Los Angeles is not only famous for its whiskey bars. Some bars in the region offer the pleasures of tequila and mezcal as well, whether you choose to drink it straight or combined into a smokey cocktail. With Mexico only a few hours away, the city's bar culture is always changing, with fresh imports shaking up drink menus all around town. Here are the bars and restaurants that are now serving the greatest mezcal and agave-related cuisines.
Despite its claim to be a "bar-forward" restaurant, Hermanito in Sawtelle delivers delicious food such as delicate birria queso tacos and spicy wings topped in a nutty salsa macha. The Myra, a cocktail with jalapeno and cucumber mezcal, fresh watermelon, and spicy tajin to compliment the drink's crisp and sweet overtones, is on the menu. La Mala Vida, which combines both mezcal and tequila with black walnut bitters and sea salt to balance out the drink's vibrant tastes, is a stronger twist on agave.
Address: 2024 Sawtelle Blvd Los Angeles 90025
With inventive contemporary bar dishes and amazing drink selections, Nativo in Highland Park provides one of the best Mexican-style happy hours in town. Cucurrucu, a tequila reposado, grapefruit soda, hopped grapefruit bitters, and Pamplemousse cocktail best savored on their vibrant outside patio, pairs well with their mole-covered tater tots and street-style tacos. Tequila and mezcal flights are also available, with your choice of three drinks. However, if you wish to partake, we recommend upgrading to the "ofrenda" upgrade. Seasonal citrus, chapulines, sal de gusano, a piece of Oaxacan cheese, salty sunflower mix, and the kitchen's house-made sangria to chase your drinks all included in the extra $6 price.
Address: 5137 York Blvd Los Angeles 90042
You may be familiar with this location as the fabled plant-based Mexican restaurant that took Los Angeles by storm. Gracias Madre also has a nice range of mezcals, in addition to their excellent vegan nachos and delectable chicharron tacos (made with oyster mushrooms, of course). Gracias Madre has plenty of espadn, raicilla, and sotol, among other things. If you're looking for a signature cocktail rather than a single shot, the Oaxacan Old Fashioned is a great choice: Tequila reposado is mixed with spicy mezcal before being topped off with rich mole bitters and heirloom corn.
Address: 8905 Melrose Ave Los Angeles 90069
If a Sunday Mexican-style brunch with craft beers sounds like the perfect afternoon to you, Xelas is the place to be. This Boyle Heights bar boasts a huge range of California and Mexican beers, as well as some fantastic drinks to pair with any of their delectable culinary options. La Plaza, a tequila-based cocktail with pineapple juice, lime, and raspberry syrup, is one of my personal favorites. Come prepared for a pleasant atmosphere and a few drinks because Xelas is a bustling venue with live DJ sets and cultural events on the calendar.
Address: 1846 1/2 E 1st St Los Angeles 90033
Mirame takes classic Mexican cuisine and gives it a modern twist, but not without a dash of California flair. Puerto Nuevo langoustine tacos, a truffle and artichoke tostada, and a delicate rabbit tamal wrapped in mole poblano are among the dinner options at the Beverly Hills restaurant. Along with your dinner, try a glass of Mirame's 100% Mexican wine or one of their agave-based cocktails, such as the amusingly called El Chingon. Fuenteseca seven-year reserva tequila, acidic quince, soursop, and smoke from burning palo santo combine to make a tasty and incredibly fragrant cocktail. The Midnight Marauders, made with El Tesoro aejo, black curaçao, activated charcoal, and chamomile that lingers quietly in the back of each sip, is also recommended.
Address: 419 N Canon Dr Beverly Hills 90210
The popular mid-century modern patio of this Frogtown eatery is ideal for enjoying one of their Sonoran-style carne asada tacos. Salazar's beverages selection is extensive, with agave spirits divided into categories based on plant type. Tequila, mezcal, and leafy sotol are all available, and the cocktail menu includes everything from classics to innovative concoctions. Try their mezcalita de pia, which has pineapple juice, lime, mezcal, and a savory bacon-salt rim to balance off the fruit's sweetness. Ranch Water, a Texas specialty, is served in a bottle of sparkling water and includes your choice of tequila or mezcal, as well as a wedge of lime.
