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1. Mercado 1416 4th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401 (Santa Monica)

Mercado is a modern-tinged Mexican joint steeped in luxury woods, leathers, and steel, with a menu that boasts tons of authentic, South-of-the-border food and drink. This includes handmade tortillas, enchiladas with sweet shrimp and yellow mole, slow-cooked carnitas, and more than 70 tequila options.

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2. The Mission Cantina 5946 W Sunset Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028 (Hollywood)

Decked out like a Mexican church (backlit stained glass, pew-y booths, etc), this "bar with good food" from the Delancey/Bowery guys serves up classics like mole-poblano chicken tacos and ceviche w/red snapper.

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3. El Bar 3256 W Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90068 (Mid Valley)

From the guy behind The Fifth and in the former The Bridge space, El's a red-lit boozer's hacienda: candlelit recesses, floral-embossed leather barstools, south-of-the-border paintings of topless ladies and proud matadors, and a bull's head mounted over the bar.

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4. Tortilla Republic 616 N Robertson, Los Angeles, CA 90069 (West Hollywood)

This 125-seat Mextaurant-cum-margarita bar in WeHo's doing south-of-the-border deliciousness (carnitas w/ caramelized orange, sour cherry salsita'd duck confit tacos) inside a steely mod-Mex interior equipped with a white onyx bar pouring 48 sippable tequilas (including two Extra Anejos), and margs ranging from the extra spicy "Jalapeno" to the reposado, Cointreau, lime, and Grand Marnier-floated "Perfect", even though you'll be anything but after a couple of each.

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5. La Cuevita 5922 N Figueroa, Los Angeles, CA 90042 (Highland Park)

La Cuevita is a tequila- and mezcal-centric grotto (cuevita means cave... also bar used to be called Little Cave) in Highland Park. It's decked out in vintage Mexican-themed trimmings, has a spacious outdoor patio, and free tacos on Tuesday nights (not a typo, there are actually free tacos). The cocktail cave will quench your thirst with classic Mexican cocktails -- Palomas, Margaritas, and the like -- and beloved agave spirits -- of which there are many -- and your sate your hunger with small Mexican bites brought in from local vendors, which vary depending on the night.

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