Guns N' Roses once sang "I used to love her, but I had tequila". Well, almost, but the point is, tequila is delicious. As Dia de los Muertos approaches, celebrate the Mexican state of Jalisco's gift to the world at this quintet of Chicago agave hotspots.
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Tequila Bona Fides: Over 55 tequilas, which are poured in drinks like the Pablo (coconut! limonada! nutmeg! that's what's in the Pablo, honey) and the classic Mexican Firing Squad.
Quick Bite: Aguacate tacos: tempura'd avocado with pickled watermelon radish, cilantro, and serrano.
High Noon Saloon
Tequila Bona Fides: 20+ labels are being poured into apéritifs like the Spicy Mango Marg, costing you just $7 and one good Chris Kattan joke.
Quick Bite: The High Noon Nachos, topped with honey apple cider braised beef, black beans, cheddar, jack, pico, sour cream, and jalapenos.
Tequila Bona Fides: Over 50, including special reserves, plus plenty of margs spiced up with habanero syrup.
Quick Bite: Carne Apache, a beef ceviche dish served with chips. Jump on it!
Tequila Bona Fides: 40+, and cocktails like Montezuma’s Chalice, whose revenge is mixed with chartreuse, maraschino, and manzanilla sherry.
Quick Bite: The Tomatillo Pistachio Salsa. It only costs one more dollar than John Cusack still owes his paper boy ($3).
Tequila Bona Fides: The Chupacabra is no urban legend, it's a cocktail made with reposado, Grand Marnier, pineapple and lavender. There are 90 tequilas available here, and the 90z fiesta pitchers of margs ain't too shabby either.
Quick Bite: Churros with hot cajeta dipping sauce.
For a tequila experience you won't forget, head to Masa Azul. This 50-seat spot serves up nearly 90 different types of tequila varieties. It's not just drinks either, Masa Azul offers great tacos, ceviche, and guac! You know what goes great with Cinco de Mayo? Honestly, any of Azul's nearly 100 tequilas. Narrowing down the list would just be foolish.
Are you a fan of Tombstone? The 1993 film, not the popular frozen pizza brand. Because you can get an Old West feel and stop eating from the freezer section thanks to High Noon Saloon, a Tex-Mex tequila bar sporting a spur-scuffed hickory floor, olde-tyme photography, butcher block tables, and fringed leather stools.
Popular wisdom holds "liquor before beer and you're in the clear", but nobody's ever said "liquor before al pastor and you'll want some more"... until now thanks to Del Toro. From the family behind Pilsen staple F&R Liquors, DT's a laid-back adjacent tequila bar & grubbery with a mahogany hue, a U-shaped granite bar, and local abstract paintings, all punctuated by the sounds of Latin jazz and bossa nova, which is also how Brazilians describe their favorite PBS programming.
A small plate taqueria from a Carnivale vet (no, not Nick Stahl) putting a contemporary twist on Latin fare, Takito Kitchen makes good use of the gutted car wash space that most recently housed Sabor Saveur, with exposed pipes and distressed cedar lining the narrow corridor leading to a skylit back room decked with a graffiti mural touting the resto's name.