Best Mezcal Cocktails in Chicago

April 3, 2015
by Zagat Staff

Where to find the best cocktails made out of this underrated smoky liquor in Chicago.

The Bristol
American · Bucktown · $$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.3

A Bucktown "treasure" , this "hip" New American spot offers "rustic yet gourmet" plates that take "casual dining up two notches" through local sourcing and "modern twists" ; a "comfortable" , brick-walled space and "attentive" servers enhance its appeal, as do "well-constructed" cocktails which some say might be "the best part."
Big Star
Mexican · Wicker Park · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.1 · Service 3.8

A "garage turned honky-tonk taco shack" , Paul Kahan’s "Wicker Park institution" boasts a "party atmosphere" fueled by "loud vinyl" , "to-die-for" tacos and a "ferocious spirits selection" , not to mention "killer margaritas" ; factor in "low prices" and a "popular" patio with an "outdoor fiesta" –vibe and it’s no wonder it "can be hard to find a table" , but a walk-up window offers an "easy" take-out fix.
La Sirena Clandestina
Brazilian · West Loop · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.3

The menu may be "small" , but "big flavors" abound at chef-owner John Manion’s "winning" West Loop kitchen, where "excellent" Latin American plates such as "fantastic empanadas" and "don’t-miss Brazilian seafood stew" pair with "well-curated" bar offerings; the "intimate" , rustic space has "date-night" appeal and the "attentive" staff adds to the "fun" , "neighborhoody" vibe.
Masa Azul
Mexican · Logan Square · $$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.3

"Not-your-ordinary Mexican" fare is on the menu at this modern Logan Square "find" , serving up "interesting" dishes to pair with "creative" , "high-quality" cocktails; the "large" , urban-rustic setting features a concrete bar, dark wood and exposed-brick accents, plus a seasonal patio.
Takito Kitchen
Mexican · Ukrainian Village · $
Food 4.3 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.2

"Tasty" "exotic" tacos headline a menu of "creative" Mexican offerings at this Ukrainian Village joint also offering "standout" cocktails plus aguas frescas and loads of tequila; though some find it "pricey for the portions" , the rustic-industrial space is "perfect for happy hour, big group dinners or a fun date night."
Sable Kitchen & Bar
New American · River North · $$$
Food 4.3 · Decor 4.2 · Service 4.3

"Inventive" , "fun-to-share" American plates "just click" at this River North hang in the Hotel Palomar where "killer" cocktails fuel a "high-energy" bar scene in "luxe" surrounds; it's a "bit pricey" for some who find it "just OK" given the "hype" , but most conclude "there's little room for disappointment here."