Smurf Valentine's Day Card

This is part 2 of Man Up Chicago’s Valentine’s Day poll. A longer introduction is in part 1. Once again, here are the seven Chicago women who were generous enough to complete our questionnaire.

  • Chayla, 26, Food and Beverage Sales Representative
  • Leigh, 31, Maker of things at
  • Megan, 31, Account Manager
  • Catherine, 36, Event Coordinator
  • Amalie, 31 Writer & Editor
  • Jenny,  30 Writer & Editor
  • Cathie, 29, Editor & Lawyer

As always, feel free to put your own responses in the comments section. Also, a couple of these questions have to do with where to go for dinner and drinks on Valentine’s Day. If you haven’t made dinner reservations yet, you’re pretty screwed, at least when it comes to popular spots. Man Up Chicago does not endorse the 4:30 or 10:00 PM dinner reservation. Unless you are senior citizen or from Spain, respectively. Nevertheless, take note of the places mentioned in the responses. They’re good to remember for dates, anniversaries, and gauging key-party interest.

West Town Tavern Fried Chicken

Fried chicken from West Town Tavern. Courtesy of

You’re being taken out to dinner for Valentine’s Day. What restaurant in Chicago do you want to go to?
♥ The list is long, for me, there are so many places I haven’t been. That being said, Mart Anthony is an old standard. Low key, but still nice and cozy. Comfortable, I know it’s going to be good.  –Chayla

♥ Something that is meaningful in our relationship or someplace that serves something my boo knows that I love that he has researched without my prompting. -Leigh

♥ Vivo, but not on Valentines day where the menu is destroyed with a prix-fixe [menu]. -Megan

(editor’s note: They also destroy their website with lame music, so beware of clicking on that link.)

♥ Karyn’s on Green. -Catherine

♥ I have clearly stated that I wish to be taken to West Town Tavern for fried chicken Monday. I’ve wanted to try fried chicken Monday for years. Years! But, in light of the aforementioned swimsuit-required vacation, a calorie-fest of such proportions may not be the wisest choice. -Amalie

(editor’s note: Man Up Chicago endorses West Town Tavern for all occasions, any day of the week. But yeah, the Monday night fried chicken is damn good, and don’t worry, it isn’t served in a paper bucket.)

♥ Sepia. -Jenny

♥ BOKA – the space is always just so beautiful and the service is usually top notch. Alternative: Sepia or Crofton on Wells. If early in the course of the relationship, something more traditional like North Pond would also be a good bet. -Cathie

So you went out to dinner, but you wouldn’t mind a night cap. Where in Chicago should you go for one or two cocktails?
♥ This is reminding me of how little time I spend out and about in Chicago. I hear good things about Violet Hour. I would say a nice, dark bar, nothing too swanky, but tonight is not the night for a dive bar.  -Chayla 

♥ I’d say the Violet Hour, but I am guessing the wait on Valentine’s would turn us into snow people, so we might head to Lush Wine & Spirits on Chicago. -Leigh

Tiny Lounge

Tiny Lounge in Lincoln Square.

♥ I like hotel bars, makes you feel like your on vacation. -Megan

♥ Tiny Lounge in Lincoln Square. -Catherine

♥ Did you know I’m the nightlife reporter for Chicago magazine? This is my specialty. Dim lighting is key, and it’s perfectly flattering at two newcomers: Bangers & Lace and Maude’s Liquor Bar. -Amalie

♥ Actually, I must suggest Le Colonial. I recently rediscovered their martinis, and they are strong enough to make even *me* a cheap date.  -Jenny

♥ Home! -Cathie

Your best tip for a guy planning something for Valentine’s Day is:
♥ Most women make a big deal about VD (!); they will call each other the next day and compare — if her friend’s boyfriend did “better” than you, you’re in trouble. Just make sure it’s about her. If she looooooooves shopping, take her shopping (sorry). If she loves pork, take her to the Purple Pig. If she loves to get hammered, take her on a bar crawl. Just be sure to put some thought into it, make it about her and what she enjoys. And be present. No texting, no calling, no joking about deserving to get laid at the end of the night.  -Chayla

Onion Horoscope

Just looking for an excuse to run this brilliant horoscope from the Onion.

♥ Don’t follow the other lemmings and line up for a pricey prix fixe. Do something special at home on the actual day and celebrate a night or two after the big day so your wallet is not hurting and the food is not sub-par because you’re going on one of the most reserved nights of the year. -Leigh

♥ Just remember it’s the thought that counts. -Megan

♥ Plan something that parallels where you’re “at” in your relationship. If you’ve been dating for a month, do something low key. Don’t take her to Alinea. -Catherine

♥ If you’re planning something at all, you’re on track! Even if you hate V-day and she does, too, letting it go by with zero acknowledgment sucks. There’s no need go crazy — like I said, it’s a Monday night. A small gesture will do this year. Just don’t send carnations to her office, or fail to show up to her boss’s V-Day engagement party. Not that either of those things has ever happened to me. But…don’t. -Amalie

♥ Girls don’t think it’s cheesy! If they say they do, they’re lying. Go overboard, go ahead! -Jenny

♥ Listen to what your girlfriend/wife/”friend” is subtly suggesting. She will likely give you some idea of what her ideal Valentine’s Day is, but probably not directly. Also — if she mentions her favorite flower, take note. -Cathie

Cupid with an arrow in the backIn two or three sentences, describe how you actually feel about Valentine’s Day:
♥ I think it’s ridiculous. It’s just one more thing for men and women to fight about. If we’re in love, we’re in love all the time, it shouldn’t be celebrated a certain time of year, except maybe on our anniversary. It puts unnecessary strain/pressure on the relationship. And it does makes being single suck a little bit. I love being single, but on VD, it is kind of a slap in the face.  -Chayla

♥ I really want to hate it, but what’s so bad about another day to show that you love the one you are with? Valentine’s Day is one thing, but I will never celebrate Sweetest Day. Sweetest Day is for suckers. -Leigh

♥ Valentines are nice, and I love getting cards from nieces and nephews with squigley lines drawn all over in crayon. -Megan

♥ I’m rarely in a relationship on Valentine’s Day. The last one I was in my boyfriend got me lingerie he had bought on a work trip to Buenos Aires. Sounds romantic, except it was black and red with what appeared to be a logo for tobasco sauce smack dab in the middle of the bra and underwear. Not cute. Needless to say, after we broke up [and the lingerie] was the first thing to go bye-bye. -Catherine

♥ Asked this question in 2008, I would have vehemently stated that I despise it with all my heart. But now, it’s OK. Better than OK if you happen to have a really top-notch Valentine, which, lucky me, I do. -Amalie

♥ I think it’s a fun, sweet holiday, and I am pro! –Jenny

♥ Honestly, it isn’t my thing. I much perfer a romantic dinner out on a random date than some date that the calendar tells us to go out. That being said, in my house, there is a tradition: a nice bottle of wine, pizza from Piece and a movie. And it is lovely. -Cathie (editors note: Piece is having a “Swingin’ Singles Party” on Valentine’s Day. It’s hard to endorse any type of organized singles event, but Piece is a trustworthy place.)