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Get a Dose of Chicago's Hippest Artisan Market

Dose Chicago

There's only one place in the Windy City where you'll find spiked snow cones, astrology readings, leather boat shoes, and a mini-barbershop all under one roof—and that's Dose, the monthly pop-up market showcasing food and fashion finds from throughout the Midwest.

The brainchild of a foursome of local tastemakers that includes editors from Time Out Chicago and the Chicago edition of Daily Candy, the event launched in June 2011, offering displaced shop owners and online artisans a physical space to peddle chiffon scarves, specialty cocktail bitters, and other funky items you never knew you needed. Chicago has been falling hard for Dose's carefully-curated (and ever-rotating) collection of 50 or so vendors, transforming the previously underutilized River East Arts Center—a massive, early 20th-century brick warehouse a few blocks from the fanny-packers at Navy Pier—into a cool place to shop, snack, and discover the next big thing.

Dose at Chicago: jewelry

Says Dose co-founder Emily Fiffer, on the market's philosophy for vendor selects: "We're choosy, but in a non-snobby way. We want the assortment to be special. We're always on the search for spectacular people who are producing really interesting things."

A recent edition delivered on that promise, as more than 1,500 people bounced from booth to booth under the exposed timber ceilings to sip industrial strength joe from Chicago's own Metropolis Coffee, sample meaty hunks of porchetta from Indianapolis charcuterie masters the Smoking Goose, and peruse glam 1980's jewelry from truck show treasure keepers Ladybug Vintage. DJs spun tunes from Steely Dan and the Pixies, and an abnormally warm spring day drew diners out the back doors to the Riverwalk overlooking the Chicago River, where the crowd was chomping on fried chicken legs from Honey Butter Chicken, a soon-to-open restaurant from the not-so-secret secret local supper club, Sunday Dinner.

Dose at Chicago: honey

At Dose's one-year anniversary on June 24, you can expect those aforementioned boozy snow cones (from local syrup company Jo Snow), as well as ice cream floats made with Snookelfritz ice cream and Seasons Soda, handmade baseballs from Buckshot Sonny's Sporting Goods, and Lifetherapy body products. By M Desserts will be supplying the cake. Sounds like our kind of birthday party.

Sunday, June 24, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at River East Art Center (435 E. Illinois St.); $10 admission at the door/$8 pre-order online.

Photos courtesy of Nathan Michael

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