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This week's Culture Vultures recommend:

Bavette's Bar & Boeuf, JR by William Gaddis, and the puppet bike

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Jeffry Stanton, director of Hot 'n' Throbbing at Interrobang Theatre Project, gets all Don Draper for:

Bavette's Bar & Boeuf On a recent hunt for a funky, comfy boîte for after-dinner cocktails to celebrate my husband's 40th birthday, we found ourselves at the newly opened Bavette's Bar & Boeuf in River North, by restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff. The expansive restaurant transports you to another time with Prohibition-era red leather booths, dark wood, and a long zinc-topped bar, but the downstairs lounge is magical. It's intimate, low-ceilinged, dark—nearly pitch-black, with faces in leather banquettes lit only by candlelight and mounted animal heads peering down ironically on steaks and giant icy shrimp cocktails. The vintage cocktail menu would certainly make Al Capone as happy as the carefully crafted Lillet Rose martinis made us. With its swank speakeasy vibe, you could imagine clandestine affairs being had and top-secret deals being made, or perhaps that's just my overactive imagination. In any case, I can't wait to return to Bavette's to try dinner in the dark.

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