If you like tequila, you've come to the right place. If you don't like tequila, you live in the wrong city. Assuming you come geographically correct, we put together a quintet of spots that take agave to another level.
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Tequila Bona Fides: Over 65 tequilas, any of which can be toppled into a margarita for just a buck extra.
Quick Bite: Alambres de Arrachera -- grilled & skewered cilantro ginger-soy glazed prime skirt steak with Santa Monica farmers market vegetables.
The Mission Cantina
Tequila Bona Fides: Over 100 of the suckers, including a lot of rarities.
Quick Bite: Camaron de Roca tacos. The beer-battered rock shrimp, chipotle crema and jicama-carrot curtido will having you saying... nothing, because your mama taught you not to have disgusting table manners.
Tequila Bona Fides: 40+ tequilas and their signature shot, The Bull, with teq, triple sec, lime & cranberry juice, simple syrup, and Sprite. So obey your thirst, and make sure your Sprite has tequila in it.
Quick Bite: If you get The Bull shot, you'll probably need a Bull pizza to go along with it. But the $2 steak tacos are a surefire bet.
Tequila Bona Fides: Over 70, plus cocktails like El Conquistador and Skinni, like one of those Skinny ones, except spelled funny and not specifically designed for post-yoga drinks.
Quick Bite: Concentrate your dollars on drinks with a $4.50 salsa tasting that includes de Mesa, de Papaya Habanero and de Tomatillo Cruda.
Tequila Bona Fides: 70+ tequilas and mezcals, plus cocktails like the citrus-happy Campesino, with Aperol, Creme de Cassis, and fresh lemon & grapefruit.
Quick Bite: Free tacos on Tuesday will keep you from becoming a campesino.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.