It’s no coincidence that this category’s winner was grandfathered in by the Pontiac, that lovably shitty parking lot at the epicenter of the Crotch’s outdoor scene. When Chicago’s reigning concept kings—Terry Alexander, Donnie Madia, et al.—took over the space last year, they cleaned it up but managed to keep most of the old crowd coming around, filling those patio tables with tacos in paper-lined baskets, pitchers of margaritas and deadly $3 whiskey shots. By the end of a starry, blurry summer night, even those most resistant to change are over the lost love of the Pontiac and onto a new main squeeze. 1531 N Damen Ave (773-235-4039).
Other nominees D.S. Tequila Co., Epic Sky, the Portage, Purple Pig