All photos by Ryan Lowry

A Taco Bell in Chicago Now Serves Booze

We went to the grand opening of Taco Bell Cantina in Chicago, America's first alcohol-serving Taco Bell.

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Sep 24 2015, 5:15pm

All photos by Ryan Lowry

All photos by Ryan Lowry

On Tuesday, Taco Bell Cantina in Chicago officially opened its doors as the first Taco Bell in America to serve alcohol. Over the course of a few hours that night, a few hundred customers filtered through the new Wicker Park location of the fast-food chain, which featured brightly colored alcoholic slushies and a noticeably more upscale and urban décor—exposed brick walls, loads of wood paneling, a graffiti mural—more akin to a café than your average drive-through fast-food restaurant.

Booze options included a line of "Twisted Freezes"—named Mountain Dew Baja Blast (teal green), Cantina Punch (cherry red), and Cantina Margarita (neon green)—that have rum, tequila, or vodka added in. Beer such as Dos Equis and wine were also available. The new location will open until 2 AM (4 AM on the weekends), and a security guard will be present on the weekends. With Starbucks serving alcohol at more than 70 locations and a San Francisco Taco Bell Cantina location opening soon, it seems part of a growing trend.

VICE sent photographer Ryan Lowry to scope out the scene of people drinking and eating at Taco Bell.

VICE: Why do you like Taco Bell?
Neil Borkan, owner: I love Taco Bell. I've owned them for 30 years. I eat it everyday and love how innovative they are. I was able to collaborate on the idea for this one.

What are you drinking?
Baja Blast slushie with tequila.

Why do you want to drink at Taco Bell?
Gives people more options!

Why do you like Taco Bell?
Vincent Uribe: The choices are endless.

What are you drinking?
Baja Blast Freeze twist with rum.

Why do you want to drink at Taco Bell?
It's everything I ever dream about.

Why do you like Taco Bell?
Spencer Stucky: The Chipotle Chicken Loaded Griller has over two grams of dietary fiber.

What are you drinking?
I'm sipping someone's Baja Blast thing while they are not looking.

Why do you want to drink at Taco Bell?
I thought it was a drought.

Why do you like Taco Bell?
Kayla Lopez: Because I can scrap change up from my purse when I'm broke and get myself a meal.

What are you drinking?
A Baja Blast Freeze with tequila.

Why do you want to drink at Taco Bell?
Because a genius decided to put shots in Baja Blast Freezes.

What are you drinking?
Anna Mort:
I'm drinking a virgin Baja Blast Freeze.

Why are you drinking at Taco Bell?
I don't want to drink at Taco Bell. I want to remember everything.

Why do you like Taco Bell?
Clay Cunningham: 'Cause it's cheap and good.

What are you drinking?
Frozen Baja Blast with Don Julio.

Why do you want to drink at Taco Bell?
Because it's a Baja blessing.

Why do you like Taco Bell?
Camille Rodriguez: I like Taco Bell because they are open late.

What are you drinking?
I am drinking a Cantina Punch slushie with a shot of tequila.

Why do you want to drink at Taco Bell?
I want to drink at Taco Bell because I guess I can now!

Steven and Paul.

Why do you like Taco Bell?
Jillian Kaye (left): They'll appease my pickiness and there's something for everyone.

What are you drinking?
Dos Equis.

Why do you want to drink at Taco Bell?
To keep the party going!

Why do you like Taco Bell?
Danielle Campbell
(right): I like Taco Bell for its nostalgic irony.

What are you drinking?
Margarita twisty freeze thing.

Why do you want to drink at Taco Bell?
I want to drink at Taco Bell because what else are you supposed to do while eating tacos?

Why do you want to drink at Taco Bell?
[Declined to give his name]: It's kind of a little guilty pleasure of mine.

What are you drinking?
Sangria slushie.

Why do you want to drink at Taco Bell?
Because it's a good spot to take a date.

Why do you like Taco Bell?
Ryann Moore: What's not to like?

What are you drinking?
Baja with vodka.

Why do you want to drink at Taco Bell?
Why wouldn't you?

Why do you like Taco Bell?
Paul Levack:
I love anything that my friends will buy for me.

What are you drinking?
Baja Blast with tequila.

Why do you want to drink at Taco Bell?
Drinking here is kind of a novelty and kind of expensive. I don't think I will ever get a slushie again. Probably just a beer.

Why do you like Taco Bell?
Steven: I don't.

What are you drinking?
Baja Blast with tequila.

Why do you want to drink at Taco Bell?
I don't.

Ryan Lowry is a photographer based in Chicago.

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