Finding a tequila bar in the West Loop is pretty much as simple as closing your eyes, spinning in a circle, and pointing in any random direction. With Velvet Taco, Texan Taco Bar, and let’s not forget the incredible Taco Bell Cantina on Randolph, it may seem like an oversaturated market for another run of the mill tequila bar. Luckily for us, we’ve been recently graced with Bodega Taqueria y Tequila. After opening fittingly on May 5, patrons can now enjoy everything Bodega West Loop has to offer, and trust me when I say there is a lot they offer.
Bodega Taqueria y Tequila comes all the way to us from South Florida, where, since its conception, the brand has soared in popularity. With locations in Aventura, Coconut Grove, Fort Lauderdale, South Beach, and West Palm Beach, it’s almost like we’re getting a little taste of Florida nightlife without having to take a two and a half hour flight.
When you first walk in, Bodega is as unassuming as a food truck. Menu board to the left, high tops and tables with colorful metal chairs, and cashiers standing behind what looks like a trailer ready to take your order. At this point you should probably order a frozen strawberry margarita, especially if you’re looking for another thing to increase your already sky-high excitement for summer. If you plan on just stopping by Bodega for some of their delicious eats and a quick drink, the front area is perfectly casual. With both staff and management bopping around, you won’t be left wondering “who actually works here”, like some other bars around the city.
If you’re looking for more of a late night hang, start to make your way down the graffiti covered hallway. When I stopped in, I was welcomed by disco cowgirls who’s outfits I’m really hoping I can borrow for a few Nashville bachelorette parties this year. As modest as the front of the space is, when you get to the speakeasy style back room, everything changes (in a really good way). With low, velvet booths, a wildly impressive bar space, and of course, the conversation starting sign proudly boasting “Love Me, F**k Me” on the wall, the back of Bodega Taqueria y Tequila has everything you need for girls night, date night, or just an average night where you want to feel a little glamorous.
Of course, this tequila bar has all your classics like a house margarita and Coronas, but what really separates Bodega from the others are their signature drinks like the pico picante, made with tequila, cilantro, cucumber lime, and some jalapeño for a little kick. What stood out to me outside of the great drinks was definitely the mouthwatering food. I, for one, am a huge fan of quesabirria tacos. Like, they are potentially God’s greatest gift to the world, and the tacos at Bodega surely did not disappoint. With other options like steak quesadillas, al pastor tacos with juicy watermelon, and crispy fish (my mouth is officially watering), the options at Bodega are simply perfect and delicious whether you’re just popping in for dinner or hanging out for the night.
Overall, Bodega is definitely a fun, new, trendy spot. The uniqueness in having a totally casual eatery in the front and a hidden speakeasy in the back is really what’s going to separate this place from some of our other favorites in the West Loop. If there’s two things to take away from this that should influence your decision to check it out, it’s the endless amounts of tequila and the thought of getting your hands on a platter of birria tacos.
Featured Image Credit: via Eater Chicago