Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right Illinois icon-chevron-right Chicago icon-chevron-right We sent two Chicagoans on a blind date in West Loop—here’s how it went
We sent two Chicagoans on a blind date in West Loop—here’s how it went
Photograph: John Khuu

We sent two Chicagoans on a blind date in West Loop—here’s how it went

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On a recent Wednesday night, we asked two Chicagoans to shut down their dating apps and trust us to set them up on an old-fashioned blind date. Ari and Justin met up at Time Out Market Chicago in the West Loop, where they sipped cocktails and noshed on bites from renowned chefs Abe Conlon, Brian Fisher and John Manion. At the end of the night, we asked these brave daters to report back on first impressions, chemistry and awkward moments. Was it a match? Keep reading to find out.

RECOMMENDED: Do you want Time Out editors to set you up on a blind date? Apply today.

Photograph: John Khuu

THE DATERS

ARI, 25: Designer, dancer, faux-influencer

JUSTIN, 24: Software developer, clarinetist, introvert

FIRST IMPRESSION

ARI

“I was really impressed with Justin’s sleek style. We were similar in height, which I always notice first. It was a fun bonus. He had an adorable smile and was genuinely welcoming.”

JUSTIN

“I could tell from our initial conversation that Ari and I would get along. Our similar mannerisms and humor made the conversation between us very easy and natural.

Photograph: John Khuu

CHEMISTRY

ARI

“We both seemed to lean into the unique circumstances of the blind date. He was prompt in asking questions to learn more about me, which I always find endearing. Though we both seemed excited to be there, the overall tone felt friendly.

JUSTIN

“I felt more of a platonic bond rather than something romantic. We have similar personalities, and I could tell Ari would be a great friend. I would hang out with Ari more to pursue a friendship.”

Photograph: John Khuu

AWKWARD MOMENT

ARI

“As I introduced myself, I realized the zipper on my jacket was stuck. I braced for torture imaging the entire evening sitting with my winter coat on. Thankfully it came undone with a few attempts.”

JUSTIN

I’m a natural hugger, and I thought that Ari was going for a hug, but then I saw his hand come forward. I immediately swooped in for the handshake, hoping he didn’t notice.”

Photograph: John Khuu

THE DATE SPOT: Time Out Market Chicago

ARI

“Time Out Market is an exciting new Chicago hot spot for anyone and everyone. There are a plethora of options, and you can’t go wrong with any of the offerings. If I went back, I would share small bites from a variety of the restaurants to try more of the menu.”

JUSTIN

“It’s an amazing atmosphere that's suitable for social meetups or even first dates. There was so much variety in cuisine, which I enjoyed. We loved the pork roast with clam from Abe Conlon. I'll definitely be back in the future to try out some of the other restaurants.”

THE VERDICT

ARI ♥♥♥♥ (out of 5)

“Justin and I had a lot in common and agreed it would be fun to see each other again in a more casual setting. I’m not sure there were strong romantic vibes, but I truly had a good time.”

JUSTIN ♥♥♥♥ (out of 5)

“This was my first blind date, and I had no idea what to expect. By the end of the night, I was glad that it happened, as I got to meet Ari. I would see him again to hang out and try new restaurants.”

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