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A margarita in a high ball glass with a wedge of lime.
Tzuco in River North has fancy margaritas.
Tzuco/Neil Burger

Where to Sip a Refreshing Margarita in Chicago

From classic to newfangled, here’s where to drink the Mexican staple

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Tzuco in River North has fancy margaritas.
| Tzuco/Neil Burger

In most U.S. cities, margaritas are the most popular alcoholic drink served at bars and restaurants. Chicago is different, where cold weather makes whisky drinks like the Old Fashioned, stirred and boozy drinks, are more popular. But Chicago transforms in the spring and summer making the city crave some thing more refreshing. The city has no shortage of quality Mexican restaurants and bars that specialize in tequila and mezcal, so drinkers are in for a treat, not just the sugar-bloated messes mixed at chain restaurants. The city’s margaritas mix up style and fun, here’s a few of the best.

As of April 29, Chicago restaurants are permitted to serve customers indoors with a 50 percent maximum capacity per room, or 100 people — whichever is fewer. Regardless, the state requires reservations for both indoor and outdoor dining. However, this should not be taken as an endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns. For updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. ROJO GUSANO

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4217 N Ravenswood Ave
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 360-7687
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Rojo Gusano sports locations in Ravenswood and Albany Park with food from a Chicago legend, consulting chef Dudley Nieto. There’s three margaritas on the bar menu: 3G, Blue Blood, and Casa Margarita. There’s also patio seating.

2. Tuco and Blondie

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3358 N Southport Ave
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 327-8226
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Tuco and Blondie is a family-friendly spot that evokes all those great memories of chain Mexican restaurants but then elevates it to modern Chicagoan sensibilities. The colorful spot adds an egg white to its classic drink for a refreshing twist.

3. Mayan Palace Mexican Cuisine

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2721 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 935-4200
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Neighborhood favorite Mayan Palace in Lincoln Park offers a robust tequila selection to use in its Mayan Gold margaritas. There’s also a cadre of house options in flavors such as banana, guava, and pomegranate, and a Casamigos mezcal margarita for those who love that smoky flavor.

4. Las Fuentes Restaurant

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2558 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 935-2004
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Las Fuentes has it all: a lovely outdoor patio, solid Mexican food, and tons of margarita options. It’s near DePaul but draws all kinds of diners and drinkers with traditional, fruity, and smoky cocktails by the glass, half- and full pitcher.

5. Mi Tocaya Antojería

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2800 W Logan Blvd
Chicago, IL 60647
(872) 315-3947
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Plenty’s been written about the excellent food at Diana Dávila’s dynamo in Logan Square, but patrons should care to peruse the cocktail list assembled by bartender Julieta Campos. It includes a traditional margarita (tequila blanco, lime juice, cointreau, agave) alongside tequila-based creations like El Grito (tequila reposado almendrado, aquafaba, orange bitters) and El Jefe De Jefes (tequila blanco, mezcal, pickled apple, mesquite).

6. Dos Urban Cantina

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2829 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 661-6452
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This creative Mexican restaurant in Logan Square from a husband-wife team who worked with Rick Bayless has a few margaritas on the menu. The Top Shelf comes with Fortaleza blanco tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice.

7. Big Star

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1531 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 235-4039
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Patio destination Big Star has featured a classic margarita (tequila, Marie Brizard curacao, Gran Gala orange liqueur, lime juice) on its menu since 2009. It’s available by glass or pitcher. Last year, the company launched a canned version that’s for sale at Binny’s, Foxtrot Markets, and some Whole Foods locations.

8. Takito Kitchen

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2013 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 687-9620
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This fun and casual Mexican restaurant also has locations in West loop and Lincoln Park. There’s an extensive selection of margaritas with varieties including a tamarind cilantro, pineapple serano, and cucumber. There’s also patio seating.

9. Esmeralda's Lounge

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2539 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622
(312) 479-7121
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The cocktail menu at Esmerelda’s, a newish lounge that aims to blend tiki and Latin flavors in Humboldt Park, tends to err on the tropical side. Despite that, bartenders have concocted an unusual spin to tempt margarita drinkers: a bell pepper margarita with mezcal, lime, and wormsalt (made from the larvae that inhabit the agave plant).

