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Date at D.O.C.

By Hanna Aronovich in Food on Mar 28, 2006 3:47PM

doc logo.jpg Even for seasoned singles, dating is difficult. What to wear? What to talk about? Where to go? While some opt for a romantic evening at ESPN Zone, Chicagoist prefers a subtler ambiance. At 2602 N. Clark, D.O.C. Wine Bar proves to be an excellent spot for a cozy date or drinks with friends.

Portholed windows and a log-style exterior invoke a nautical theme. In the main front room, the ship theme meets swanky lounge with low-slung tables dotted with candles, plush booths, high ceilings, exposed brick and hardwood floors.

Neutral gray and blues in the front are contrasted by the more intense "red room" in back. Behind a beaded curtain, red walls, velvety banquettes, soft stools and a wood-burning fireplace create a vibrant, but intimate setting. lounge-1.jpg

Dual named after next-door Dunlays on Clark and a quality of wine from specific regions in Italy (Denominazione di Origine Controllata), D.O.C.’s multi-paged wine list offers selections from France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Argentina and the United States. Wines can be purchased by the bottle, glass or flight, along with a variety of spirits, ports, cocktails and champagnes. Hot and cold small-plate appetizers, as well as vegetable, meat and cheese plates compliment the offerings. D.O.C. also hosts wine tastings and private parties.

bar-1.jpgWhen Chicagoist stopped by on a Thursday night, the crowd was a mix of couples and groups of friends deep in conversation. Plenty of seating remained up front, but we opted for the cozier backroom. Our waitress was friendly and attentive, suggesting a sweeter white wine. Although she used the term “fruit forward” multiple times, she seemed knowledgeable enough.

When you want to show off your skeeball skills, ESPN Zone is the place. But when atmosphere matters, head to D.O.C. and settle in for an intimate evening. Who knows where it might lead.