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.

Embeya Restaurant
Asian · West Loop · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.4

This "gorgeous" West Loop locale "continues to surprise" with "cool" Asian fare including "delicious" plates that "push the envelope a little" offered in "elegant" , "sexy" surrounds with a marble bar; factor in a "welcoming" staff that adds to the "sparkling atmosphere" and fans say the "pricey" tabs are "worth it.
The Bristol
American · Bucktown · $$
Food 4.5 · 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
Wicker Park · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.0 · Service 3.7

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
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 4.0 · 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
Latin American · Ukrainian Village · $
Food 4.3 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.1

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
American · River North · $$$
Food 4.3 · Decor 4.1 · 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.
Red Door Kitchen + Bar
American · Bucktown · $$

Wicker Park · $$$

Reborn with a shorter name and a chef from Longman & Eagle, the former Trencherman still serves creative New American fare alongside a revamped beverage program of classic cocktails, beer, wine and cider on tap. The bi-level setting inside a former bathhouse retains its vintage-industrial vibe with distressed tile walls and a radiator bar, plus the addition of a DJ booth.