10. Tzuco

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720 N State St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 374-8995
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Star chef Carlos Gaytán’s upscale restaurant Tzuco in River North — a subtle and smart love letter to his hometown of Huitzuco, Mexico — applies the same thoughtfulness to the cocktail menu as it does the food. Fans of the classics can try a Tzuco Margarita (tequlila, orange liqueur, elderflower, cucumber, lime), while more adventurous drinkers the Pibil (tequila, almond, guajillo, cumin, pineapple vinegar, lime).

11. Bar Sótano

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In the alley behind Frontera Grill, 443 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 391-5857
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The first bar from Rick Bayless features drinks from daughter Lanie Bayless. While the drink menu isn’t as extensive as it was pre-pandemic, there are some fun options in the space below Frontera (there’s also seating in the alley). A jalapeño grapefruit margarita features jalapeño-infused G4 blanco tequila, simple syrup, fresh grapefruit, and lime juice. Then there’s a mango chamoy concoction that’s served in a bag. It’s made with Espolon blanco, mango, chamoy, lime, Tajin, and Topo Chico.

12. La Josie

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740 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 929-2900
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La Josie, a rare family-owned spot on Randolph Restaurant Row, has a deep mezcal menu with selections from eight Mexican states. Drinks including a margarita with mezcal (Banhez, lime, Pierre Ferrand dry curaçao, organic agave, gusano salt rim) and a margarita with tequila (Libelula, lime, Pierre Ferrand dry curaçao, organic agave, salt rim). Patio seating available, and there’s seats next to large windows with plenty of ventilation.

13. Cruz Blanca Brewery & Taquería

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904 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 733-1975
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This West Loop brewery and taqueria, perched next door to Baja-influenced sister restaurant Lena Brava, offers a tight selection of margaritas. These include a house option (Espolon blanco, Combier d’Orange, agave, lime) and a mezcal-based counterpart, plus a spicy mango margarita with a tajin rim. Last July, co-founder and celebrity chef Rick Bayless left the restaurant. The mysterious addition of Au Cheval products on the menu seems to show there’s been another shift in ownership, but Hogsalt’s Brendan Sodikoff has ignored requests for clarification.

14. La Vaca Margarita Bar

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1160 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 829-1147
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Boistrous Pilsen patio spot La Vaca might just be paradise for margarita fans, as it features a big variety of options that come frozen, blended, or on the rocks. Flavors include tamarindo, mango-guava, strawberry, blackberry, and passion fruit. There’s also a Lincoln Park location.

15. La Luna

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1726 S Racine Ave
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 248-8940
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Mexican restaurant La Luna in Pilsen doesn’t skimp on creative margarita riffs, such as the sweet and spicy La Fresita (Casamigos blanco, strawberry habanero, lime, salt). Other summery options include a blood orange hibiscus margarita, and Mata Miel (mezcal, honey pineapple, lime, hellfire bitters). The spot is from the family of Sam Sanchez, the bar owner who gave Chicago John Barleycorn’s.

16. Del Toro Tequila Bar & Restaurant

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2133 S Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 733-7144
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A sleek and modern spot with a menu of top-notch tacos, Del Toro doesn’t disappoint when it comes to margaritas. Patrons will find 14 varieties such as the Coco Loco (3G blanco, Cointreau, coconut water, coconut cream, lime) and La Mula (Herradura blanco, lime, ginger beer, pineapple or strawberry).

17. Osito's Tap

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2553 S Ridgeway Ave
Chicago, IL 60623
(773) 277-8117
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Bartenders at Osito’s Tap have an undeniable advantage over nearly every other margarita-maker in Chicago, as they come armed with access sister retail spot Moreno’s Liquors — home to the largest collection of tequilas in the Midwest. Beverage director Denise Soto isn’t a fan of the drink, but that doesn’t mean margarita drinkers can’t be pleased. Soto’s created a sophisticated cocktail list inspired by Mexico City that features hits like El Pepinaso (Corazon tequila blanco, aloe liqueur, cucumber, jalapeno, lime, agave nectar, jalapeno/habanero salt rim).

