So, according to our nemesis, Punxsutawney Phil, there will be six more weeks of winter. Before you fly into a SAD-induced rage, consider that this season ain't all bad. Actually, we've found six (fitting, huh?) upcoming winter-friendly happenings that'll make you forget spring even exists. Well, maybe we won't go that far.
Yes, a healthy dose of suds will help get you through many a cold Chicago night (and we've especially been loving Goose Island's new Mild Winter Ale), but we're actually talking about a play here. The show, conceived by Neo-Futurists Steven Mosqueda and Sean Benjamin, is performed at the brand-new Metropolitan Brewing in Ravenswood. If you hate watery, mass-produced swill, and love barley puppets, you'll love this show. Through March 7 at Metropolitan Brewing, 5121 N. Ravenswood; 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday.
"Open That Bottle Night"
You know that nice bottle of wine you've been saving for just the right special occasion - and nothing's ever seemed good enough? Now's the time to pop the cork. This annual event was created in 2000 with the express purpose of giving people like you an excuse to enjoy the stuff before it turns to vinegar. And you can do it in style, as several Chicago restaurants are giving you the chance to bring in the bottle and get it poured with no corkage fee on February 28 (and if you don't have your own, many of them will sell you one at up to a 50-percent discount). Participating restaurants include Angelina Ristorante, Park 52, Red Kiva, Zocalo, Nacional 27, D.O.C. Wine Bar (Chicago and Lombard), Dunlays on the Square, Dunlays on Clark, Smoke Daddy, Frasca and Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club. Be sure to confirm the deal before heading to the restaurant.
Soup and Bread
Every Wednesday evening, the Hideout offers a selection of free soups made by bar staff as well as accomplished outside contributors - this week's lineup includes Celeste Dolan of Celestial Kitchens, local artist Diana Gurley and the team from Milk and Honey/Cipollina in Wicker Park. C'mon, who wants to eat soup when it's over 40 degrees? Check out Centerstage's writeup here. 5-8 p.m. Wednesdays through April 1 at the Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia
Snow Days Chicago
Talk about making the most of the season. This inaugural city fest in Grant Park features five days of snow-sculpting competitions, dog sled demonstrations, kids' activities and more. February 12-16 at the Spirit of Music Garden, 601 S. Michigan; free admission
Like lingerie? This steamy fashion show, presented by AKIRA, is betting that you do. Male and female models will strut the runway, showcasing underwear from Bjorn Borg (yes, the Swedish tennis legend has a fashion company; no, the skivvies won't all have pinstripes). Get there early for a Belvedere vodka cocktail reception from 10-11 p.m.; the show starts at midnight. Thursday, February 12 at Manor, 642 N. Clark.
It's only natural to want to indulge in luxurious desserts during the winter months, but unless you want to be carrying around an extra layer of insulation come June, you'd better be prepared to work it off. That should be easy at the Garfield Park Conservatory's Sweet Saturdays events. Visitors can learn about and sample many natural sweets, from cocoa beans to cinnamon bark (there will also be sponsored booths with more samples, a members' only chocolate lounge and kids' activities galore), then undo some of the damage by walking around the approximately 4.5-acre conservatory. If you've really got a sweet tooth, make sure to check out the Sugar from the Sun exhibit. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. February 7, 14 and 21 at Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park; $2 suggested donation