10 Hot Places to Drink Tequila Around the U.S.

By Molly Durham  |  September 9, 2013
Credit: Clay Williams

Mexico’s national spirit has never been so fun. In addition to the classic margarita, U.S. restaurants and bars are infusing tequila with traditional Mexican flavors like jalapeño or habanero peppers, or with fruits and spices, and serving drinks set aflame or mixed into sophisticated sippers. Even as the bar is raised on cocktails, an extensive and fun tequila list can still be hard to find, so these spots are gems. In fancy cocktails, in make-your-own margaritas or in straight shots, at these 10 spots tequila rules.

  • Tacos & Tequila - Austin, TX

    At Tacos & Tequila, the tequila choices may resemble options seen at the gas pump: premium, ultra premium or extra-ultra premium. Here, the unusual display of cold tequilas on tap (perhaps not so far removed from the gas pump after all?) are the draw. Tequila flights, tequila cocktails, margaritas... how do you ever get around to the food here? They really have the agave spirit in every form, as well as 100 bottles lining the walls by the bar.

  • Tommy’s - San Francisco

    Tommy’s doesn’t just pride itself in offering a large quantity of tequilas, but also in serving only 100% blue agave tequilas, aged for a minimum of three years. Their signature margarita is lauded as the best around, and owner Julio Bermejo is considered one of the foremost U.S. experts on tequila. Tommy's also has its own tequila club, The Blue Agave Club, with more than 7,000 members. As a member, you can “graduate” by tasting enough tequilas - a most enjoyable education!

  • Mayahuel - NYC

    While some describe this bar as resembling a Mexican monastery more than a cocktail bar, rest assured that you can and must drink some tequila while you’re here. Mayahuel makes a point of trying unique things, with categories on their cocktail menu like “strange stirrings” and “fugitives.” Jalapeño tequila, pineapple-infused mescal and red-pepper-infused blanco will ensure your tastebuds are never bored.

  • Mercadito - Chicago

    Mercadito may be best known for awesome tacos, but they take their tequila seriously too. With over 40 types of tequila, 20 types of mescal and 12 tequila cocktails on offer, the drink menu is just as big as the food menu. Oh, and you can get this all at brunch. Once a month, Mercadito hosts Tippling Tuesdays, where guests can learn about a certain spirit - only sometimes tequila, but regardless, it shows their dedication to all things boozy.

  • Cantina Mayahuel - San Diego

    This place is a real cantina: casual, boasting a patio, and offering cheap libations. $5 shots of tequila and margaritas sounds like a place that doesn’t have the good stuff, but Cantina Mayahuel does. They have more than 200 bottles of tequila and also offer tequila-mixing and -making classes for those who want a real agave education.

  • El Vato Tequila and Taco Bar - Miami

    If you want to have pure fun when you drink tequila but still want the good stuff, this is probably the place for you. El Vato stays open until 5 AM on weekends and currently has 82 tequilas and mescals on their menu. A recipe for a hangover? Perhaps, but if you’re looking for this kind of tequila time, it shouldn’t disappoint. This is a place where you can order a $100 glass of tequila then go play beer pong and Guitar Hero.

  • Fuego Cocina y Tequileria - Arlington, VA

    Its name translates to “fire kitchen and tequila bar,” and while it’s pretty far away from Mexico, Fuego Cocina y Tequileria can hold a huge fiesta. In this 150-seat space, with an additional outdoor patio and basement bar (known as the tequileria), you can order tequila flights, tequilas ranging from sweet to tart to spicy, and they list what type of agave is in each mescal. You can drink 11 tequila cocktails solely from the brunch menu.

  • Credit: Ruth Tobias

    Pinche Taqueria - Denver

    For those who value all things small-batch and artisan-made, Pinche Taqueria is the place to extend that ethos to your cocktail. This food-truck-turned-brick-and-mortar serves a great range of small-batch tequilas along with their food, and they list out all the flavor notes so you can make sure to choose one you like. Their Jalisco Donkey Show cocktail plays homage to the donkey on their sign, a tequila-driven take on a Moscow Mule, right down to the copper cup.

  • La Hacienda - Scottsdale, AZ

    If it were a numbers game alone, La Hacienda would be the clear frontrunner. At over 200 varieties, the choices are overwhelming at this Mexican restaurant inside the Fairmont Hotel. Good thing they have experts - called either a “Tequila Goddess” or “Tequila God,” and yes, those are official titles - on hand to help you navigate. They serve flaming cocktails and a tequila flight that comes with a real snake head. Even if you find the selection overwhelming, there’s no debating that this is a place to receive a tequila awakening.

  • Zacatecas Tacos & Tequila  - Albuquerque, NM

    All the cocktails here use tequila, from the sweetly hibiscus-infused to a hotter fire-roasted, poblano-pepper-infused variation. In addition to more baroque drinks, check out the make-your-own margarita options. Choose from a variety of tequilas and liqueurs (Cointreau, Grand Marnier, St. Germain, even Limoncello) to craft what you want. This is the place to try crazy concoctions alongside your straight tequila fix.