18. Antique Taco

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1000 W 35th St
Chicago, IL 60609
(773) 823-9410
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Pop by Antique Taco for refreshing and fun takes on the traditional margarita in Bridgeport and Wicker Park. Flavor options include rosemary, citrus mezcal, blueberry basil (Bridgeport only), and strawberry basil (Wicker Park only).

1. ROJO GUSANO

4217 N Ravenswood Ave, Chicago, IL 60613

Rojo Gusano sports locations in Ravenswood and Albany Park with food from a Chicago legend, consulting chef Dudley Nieto. There’s three margaritas on the bar menu: 3G, Blue Blood, and Casa Margarita. There’s also patio seating.

4217 N Ravenswood Ave
Chicago, IL 60613

2. Tuco and Blondie

3358 N Southport Ave, Chicago, IL 60657

Tuco and Blondie is a family-friendly spot that evokes all those great memories of chain Mexican restaurants but then elevates it to modern Chicagoan sensibilities. The colorful spot adds an egg white to its classic drink for a refreshing twist.

3358 N Southport Ave
Chicago, IL 60657

3. Mayan Palace Mexican Cuisine

2721 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

Neighborhood favorite Mayan Palace in Lincoln Park offers a robust tequila selection to use in its Mayan Gold margaritas. There’s also a cadre of house options in flavors such as banana, guava, and pomegranate, and a Casamigos mezcal margarita for those who love that smoky flavor.

2721 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60614

4. Las Fuentes Restaurant

2558 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

Las Fuentes has it all: a lovely outdoor patio, solid Mexican food, and tons of margarita options. It’s near DePaul but draws all kinds of diners and drinkers with traditional, fruity, and smoky cocktails by the glass, half- and full pitcher.

2558 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60614

5. Mi Tocaya Antojería

2800 W Logan Blvd, Chicago, IL 60647

Plenty’s been written about the excellent food at Diana Dávila’s dynamo in Logan Square, but patrons should care to peruse the cocktail list assembled by bartender Julieta Campos. It includes a traditional margarita (tequila blanco, lime juice, cointreau, agave) alongside tequila-based creations like El Grito (tequila reposado almendrado, aquafaba, orange bitters) and El Jefe De Jefes (tequila blanco, mezcal, pickled apple, mesquite).

2800 W Logan Blvd
Chicago, IL 60647

6. Dos Urban Cantina

2829 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

This creative Mexican restaurant in Logan Square from a husband-wife team who worked with Rick Bayless has a few margaritas on the menu. The Top Shelf comes with Fortaleza blanco tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice.

2829 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

7. Big Star

1531 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Patio destination Big Star has featured a classic margarita (tequila, Marie Brizard curacao, Gran Gala orange liqueur, lime juice) on its menu since 2009. It’s available by glass or pitcher. Last year, the company launched a canned version that’s for sale at Binny’s, Foxtrot Markets, and some Whole Foods locations.

1531 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

8. Takito Kitchen

2013 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622

This fun and casual Mexican restaurant also has locations in West loop and Lincoln Park. There’s an extensive selection of margaritas with varieties including a tamarind cilantro, pineapple serano, and cucumber. There’s also patio seating.

2013 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622

9. Esmeralda's Lounge

2539 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622

The cocktail menu at Esmerelda’s, a newish lounge that aims to blend tiki and Latin flavors in Humboldt Park, tends to err on the tropical side. Despite that, bartenders have concocted an unusual spin to tempt margarita drinkers: a bell pepper margarita with mezcal, lime, and wormsalt (made from the larvae that inhabit the agave plant).

2539 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622

10. Tzuco

720 N State St, Chicago, IL 60654

Star chef Carlos Gaytán’s upscale restaurant Tzuco in River North — a subtle and smart love letter to his hometown of Huitzuco, Mexico — applies the same thoughtfulness to the cocktail menu as it does the food. Fans of the classics can try a Tzuco Margarita (tequlila, orange liqueur, elderflower, cucumber, lime), while more adventurous drinkers the Pibil (tequila, almond, guajillo, cumin, pineapple vinegar, lime).

