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Big Star

Taco Place and Whisky Bar · Wicker Park
1531 N Damen Ave (btwn W Pierce Ave & N Wicker Pk Ave), Chicago, IL 60622, United States
Hours:
Open until 2:00 AM (Show more)
  • Mon–Fri, Sun
    • 11:30 AM–2:00 AM
  • Sat
    • 11:30 AM–3:00 AM
Price:
$$$$
Menus:
Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Happy Hour
Drinks:
Beer, Wine, Full Bar, Cocktails
Credit Cards:
No
Wi-Fi:
No
Outdoor Seating:
Yes
9.3/10

Based on 1,718 votes

People like this place

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  • On America's Greatest Taco Spots
  • What you need to know
    Danny C.
    "All the food rocks my fav is the fish tacos or TACO de PESCADO"(19 Tips)
    Metromix
    "The queso fundido and pork belly tacos will rock your world."(31 Tips)
    Marco M.
    "al pastor tacos and the fish tostadas are great."(15 Tips)
    Nathaniel S.
    "De Panza, the pork belly tacos are where it's at."(7 Tips)
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529 tips and reviews.

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  • all tips and reviews
  • tacos
  • margaritas
  • lively
  • outdoor seating
  • de panza
  • whiskey
  • good for a late night
  • micheladas
  • casual
  • horchata
  • good for a quick meal
  • tequila
  • hipster
  • hot dogs
  • bourbon
  • authentic
  • good for groups
  • beer
  • cocktails
  • spicy food
  • CNN

    Half taco hut, half whiskey joint, Big Star is the place for al fresco meet-ups in Chicago. When the weather is warm, the doors of this former garage are raised and open tables disappear in a flash. Read more

    CNN · August 6, 2014
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  • AFAR Media

    Everyone knows Big Star is famous for its cheap and tasty tacos but it's the queso fundido that really wowed my tastebuds. Melted queso Chihuahua cheese compliments the peppers and meaty chorizo. Read more

    AFAR Media · August 4, 2014
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  • JenKudu

    $40 for a pitcher of margaritas and I stumbled away very happy! Queso fundido, Baja taco and guacamole are outstanding. Go drink at the bar, the hostess will text you when your table is ready.

    JenKudu · June 13, 2014
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  • William Q.

    I went for the first time this past weekend and I tried fish tacos, and beef taco, taco al pastor. All of them very good. The horchata wasn't spectacular for me, but the recommendation I got was 👍

    William Quiñones · January 29
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  • Michelle S.

    Amazing first experience, although I admittedly didn't know what many menu items were (the menu is a mix of bilingual terms), everything I and my boyfriend picked was delicious. Cannot wait to go back

    Michelle Starkey · February 19
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  • Jen M.

    Super crowded. Cash only. That said, all the tacos are great. Favorite is the chicken taco. Tostada is awesome too. Very trendy. Good place to go with friends. Hit up the window outside in a hurry.

    Jen Marquez · February 23, 2015
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  • Rafa G.

    I came from de taco's country and this are most expensive tacos in my life, but they are great, have sowl, style, great service, delicious michelads and the "dulce de leche licuado" is pure sweetness.

    Rafa G · September 15, 2014
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  • Miroslav L.

    Get the $30 margarita pitcher, some tacos, and sit back and relax with a friend and people gaze. FYI seats at the bar are a little hard to get, but easier than a table. Once you're in though, u good

    Miroslav Lysyuk · July 8, 2012
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  • Vitalina S.

    Tacos de pescado + fish tacos are sooooo good , definitely a must to try. Guacamole is amazing as well. If you are a taco lover definitely check this place out.

    Vitalina S. · August 5, 2015
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  • Serious Eats

    Tacos al pastor, which is spit-roasted pork cooked with pineapple and onion; a crunchy fried fish taco; and best of all, pork belly with tomato guajillo sauce, queso fresco, onion, and cilantro. Read more

    Serious Eats · August 19, 2011
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  • Myra R.

    Been a fan since April...absolutely love this place, the food and margarita pitchers! Pork belly, al pastor & poblano w/cheese tacos, guac, queso fundido delish. Sonoran Hotdog new addition-was ok LUV

    Myra Rubin · September 10, 2010
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  • subbu a.

    asked for specials (think "cheap")... the stupid server got us the $7 12oz beer ("the staff draft")... vs $1 schlitz that we later found out existed - be sure to ask $/beer if you're price sensitive

    subbu arumugam · November 16, 2011
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  • The Feast

    Four for four: Paul Kahan strikes again with a taqueria that draws hour-long waits for al pastor and signature cocktails. Everyone raves about the pork belly, but our rec is to opt for the fish tacos.

