By Lauren Zumbach
Though several guests at Bottle & Bottega’s art party in suburban Glen Ellyn on a recent Tuesday night said they hadn’t painted since they were kids, it didn’t matter.
The night’s festivities were decidedly adult.
As local artists showed participants how to paint empty wine glasses with snowmen and holly, most sipped from full glasses close by.
“It’s more like a night out than a learning experience,” said Kara Dosen, of Wheaton, attending her second event at the studio to celebrate the holidays with friends Dawn Will and Theresa Field.
“Everything’s better with booze,” Field said.
Whether BYOB, “bring your own booze,”or with an in-house bar, “sip and paint” studio owners say art businesses that cater to adults have been spreading quickly in the Chicago area. Bottle & Bottega claims to have had the first location in Chicago, which opened in 2009.
“You can always go to a restaurant or bar and have a drink, but it’s nice to have something different for a night out,” said Meg LeFaivre, owner of Bottle & Bottega’s suburban La Grange location.
Most of the studios focus on canvas painting, though some also let participants try glass painting, jewelry making and other crafts.
Studio owners said the vast majority of participants are novice artists, so classes and parties typically have step-by-step artist instruction. Studio owners said they also offer kid-friendly events and private parties, such as corporate events, birthdays and bachelorette parties.
A particularly popular option for the latter, and at monthly ladies’ nights, are painting parties with a nude male model, LeFaivre said.
“We’re not fine art, we’re fun art,” said Lynn Day, owner of Bottle & Bottega in Glen Ellyn. “People come here to be with friends and do something outside their comfort zone.”
Non-drinkers are welcome, too. Kathryn Almeda, owner of Art a la Carte in Orland Park, said BYOB includes any beverage of choice. But she also said being booze-friendly is key to attracting adults.