A group of people interested in expanding their networks—social, professional, romantic—come to a comfy Wicker Park location for an evening of snack, drink, discussion, and low-key, no-pressure connection-making.
The one caveat? Everyone comes solo. No significant others, no friends, no security blankets. This levels the playing field so you don’t have to be nervous about not knowing anyone — no one knows anyone!
This is NOT a networking event. This is NOT a singles event. (People who are in relationships come too, they just can’t come with their mate!) This is a “unique experience with an interesting and diverse group of people who are all there for the same reason: to get to know friendly new people” event.
“One of the most interesting and original things I have been to in a long time.”—Woman, age 34
“A networking activity that goes somewhere.”—Man, age 35
“Mac & Cheese is a great way to meet new people in a welcoming environment. Saya is a terrific host and facilitator, and frankly, I have had more fun at her parties—where I knew no one—than at some parties where I knew everyone! There is something to be said for a room filled with people who actually want to get to know one another.”—Woman, age 41
“It is one of the most easy and relaxed settings I have ever been in to meet new people.”—Man, age 31
“When I woke up on this day a year ago, I had no idea that later that night I would be meeting the most amazing woman at a board-game Mingler (Thank you Saya Hillman!). I will never forget the first time I saw her lovely smiling face. I love you honey and am so incredibly grateful to have met you and to have the pleasure of calling you my girlfriend.”*—Woman, age 28
*Note: though this romantic story is AWESOME and romances do happen, Minglers are NOT dating events! Folks in relationships come (solo!) as well.
“I didn’t think it was possible to get so many fun, interesting people (complete strangers to boot!) in the same room at the same time. —Man, age 30
“On my drive home, I couldn’t help thinking how much last night confirms exactly why I love this city of ours. There are not a lot of places that you can go to a dinner party with a room full of complete strangers and leave with new batch of friends.”—Woman, age 36
“I think I may be addicted to these parties because I can’t seem to turn them down when you send out the notices . . . ”—Man, age 33
“I’ve been to around five of the Minglers. The party is always awesome, and it eliminates one of the things I don’t like about going to most parties thrown by friends or people you know . . . that you already know everyone there and don’t meet anyone new.” —Man, age 34
“Such a great balance of ages, professions, neighborhoods—such a better option than the local corner bar.” —Man, age 32
“Since everyone shows up alone, there are no cliques to break into, no inside jokes, no cool kids.”—Man, age 44
“Having recently moved to Chicago, I knew no one. I go to business networking events all the time, but it’s always work, work, work. Then I discovered Mac & Cheese. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun! Everyone was very social, was there to make new friends, and was all about having a good time. And as if that weren’t enough, Saya’s amazing job of keeping everyone happy throughout the night with food, drinks, and games definitely made the nominal price of admission well worth it.”—Man, age 31
To see media coverage, head here.
WHAT’S THE GOAL OF A MINGLER?
Expanding your network—professional, social, romantic—by making new connections in a comfortable and unique way.
WHERE DO MINGLERS HAPPEN?
In the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, near Division and Damen (exact address sent when you register).
IS THIS A DINNER PARTY?
No; make sure you eat dinner beforehand! We’ll have snacks and drinks, but it’s about meeting others and not so much about the grub. And, no, mac ‘n cheese is not actually served.
IS THIS A DATING SERVICE?
No. Do people get dates out of it? Yes!
IS THIS AN EMPLOYMENT SERVICE?
No. Do people get jobs out of it? Yes!
CAN I COME WITH A FRIEND OR SIGNIFICANT OTHER?
No. One of the things that make Minglers unique is the fact that no one knows anyone else. This levels the playing field and puts people at ease: you don’t have to worry about coming by yourself because everybody will be there solo!
WHAT DO MINGLERS COST?
$17 plus a drink or snack to share (you’ll get a request to bring a certain item about a week before the event).
HOW DO I PAY?
WHEN WILL I BE INVITED TO A MINGLER?
Minglers typically happen once every couple of months. Everyone receives notification of an upcoming Mingler at the same time and then it’s first come, first served (caveat: if someone you know is already coming, you’ll have to wait).
CAN I COME TO MORE THAN ONE MINGLER?
WHAT HAPPENS AT A MINGLER?
People chatting, getting to know each other, sharing snacks and drinks, playing games, exchanging contact info . . .
WHEN ARE THE MINGLERS?
Friday and Saturday evenings.
HOW LONG DO MINGLERS LAST?
However long people choose to hang out/until Saya kicks you out. The average Mingler breaks up around 10:30pm
WHAT DO I BRING?
- A ready-to-meet-new-people vibe
- Your assigned snack or drink
- Business cards, if you’d like
IS IT BYOB?
You only need to bring a drink if that’s the item you’re asked to contribute. Otherwise, there’ll be plenty to share!
HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL BE AT THE MINGLER?
Maybe 10, maybe 50. But usually 20ish.
WHAT IF I’M A SHY PERSON? WILL I FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE WITH A BUNCH OF PEOPLE I DON’T KNOW?
Remember, everyone’s in the same boat: nobody knows anybody at the start of a Mingler!
That often elicits a freeing sensation that you can be whoever you want to be.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?
This is not a suit/stiletto heels/buy a new outfit evening (unless you want to). Your host will most likely be in flip-flops and jeans. Dress for comfort!
WHAT KINDS OF PEOPLE COME TO THE MINGLERS?
Average age is early to mid-30s, though past participants have ranged from 22 to 65. Most attendees live in the city; most are single, but people who are dating/married come as well; attendees are both gay and straight. Professions range from teachers to financial consultants to nonprofit managers to police officers.
I’M GAY. CAN I SIGN UP?
I’M PART OF A COUPLE. CAN I SIGN UP?
Of course! But to maintain the popular dynamic of no one knowing each other, you’ll have to leave your significant other at home.
CAN YOU TELL ME SPECIFIC THINGS ABOUT THE MINGLER I’M ATTENDING [WILL I BE THE OLDEST ONE THERE? HOW MANY GUYS ARE COMING? HOW MANY GUESTS WILL BE THERE? ETC.]?
No. Don’t stress about details. Just come to have a good time!
ARE YOU IN CITIES OTHER THAN CHICAGO?
Not at the moment—but if you’re interested in bringing Minglers to your city, head here.