't take reservations, but they have great food, wine and it's a cozy place and very conducive to chatting up your neighbor.

        1. Ginza's sushi bar. You feel like ur in Japan in there.

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          Ginza Restaurant
          19 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611