17 Dec 5 restaurants to go out for drinks on New Year’s Eve in Chicago
Año nuevo, vida nueva! The end of the year gets closer every day, the air begins to feel electric, and we can’t help but feel a hopeful spirit lifting our steps. But before we jump into the new year, let’s have la ultima y nos vamos. Here are some of the best spots to send off the year with drinks, music, and of course, SABOR!
Chicago is known for its Art Deco skyline, thriving culinary scene, and complexity of cultures and neighborhoods—but the Windy City also has a Latin beat. By day, you might explore the vibrant communities of Pilsen, Little Village, and Humboldt Park, where you can take in pop-up art installations, colorful murals of cultural pride, live DJs, and museums such as the National Museum of Mexican Art and the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture. By night, you can hit dance floors all around town for salsa bachata, baila Fridays, and noches Latinas. On New Year’s Eve, everyone really wants to keep the party going—and find late-night Latin food in Chicago beyond carnitas, elote, chicharrones, tres leches cake, and specialty cervesas. Here are some of our picks for some of the best Latin bars for New Year’s Eve drinks in Chicago.
1. Ositos Tap
Open since 2019, this speakeasy-inspired bar adds modern Latinx flair to the classic Bohemian style of the early 1990s Little Village area. You’ll find craft spirits, exposed brick walls, and cozy booths here, along with signature whiskey cocktails and foods such as Bourbon County Brisket Chili cooked with local Goose Island beer and served with Oaxaca sour cream, onions, and chips.
We also like the gluten-free Mole Rosa featuring a fragrant epazote chicken thigh filé served with red and white lime rice; the Molote Oaxaqueno, or masa stuffed with a mushroom-and-walnut-spiced picadillo; and the Vegan Tacos featuring a bean mix spread, vegan queso, house-made salsa, and sauteed seasonal greens.
As for Latin drinks in Chicago, Osito’s delivers a handpicked selection of bourbon, rye, tequila, and mezcal. It also serves a variety of vodka, gin, whiskey, brandy, cognac, rum, and “alternative Mexican spirits,” such as La Venenosa Sierra del Tigre, Sotol Por Siempre, and La Reyna Racilla.
2. Artango Bar & Steakhouse
Argentine cuisine, lively music, and a blend of neoclassical and Art Nouveau architecture and décor rank Artango Bar & Steakhouse among the top Chicago, Illinois, Latin food restaurants, especially for New Year’s Eve. (You may want to call ahead for reservations.) Raise a toast with a house cocktail such as the Volvér, La Pampa, Tanguero, De Mi Barrio, or Baires Martini while you enjoy a live show of Latin jazz, Argentine tango, or Flamenco dancing. Its flavorful, rustic menu features imported Argentinian steaks grilled the traditional asado way and served with chimichurri or a house-made Criolla sauce—and a glass of Malbec, if you like. You’ll find tira de ancho, bife de chorizo, ojo de bife, and other fine cuts here, along with a variety of other flavorful bites, including three types of ceviche, Pulpo a la Plancha (seared octopus), empanadas, homemade hamburgers, pasta dishes, and grilled market fish. Round out the meal with fingerling potato lyonnaise with truffle oil, sweet plantains, or Spanish rice.
3. Tsukiji Sushi & Sake Bar
When you’re going out in Chicago, Illinois, few places entice your taste buds, like Tsukiji with its Japanese Latin fusion. (We like the warm glow of the dining room’s lanterns and chic golden accents, too.) For New Year’s Eve drinks, try the Sapporo, Asahi, or other beers, or sample the selection of sake, including Osakaya Chobei, Karatamba, hot sake, and Ozeki Hana Awaka Sparkling. Its signature plates include a spicy Guacamole Fusion featuring shrimp tempura, masago mayo, cilantro, and jalapeño.We also get a kick out of the Fat Buddha, rolls of fresh salmon and shrimp tempura with cream cheese, tempura crumbs, avocado, honey mayo, and tobiko. Its specialty rolls include the Rainbow Roll of eel, salmon, escolar (white tuna), and avocado and the Ocean Jalapeño Roll of cooked shrimp, squid, crab sticks, jalapeño, avocado, spicy mayo, cilantro, unagi sauce, fried garlic, and chili oil. Tsukiji also serves sashimi, vegetable maki, temaki, udon, ramen, donburi, and full entrees, such as Katsu, a traditional breaded and deep-fried choice of pork, shrimp, or chicken served with rice and miso soup.
This Argentine grill in the heart of the Wicker Park neighborhood offers outdoor seating at rustic wooden tables, DJs, live music such as Latin legend Julio Sierra, and a dining room with an array of windows for a cozy streetside view. Celebrate New Year’s with authentic South American bebidas such as Inka Kola and Guarana.
For some of the best Latin food in Chicago, order the homemade sausages of the Chorizo Trio, served with a trio of chimichurri; Berenjena (baked eggplant layered with provolone, spinach, ricotta, and tomato sauce), Pechuga (grilled chicken sauteed with vegetables or lemon sauce), or one of the many delicious steaks cooked asado style, including top sirloin, filet mignon, and ribeye. Save room for desserts, including homemade flan or dulce de leche cheesecake.
When you’re looking for New Year’s Eve restaurants, why not take in the flavors of Peru at Tanta? Choose your New Year’s Eve drinks from the extensive menu of wines, beer, scotch, whiskey, rum, tequila, and cocktails. The ample choices include Pisco Sour, Peru’s national cocktail of pisco (brandy), lime, simple syrup, egg white, and bitters; a Blood Orange Bournnais with bourbon whiskey, Grand Marnier, sugar, and lime; and La Guapa, a blend of gin, lavender, rhubarb, lemon, and sparkling rosé.
Pair your drinks with sharable bites such as seven different varieties of cebiche (ceviche), crispy yuca fries, empanadas, anticuchos, and grilled skewers of veal, chicken, or salmon similar to those served on the streets of Lima. Main dishes include vegetarian options; Pollo a la Brasa, Peruvian-style rotisserie Amish chicken with a side of bean stew and arroz con choclo; and Parihuela, a bouillabaisse with snow crab legs, mussels, clams, yucca, and yuyo served in a stone bowl. If you wind up having other New Year’s plans, no worries—Tanta also serves brunch Friday through Sunday with bottomless mimosas.