Everyone knows that whiskey and bourbon bars are a thing, but what about tequila? No longer just for sugary cocktails and shots that burn your throat, tequila is making a name for itself in the liquor world as complex, varying, and refined. And mezcal, tequila’s smokier relative, is also becoming incredibly trendy. Whether you’re already a lover of both or are taking your very first taste, these phenomenal tequila and mezcal bars are sure to introduce you to something you’ve never tried before.
1. Leyenda (Brooklyn, NY)
When you’re in the mood for tequila, but aren’t quite sure where to start, head to Leyenda in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. This Latin cocktail bar features nearly 30 different tequilas from Jalisco. If you can’t decide which one to sample, try one of their tequila flights, which will give you a taste of three different tequilas with similar flavor profiles. They also offer three different flights of mezcal, as well as other Mexican and Brazilian spirits that you probably won’t find elsewhere.
2. Machete Tequila + Tacos (Denver, CO)
Built on bold, adventurous flavors, Machete Tequila + Tacos has just the right ambiance for trying a new drink (or three). They offer a wide selection of tequilas, some that you’ve heard of (Patron, for example) and plenty of others that are likely brand-new (like El Tesoro, an incredibly balanced and smooth sipping tequila). You’ll also find a few different types of mezcal, and a lengthy list of potent margaritas. Serving only the highest quality tequila and cocktails, Machete Tequila + Tacos is Denver’s number one destination for this Mexican spirit.
3. Whistler’s (Austin, TX)
Tucked away in the upstairs of Whistler’s cocktail bar, you’ll find a bar within a bar: specifically, a mezcaleria that serves a range of different mezcals in an intimate, cozy space. The menu itself won’t offer much description, but the helpful bartenders are more than happy to steer you in the right direction. You can also order a flight, if you’d like to try a few. It’s a romantic spot unlike any other tequila bar on this list, and a must-try if you’re in Austin.
4. Mosto (San Francisco, CA)
Tacos and tequila go together like peanut butter and jelly, and with Mosto cocktail bar attached to the restaurant, Tacolicious, you’ll never have to choose between the two. At Mosto, every shot of tequila is served with sangrita, a citrusy concoction that brings out the sharp, peppery quality of tequila. If you’re not ready to try a flight of tequila or mezcal, sip on their signature margarita instead. It’s sweetened with agave nectar, which makes a huge difference in bringing out tequila’s natural flavor. And when you’re finished for the night, don’t forget to stop next door and grab a taco or two for the trip home.
5. El Carmen (Los Angeles, CA)
A haven for tequila lovers and tequila lovers only, El Carmen offers an exclusive selection of both blanco and anejo tequilas. Connoisseurs will be especially impressed with the anejo, or aged, tequilas, which tend to have a deeper, richer flavor. Either way, you’ll have to visit El Carmen quite a few times to sip your way through their enormous list. If you’d rather enjoy your tequila mixed up in a cocktail, try one of their creative margaritas or a refreshing paloma. If tequila is your thing, you can’t miss this LA hotspot.
6. Del Toro (Chicago, IL)
While Del Toro does offer a small selection of whiskey, rum, and vodka, the real star of their cocktail menu is the tequila. You’ll find tequila at every price point, from their reasonably priced house tequila, Tres Garcias, to several special reserve tequilas that are more than worth the splurge. Their signature margaritas are strong and imaginative, with flavors like Berry Jalapeno, Guava, and Hibiscus. If you’re hanging out in Chicago but want a drink from south of the border, Del Toro is the place to go.
7. Tequiztlan Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar (Miami, FL)
For those who know what they want, Tequiztlan Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar has a great list of blanco, reposado, and anejo tequilas from which to choose. For those who are a little more indecisive, head to the flight menu, where you can create your own tasting from a list of both tequila and mezcal. Don’t see something you’re looking for? Let them know, and they’ll consider adding it to the menu! Their margaritas are completely free of any gross premade sour mix, too, and are instead sweetened with fresh ingredients like fruit and agave nectar. Tequiztlan is the real deal, and is not to be missed if you’re in Miami.
8. Fogon Cocina Mexicana (Seattle, WA)
The best part of Fogon Cocina Mexicana is their amazing cocktail list. Instead of using bottom shelf liquor in their cocktails, they actually use different tequilas in each one—illustrating the care and precision that goes into the mixology here. You can’t go wrong with the Ultimate Margarita, but the Mint Mango Margarita is a tasty alternative. If you prefer your tequila straight up, choose a shot from their list, or try one of the mezcals instead. As soon as you taste the drinks here, you’ll feel as if you’ve dipped south of the border.
9. La Loba Cantina (Brooklyn, NY)
La Loba Cantina is a haven for tequila and mezcal lovers alike, with a lengthy list of both that offer vivid descriptions of flavor notes so that you know exactly what you’re getting. If sipping on the hard stuff straight doesn’t appeal to you, ease into it with one of their creative cocktails instead. The Mezcal Mule is a smokier version of the classic cocktail, and is the perfect choice if you’ve never tried this spirit before. Their simple menu of Oaxacan dishes is a great accompaniment to the mezcal-forward drink menu.
10. Techo Mezcaleria & Agave Bar (Austin, TX)
Techo Mezcaleria & Agave Bar may be new to the Austin scene, but it’s already making a name for itself. From adventurous drinkers who love the bold smokiness of mezcal to those who aren’t quite sure about tequila’s cooler cousin, this rooftop bar has something for everyone. Dip your toes in by trying one of their mezcal-tequila cocktail blends, or dive in the deep end with their mezcal menu. They offer shot-sized pours as well as tiny tastes, so you can build a flight tailored to your preferences. The personalized approach of the friendly bartenders means that you’ll never go wrong at Techo Mezcaleria & Agave Bar.