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This Is What Happens When the Tequila Flows at ¡Ay Chiwowa!, River North’s New Mexican Dive

We saw what you did last weekend at Billy Dec’s new bar.

Nightlife titan Billy Dec’s newest spot, a late-night cantina in the shadow of the Chicago/Franklin Brown Line stop, provided the backdrop for last weekend’s Seen on the Scene. Lest you pass it off as just another spot to get blitzed in River North, here’s a bit of history on the two-week-old spot: The Rockit Ranch crew tells us the name ¡Ay Chiwowa! incorporates the Chihuahua, a pup known specifically for its spunk, Mexican roots, and kissing skills (we’ll take their word for that); “chi,” a nod to Chicago; and “wow,” which points to the venue’s “wow” factor, of course.

The theme—“Mexican dive”—was determined through a public vote housed on Dec’s blog last fall. And the menu? It comes courtesy of chef/partner Arturo Gomez, who draws inspiration from his favorite bars and street stalls in Mexico to craft libations incorporating dry fruit-aged tequilas, and sustenance in the form of tacos, tortas, and tostadas. Peruse the gallery for a taste of the scene.


photography: jeff schear

A group chats in front a skull motif–a sort of wallpaper de los muertos.

On tap: A cup of nothing.

Graffiti artists created murals on the bar’s walls. This one, painted by Erik Debat, is a portrait of the mother of Brad Young, Rockit Ranch’s CFO.

This bowl of guacamole could help someone overcome a genetic aversion to cilantro.

This cocktail, with a Coronita shoved into a margarita glass, is known as Billy’s Beerita. Great idea, Billy! 


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