Your Next Date Night, in Three Courageous Acts

A week from today, The Last Defender — a Cold War-era theatre experience billed as equal parts performance play, puzzle hunt and live-action game — opens at the Chopin Theatre. We suggest you make it your first wild-card date of 2016. Here’s how to do it right.

Act One: Dinner
If you haven’t been to Ruxbin lately, the time to go is now. The lauded Noble Square standby just revamped its menu and now offers a pre-fixe, communal-style tasting spread. Changes daily but always priced at $65. The meal: five diverse courses, from rabbit and waffles to crisped jackfruit with grits and gravy. Reservations here. Eat up. You’re gonna need the brainpower.

Ruxbin, 851 N. Ashland Ave. (map)

Act Two: The Show
An immersive, interactive sci-fi stage play set in a nuclear bunker during the Cold War, The Last Defender is a collaboration between director Nathan Allen and puzzle designer Sandy Weisz (who we’ve covered here before), with art direction from DC Comics artist Chris Burnham. A shoddy “escape room” experience this is not. This is a full-blown production play, where you and 15 other guests must save the world from a nuclear meltdown. Your decisions drive the narrative. Multiple endings abound. Better dead than red, right? Tickets on sale now.

Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St. (map)

Act Three: Drink and Discuss
Assuming nuclear disarmament was a success, end your evening with a short jaunt down the road to Queen Mary, a throwback maritime saloon where you and yours can cozy up and debrief. Ask your bartender for the daily grog. Order two and proceed from there.

Queen Mary, 2125 W. Disivion St. (map)