Come for the decked-out churros, stay for the hidden but lively patio. Open since June, hip taqueria The Gringo (1202 W. Grand Ave., West Loop) is a leisurely retreat where you can wolf down affordable Mexican fare and wash everything down with a beer — or one of the bar's specialty mezcal and tequila cocktails.

Its interior, with brick and wood-panelled walls decorated with Dia de Los Muertos-themed imagery, feels like a cozy neighborhood spot. The main action, though, happens in the back, where a second, full-service bar fuels an outdoor area with seats for 80. Enjoy this space while it's still warm out — preferably with candied churros in one hand, and a prickly pear margarita in the other.