Make new friends in Chicago
Grow your posse with clubs, classes, meet-ups and more.
Talk to her. Or him.
Parlez-vous Français? (Or Deutsch or Russkiy or Español?) There’s a free monthly language Meetup Group for each tongue at Mercury Café. Start brushing up on your verb conjugations to join former French teacher Marilyn Williams’s Francophile discussion group on the first Monday of every month. If Russian’s more your speed, show up on the second Sunday for local Russian radio-show host Igor Golubchik’s group. Its hangout time goes beyond the monthly chat sessions: “I’m also a Russian event promoter, so sometimes we’ll get about 30 or 40 people from the Meetup to come out for a concert or show,” he says. Check the website for other languages and schedules.
You and I tunes
The Old Town School of Folk Music (eight-week course $145–$160) has built a rep over the past 50 years as one of the friendliest, most feel-good spots in Chicago. Aspiring fiddle, ukelele, cello and accordion players can bond over the cacophony as they learn their first notes, or more seasoned players can be part of an ensemble—Beatles, Tweedy and Creedence are just a few of the repertoires offered. Irish music classes have the best new bar-buddy potential: Former bodhran (Irish drum) student Beth Radabaugh says her classmates met at Paddy pubs after class to throw back pints and practice their new skills at open sessions.
If you think joining a heritage club means donning an embroidered dress to folk-dance across a VFW hall stage, think again. The DANK Haus (773-561-9181; membership $30) German cultural center in Lincoln Square hosts jazz concerts, movie nights and cocktail hours geared toward a hip, young set. For the Young Irish Fellowship Club (312-902-1943), celebrating Irish culture, making new friends and supporting local charities is the holy trinity of its mission statement. Latino professionals can mix business and pleasure via the Chicago Latino Network; its annual Schmoozefest mixer hits April 30.