    The Feast · June 9, 2011
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  • Time Out Chicago

    If you can just drink and not partake in Paul Kahan’s tacos al pastor…or his fish tacos…or his housemade salsas…or his sonoran hot dog (wrapped in bacon)…you have more restraint than we do. -JK Read more

    Time Out Chicago · May 25, 2012
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  • Sarah W.

    Rajas, Panza, Pollo & Michelada to drink. I love this place but I hate that they will not give you a large container for chips & salsa to-go. Six small containers is really annoying. Is it that hard?

    Sarah Waller · July 20, 2014
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  • Alison

    The pork belly and al pastor tacos are amazing! And if you like sweet drinks, try the Paloma. Bonus: big star is really dog friendly! Sit outside and they bring a bone & water bowl for the puppy!

    Alison · May 14, 2010
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  • Jough D.

    Sure, the tacos cost a dollar more and aren't as good as the Mexican taquerias in Logan Square (try Moran or Traspasada) but they're the best in Wicker Park, and portions are decent for the price.

    Jough Dempsey · August 14, 2011
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  • Abdul H.

    Depending on how adventurous you feel, you can get a taco stuffed with anything from pork belly to beef hearts. And, every day there’s a $3 whiskey shot special. - © 2013 BuzzFeed, Inc

    Abdul Hakkim · December 31, 2013
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  • Rebecca P.

    Old Pontiac. $3 taco Tuesdays. Black cherry fizzzz drinks are delic. fun crowd. outside is fantastic. crowded- four or more for an inside booth, but sitting at the bar is fun- meet lots of pp1!

    Rebecca Prindable · June 3, 2010
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  • Christian V.

    Al Pastor Tacos are the best! The pescado almost as good. Get the guacamole and the Big Star Margarita made with mescal... A smoky, less sweet alternative. Come at lunch for a minimal wait.

    Christian Van Brimmer · February 21, 2011
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  • Johnny L.

    If you find yourself waiting in line for the pork belly tacos, pastor, queso fundido, etc, run across the street and check out Moon Voyage. On pierce st around the corner from pennys

    Johnny Lee · April 22, 2013
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  • Laini M.

    go early. or don't. go late, be cool, and then i will be guaranteed a seat! basically it gets crowded after 6. bat your eyelashes & they might make the fish tostada into a taco, so good!!

    Laini Madhubuti · April 5, 2010
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  • Eric H.

    I'm a picky mofo, yet simple at the same time. This is my refuge. My food, my music, my enviroment (- Iowa football, only deduction- understandable) and my people (who isn't). You will find me here.

    Eric Heneghan · January 15, 2010
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  • Carlos E.

    The service is utterly rude, hostesses give no information on what to do while waiting for a table, and it seems there's no approach to customer assistance. Taco de papas & tostada de hongos are good.

    Carlos Echeverria · August 3, 2014
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  • Time Out Chicago

    Beat the brutal weekend crowds by dropping by the takeout window to grab a couple of tacos or plant yourself at the wall-length counter for a few beers or quality cocktails. Read more

    Time Out Chicago · February 28, 2012
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  • Michael S.

    Panza taco: get that and then add whatever else looks good. It all rocks. Queso Fundido is awesome. Great craft draft selection: only 6 or 7 on tap but all world class.

    Michael S · November 10, 2012
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  • Serious Eats

    Getting a table to sip margaritas can take awhile, but if you just need a taco fix, head straight for the takeout window where you can usually get served in minutes.

    Serious Eats · May 21, 2013
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  • Danny C.

    Hands down the best tacos I've ever had. They don't have steak tacos and thats normally my taco preference but I tried the pork belly tacos and I fell in love. Cash only too.

    Danny Caccioppo · June 26, 2012
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  • Mayoor R.

    I only went to their take out window so I only ordered 3 tacos and a horchata. Their chicken tacos are amazing in my opinion. Don't be afraid of the pickle they put in!

    Mayoor Rai · May 26, 2013
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  • Steve ‘Pudgy’ D.

    This was the 'unofficial' find of CCBW 2012. For a hipster venue (w| bartenders playing vinyl LPs!), there is no condescension toward outsiders. A good array of craftbeers also.

    Save
  • Mark B.