720 N State St
Chicago, IL 60654

11. Bar Sótano

In the alley behind Frontera Grill, 443 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

The first bar from Rick Bayless features drinks from daughter Lanie Bayless. While the drink menu isn’t as extensive as it was pre-pandemic, there are some fun options in the space below Frontera (there’s also seating in the alley). A jalapeño grapefruit margarita features jalapeño-infused G4 blanco tequila, simple syrup, fresh grapefruit, and lime juice. Then there’s a mango chamoy concoction that’s served in a bag. It’s made with Espolon blanco, mango, chamoy, lime, Tajin, and Topo Chico.

In the alley behind Frontera Grill, 443 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60654

12. La Josie

740 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661

La Josie, a rare family-owned spot on Randolph Restaurant Row, has a deep mezcal menu with selections from eight Mexican states. Drinks including a margarita with mezcal (Banhez, lime, Pierre Ferrand dry curaçao, organic agave, gusano salt rim) and a margarita with tequila (Libelula, lime, Pierre Ferrand dry curaçao, organic agave, salt rim). Patio seating available, and there’s seats next to large windows with plenty of ventilation.

740 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60661

13. Cruz Blanca Brewery & Taquería

904 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607

This West Loop brewery and taqueria, perched next door to Baja-influenced sister restaurant Lena Brava, offers a tight selection of margaritas. These include a house option (Espolon blanco, Combier d’Orange, agave, lime) and a mezcal-based counterpart, plus a spicy mango margarita with a tajin rim. Last July, co-founder and celebrity chef Rick Bayless left the restaurant. The mysterious addition of Au Cheval products on the menu seems to show there’s been another shift in ownership, but Hogsalt’s Brendan Sodikoff has ignored requests for clarification.

904 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607

14. La Vaca Margarita Bar

1160 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

Boistrous Pilsen patio spot La Vaca might just be paradise for margarita fans, as it features a big variety of options that come frozen, blended, or on the rocks. Flavors include tamarindo, mango-guava, strawberry, blackberry, and passion fruit. There’s also a Lincoln Park location.

1160 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608

15. La Luna

1726 S Racine Ave, Chicago, IL 60608

Mexican restaurant La Luna in Pilsen doesn’t skimp on creative margarita riffs, such as the sweet and spicy La Fresita (Casamigos blanco, strawberry habanero, lime, salt). Other summery options include a blood orange hibiscus margarita, and Mata Miel (mezcal, honey pineapple, lime, hellfire bitters). The spot is from the family of Sam Sanchez, the bar owner who gave Chicago John Barleycorn’s.

1726 S Racine Ave
Chicago, IL 60608

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16. Del Toro Tequila Bar & Restaurant

2133 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60608

A sleek and modern spot with a menu of top-notch tacos, Del Toro doesn’t disappoint when it comes to margaritas. Patrons will find 14 varieties such as the Coco Loco (3G blanco, Cointreau, coconut water, coconut cream, lime) and La Mula (Herradura blanco, lime, ginger beer, pineapple or strawberry).

2133 S Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60608

17. Osito's Tap

2553 S Ridgeway Ave, Chicago, IL 60623

Bartenders at Osito’s Tap have an undeniable advantage over nearly every other margarita-maker in Chicago, as they come armed with access sister retail spot Moreno’s Liquors — home to the largest collection of tequilas in the Midwest. Beverage director Denise Soto isn’t a fan of the drink, but that doesn’t mean margarita drinkers can’t be pleased. Soto’s created a sophisticated cocktail list inspired by Mexico City that features hits like El Pepinaso (Corazon tequila blanco, aloe liqueur, cucumber, jalapeno, lime, agave nectar, jalapeno/habanero salt rim).

2553 S Ridgeway Ave
Chicago, IL 60623

18. Antique Taco

1000 W 35th St, Chicago, IL 60609

Pop by Antique Taco for refreshing and fun takes on the traditional margarita in Bridgeport and Wicker Park. Flavor options include rosemary, citrus mezcal, blueberry basil (Bridgeport only), and strawberry basil (Wicker Park only).

1000 W 35th St
Chicago, IL 60609

Related Maps