Address: 2490 Fletcher Dr. Los Angeles 90039
Getting a drink at La Cuevita is an experience that lives true to its name which translates to Little Cave. Although you won't be technically in a cave, the entire pub has the sensation of a dark cellar with flickering candles as its primary source of illumination. The Highland Park venue also offers a wonderful outside patio and a great happy hour every day from 5 to 9 p.m., when cocktails are only $5. The La Cuevita, a cocktail made with mezcal, elderflower liqueur, lime juice, and ginger beer, is a must-try. The Sino Paloma, made with Sino Silver tequila, fresh grapefruit juice, lime, and soda for some fizz, is also a specialty.
Address: 5922 N Figueroa Blvd Los Angeles 90042
Las Perlas is a softly lit Oaxacan cantina in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles that's ideal for casual dates and drinks with friends who share a passion for mezcal. This bar boasts a great seasonal cocktail menu and some drunken agua frescas to beat the L.A. heat, with over 450 bottles of agave spirits. Try the Copa de Silencio, a delightful mix of pineapple juice, mezcal, and lime juice, or the fresh-squeezed sandia juice, which may be paired with tequila or mezcal for a kick.
Address: 107 E 6 St Los Angeles 90014
Madre's menu features a wide range of delicious moles, as well as other Oaxacan favorites such as crunchy tlayudas, memelas, and lavishly stuffed tamales. With over 400 bottles to sample, all three claim to have the greatest mezcal collection in America. The house's smokey margarita, made with charcoal-infused mezcal espadn, sweet agave, house chile liqueur, fresh lime juice, and sal de gusano, goes wonderfully with the menu's offerings. Flights are also available for those interested in sampling different agave-based spirits. While eating some excellent carnitas tacos, you may compare and contrast the smokiness of mezcal with the grassiness of sotol and the vegetal characteristics of raicilla.
Address: 1261 Cabrillo Ave Torrance 90501
When you walk into Bar Flores, you feel as if you're visiting a private party at someone's home. The Echo Park bar started off as a drink pop-up before settling into its lovely Sunset Boulevard home in 2019, which has a brick-lined rear terrace with vegetation and bright lights. The beverages are equally as stunning, such as the popular mezcal cocktail, which combines tomatillo, serrano chile, and lime flavors with mezcal, as well as a crunchy tortilla and serrano salt rim. If you're looking for a citrusy cocktail with just the right amount of sweetness, try their layered tequila tonic, which combines Earl Grey, raspberry, and lime flavors with tequila blanco for a zesty drink with just the perfect amount of sweetness.
Address: 1542 Sunset Blvd Los Angeles 90026
Bar Amá serves a wide variety of foods, from roasted squid tostadas to a delicious queso dip, making it a fantastic destination for all types of foodies seeking for a post-work bite. If you plan on popping by with friends for a drink and some loaded nachos on the weekend, make a reservation to avoid the similarly hungry throng. The typical margarita is available on Bar Ama's cocktail menu, but there's also a superb Mexican negroni with mezcal to lend a layer of smokiness to the bitter campari. Don't overlook the Nacho Vidal, which features a tequila blanco that mixes well with campari, chile-lime shrub, and honey flavors. Those interested in lesser-known spirits might try some of the other selections on the menu.
Address: 118 W 4th St Los Angeles 90013
Chef Jose Acevedo's Mercado has become a household brand in Los Angeles' Mexican culinary industry, with five outlets covering the city from Pasadena to Manhattan Beach. Their Third Street location, with its semi-outdoor terrace, is great for sampling some delectable small appetizers while sipping on one of their 50+ kinds of tequila, which include crisp blancos to full-bodied extra aejos. With the outstanding house margarita, try the veggie choriqueso dip or cauliflower tacos al pastor. There's something unique about a classic recipe done correctly, but their flor de jamaica drink, made with reposado tequila, lime, a lemongrass simple syrup, and floral hibiscus for some vivid tartness, is definitely worth trying.
Address: 1416 4th St Los Angeles 90401
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