Table for Two

Date spots worth trying

The House of William & Merry

It’s rare, but when my wife and I do sneak out for a childless dinner, we like to go somewhere with a unique menu and ambiance. Owned and operated by a husband and wife team, this Hockessin restaurant boasts exquisite cuisine featuring fresh local ingredients and dishes that you won’t find elsewhere.

— Matt Loeb, Creative Director & Production Manager

Hummingbird to Mars

This clandestine speakeasy-themed bar is located above Catherine Rooney’s in Trolley Square, accessible from 16th Street. But as any Prohibition-era watering hole should be, it’s easy to miss if you’re not looking. Press the outside intercom, venture up the narrow stairway and enter a dimly-lit Gatsbyian universe of jazz and cocktails. The intimate, period-specific bar typically features around 10 seasonal cocktails. Beer and wine are available, too, as well as food from the restaurant downstairs. Live music Thursdays-Saturdays, starting at 8:30 p.m., features some of the area’s best artists, including regular performing duo Bruce & Sam.

— Krista Connor, Senior Editor & Media Manager

Chef Tan

For many, the dinner date has perhaps become a bit stale. The standard “sit down, order and eat” dining experience borders on the formulaic—and boring.

For those willing to deviate from the ordinary, try Chef Tan’s hot pot experience. Chef Tan is a Newark restaurant specializing in authentic Chinese cuisine, which includes the hot pot, a culinary adventure becoming trendy in the U.S. It’s a communal style of eating, requiring the dating partners to cook a variety of chosen ingredients in a specially spiced broth. You can select from several starting broths that range from mild to spicy, as well as an array of vegetables, meats and seafood to cook in the broth. The flavors are as rewarding as the overall experience, which serves to push both parties out of their comfort zones, and it requires cooperation. Your cell phone will be quickly forgotten, and your attention fixated on the fun task at hand, using chopsticks to continually add and remove ingredients from the broth.
At Chef Tan, the hot pot entrée is only $29.99. Learn more about the menu at

— Mathew Brown-Watson, Intern

Domaine Hudson

In terms of quality of cuisine, service and intimacy, there are few places in Wilmington that can compete with Domaine Hudson. It exudes feelings of quaint comforts and tradition, yet it’s far from staid or stuffy.

The restaurant, at 1314 N. Washington St., boasts an extensive wine list and a selection of Prohibition-era cocktails like the Sazerac and Ginger Side Car. But ultimately, it’s the menu that steals the show, with each shared plate and entrée created like a delicious work of art. The focus on details is first-rate.
While Domaine Hudson is the ideal place to celebrate Valentine’s Day, it also features “Date Night” every Thursday, with an enticing and affordable special: three courses and a bottle of wine for just $95 a couple.

Get more info at

Jim Miller, Director of Publications

Dressed to Thrill

38th Halloween Loop set for Saturday, Oct. 28

To say the Halloween Loop is Wilmington’s grandest nightlife tradition is no exaggeration. The event is older than most of its attendees.

On Saturday, Oct. 28, Wilmington’s biggest night out continues as 12 clubs join forces to host this revered citywide costumed pub crawl. Everyone 21 years or older is invited. The official start is 8 p.m.

“In terms of annual nightlife events in Wilmington, nothing really compares to the Halloween Loop,” says Jim Miller of Out & About Magazine, the presenting sponsor of the event. “Three things make it such a supremely successful series: longevity, draw, and spectacle.”

This year’s Loop lineup includes Catherine Rooney’s, Chelsea Tavern, Dead Presidents, Ernest & Scott Taproom, FireStone, Gallucio’s Café, Grotto Pizza, Kelly’s Logan House, Lavish, Timothy’s Riverfront, Trolley Oyster House and Trolley Tap House. A one-time $10 cover gains you admission to all participating Loop venues. Attendees will receive a wristband upon paying the cover.

New this year is a partnership with Lyft, the nationwide ride-on-demand company. A special code will be printed on all wristbands, entitling attendees to a free or discounted trip (depending on their destination) on their first use only. It’s one discount per caller, but if you work as a team your group can utilize Lyft all night for minimal cost.

“We’re proud to partner with the 38-year-old City Loop Series to ensure attendees can rely on Lyft for a safe and convenient ride on demand,” said Andrew Woolf, general manager, Lyft Pennsylvania, Delaware. “Across the country, Lyft partners with brands and organizations to help passengers get home safely and I’m thrilled to be offering that same opportunity to Delaware residents and visitors.”   

As for your Halloween Loop attire, dress to impress. By that we mean creativity is king when it comes to a costume. So don’t come as a cowboy, a Philadelphia Eagle or a Playmate. Think Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Sean Spicer, Justin Bieber…

There is no official starting point to the Loop. You simply select the nightspot you’d like to visit first, pay the cover charge, and receive a wristband that gains you admission to all other Loop venues without paying another cover.

Here are a few other Halloween Loop tips:

• Costumes are strongly recommended. This is a costumed bar crawl. Many venues have prizes. In fact, the Loop Patrol will be awarding on-the-spot prizes for costumes that catch their eye.

• Make it easy on yourself and have Lyft pick you up at your house. Then you’ll never have to worry about driving or parking.

• Wear a comfortable costume. Make sure it allows you to see where you are walking and use the rest room with ease. And make sure it doesn’t cause you to become overheated (Venues get very crowded on the Loop).

• Get there early. Lines begin forming by 9 p.m.

• If you don’t use Lyft, designate a sober driver or plan to stay in the city for the evening at a friend’s place or one of the city’s five hotels. There are also several complimentary Last Call Lots where you can leave your car overnight and pick it up the next day.

For a list of venues, Last Call Lots and updates on the Halloween Loop, visit