    Patio is great for hanging out in, and its dog friendly as someone mentioned. The service sucks, and so does the food. Only saving grace is the whiskey. Big Star? More like 1 Star Out Of 5.

    Mark B · August 1, 2010
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  • Ian B.

    Amazing pork bellies. The fish tacos are also really good. If you enjoy extremely spicy foods the chicken tacos can't be beat. Oh yeah, and their whisky selection rocks Read more

    Ian Beacraft · September 6, 2011
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  • Time Out Chicago

    Try the michelada from our 100 Best list: We know it contains Tecate, Cholula and Valentina hot sauces, and Maggi. Oh, and we’re certain it's delicious, alleviates hangovers & might just cure cancer.

    Time Out Chicago · December 6, 2011
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  • Bill S.

    Great lunch spot. Had a terrible experience trying to check out the night life due to a very rude and unprofessional bouncer who said they were closed but it was still advertised business hours.

    Bill Sindewald · March 12, 2015
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  • M B.

    Big Star is a Fun & Hip place located in Wicker Park Bucktown Area, It also helps that all the food & drinks are delicious as well. A Big Huge Star for Big Star...

    M Ben-David · April 4, 2012
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  • Jaunted

    They accept credit card now, but beware LONG lines on Fri/Sat nights. Order queso fundido with extra corn tortillas and a few Modelo Especials to balance out the cheese

    Jaunted · April 19, 2010
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  • Eater

    Where else can you get a beer, a taco and a shot of whisky for under $10? Leave it to Blackbird exec chef Paul Kahan to make it happen. [Eater 38 Member] Read more

    Eater · January 12, 2011
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  • Serious Eats

    Papas can Rajas Taco: This taco uses chipotles, which lend a smoky complexity to each bite. Though moderately spicy, they are tempered by cubes of potatoes.

    Serious Eats · May 13, 2013
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  • Myra R.

    Love!!! Delish bite size tacos...pork belly, al pastor and poblano pepper/cheese are the best. Delicious guac and very strong margarita pitchers! Gr8 outdoor patio

    Myra Rubin · April 26, 2010
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  • Bon Appetit Magazine

    You can't beat Paul Kahan's Wicker Park hot spot. Tacos stuffed with lamb shoulder, pork belly, and non-gringo ingredients like beef heart are only a few bucks. Read more

    Bon Appetit Magazine · September 20, 2010
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  • Moonchild

    This place is completely packed on the weekends and has great drinks and mexican food :) Love going there for a snack and drinks on a Friday or Saturday.

    Moonchild · September 15, 2014
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  • paolo f.

    big college crowd, annoyingly busy, the overzealous doormen kick it all off with a snobby vibe. the tacos are as good as anything is the SF mission though.

    paolo f · June 6, 2015
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  • Chet F.

    New development in the 7oz debacle. Do you *hate* spending less money? I know I do. But for you crazies out there who want to save $$, order a "7oz." It's exactly. the. same.

    Chet Farley · July 9, 2010
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  • Ben P.

    LAWDY those al pastors. Get a bunch of em, wash down with limeade, enjoy the outdoor seating. I've met some pretty amazing people on those picnic tables.

    Ben Pierce · October 31, 2013
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  • Time Out Chicago

    The Tacos de Panza, featuring luscious hunks of pork belly smothered in tomato guajillo sauce and showered with queso fresco, all swaddled in warm tortillas Read more

    Time Out Chicago · September 17, 2010
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  • Rosalinda R.

    I hate it....service sucks....got id but yet three people came in with out being id.....waste of time and waste of money....they need better food...if your mexican you would prefer flash taco like me

    Rosalinda Rodriguez · July 29, 2012
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  • Alberto R.

    Save ur $. Tacos r bland. Horchata is flavorless. Can't speak for rest of menu, but what I did have left much to be desired. Best part is the pollito lollipop you get with take out.

    Alberto Rodriguez · September 5, 2010
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  • Ene Emilie D.

    Really good pizzas. There is a lot of noise because the train is running just next to it, but still a cool place. Would definitely go there again

    Ene Emilie Dinesen · August 18, 2014
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  • Time Out Chicago

    The bar that took over the Pontiac space is just that: A bar. With whiskey shots, cheap beer, and quick cocktails. Read more

    Time Out Chicago · July 7, 2014
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  • Chicagoist

    Don’t have hours to spare lined up on Damen? Head to the bar to order or avoid the hipster hordes altogether and opt for the to-go window. Read more

    Chicagoist · August 1, 2014
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