Roofless 'ritas

Willis Tower

Behold the margarita. Whether you prefer yours frozen and fruity or strong and shaken over rocks, nothing accents the taste of tequila quite like sunshine. If you're a fan of imbibing outside, here are some of our favorite spots that boast both killer margaritas and outdoor seating.

The city's narrowest bar also has the skinny on the classic margarita. Theirs is made with real lemon and lime juice, tequila, Cointreau, tequila, powdered sugar and the love of a good bartender. $6.

If have a "slam 'n' scam" approach to drinking, save this quaint, colorful spot for later, when you have time to savor the authentic Mexican cuisine and appreciate the Herradura Silver tequila and Gran Torres orange brandy in the house margarita. $7.95.

Dos Hermanos
Happy Hour gets downright giddy at this Tex-Mex spot in the Sears Tower. Who knew frozen ritas in flavors like mango, guava and banana were being poured just a few steps from the office. On Thursdays, 12-ounce house margaritas are $3.25 and pitchers are $16 (normally $4.25 and $19).

Cactus Bar & Grill
The stock market may be in the toilet, but that's no reason to pass up a good margarita. That's why Chicago traders converge on this Tex-Mex cantina to commiserate over frozen 'ritas. Not only are they homemade, but the barkeep will accept cash, credit or a wheelbarrow of Enron stock. $6 ($3.75 on Thursdays).

El Tapatio
When the house margaritas are named after a Rolls Royce, you know they have to be good. And they are, thanks to a mix that includes Grand Marnier and Jose Cuervo 1800. Even better: This acclaimed neighborhood Mexican spot offers 'em by the glass and the pitcher.

Northside Cafe
Quite simply, this is the "Home of the Blue Frozen Margarita." But this busy Bucktown joint has five other flavors, all made from fruit purees in flavors like mango and banana. Garnishes include a lime wheel and some of the best people-watching around. $6.50.

El Jardin
Offering both sidewalk seating and a beer garden, this festive Mexican spot has been a Wrigleyville institution for more than 30 years. Once you taste the house margaria, called "The Mind Bomb," you'll understand why. $7.

This vibrant Logan Square spot features no-frills, fair-priced Mexican food and margaritas to match, including one so large you'll say, "Ay caramba!" $7.50 (add $2 for an extra shot of tequila).

Jenny B. Davis is a freelance writer.

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