Spring break and crappy margaritas have given poor tequila a bad rap. But after one visit to Salud Tequila Lounge in Wicker Park, you’ll quickly let go of all those painful hangover memories.
Cushy, burnt sienna and gray booths, warmly lit tables and copper-plated bars highlight Salud's tequila-inspired décor. In the front room, the fake, textured tree and small alcoves showcasing various bottles behind the bar add to the flair. The much larger (and a bit brighter) back room features Diego Rivera-inspired artwork throughout and more seating at which to enjoy Mexican-influenced dishes like the $10 tequila burger—ground beef infused with tequila, dressed with guacamole, Chihuahua cheese and pico de gallo and served with fries.
You'll forget about your surroundings once you see the drink menu; Salud offers more than 75 varieties of tequila. The staff knows its stuff, and the tequilas are split into three categories on the menu—Blanco, Reposado (aged for at least two months) and Anejo (aged for at least a year)—for easier navigation. Order up a shot, costing from $5 to $10.50, or a larger two-ounce size for sipping. Salud also has a list of beautifully presented specialty drinks. Margaritas vary from traditional varieties to Salud’s version made with El Tesoro Platinum, agave nectar and hand-squeezed lime juice ($8). But since you’re at a tequila bar, give the ‘ritas a break and go for something that truly plays with the flavor of the agave plant, like the El Diablo with Gran Centenario Reposado, fresh lime juice, ginger ale and Chambord ($8). If you still can’t get into tequila after trying one of the specialty drinks, Salud has a full bar and a good selection of beers as well.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Maya Henderson