Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cinco de Mayo - Stick with the standards

Cinco de Mayo has turned into an excuse for drunkenness ala St Patricks Day, where everyone and their brother guzzles down margarita after margarita, often poor versions at that. I am all for boozing, but it had better be quality booze. So many non-Mexican/tequila joints jump on the bandwagon just to bring in hordes of thirsty crowds who just want drinks and plenty of them. I say, stay away from such joints. Stick to these 4 who make great margaritas day in day out.


El Carmen has over 250 varieties of tequila and is serious about their margaritas. They have a fun mexican wrestling theme and always feels festive. They also have food to help you hold down that tequila. Tequila flights at various price points are available if you want to hold the cocktails and go straight for the spirit. This was the scene of an infamous birthday party of mine 5-6 years ago, so I have a special fondness for El Carmen.

El Carmen - 8138 West Third Street, The Grove/Miracle Mile neighborhood, phone: (323) 852-1552.

Lares Restaurant is a two story restaurant and bar. I favor the upstairs as it feels more airy and open. Live mariachi is frequently on offer. The tequila selection is nothing like that of El Carmen, but the food is significantly better and it is my favorite of this type of restaurant.

Lares Restaurant - 2909 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica, phone: (310) 829-4550

Eastside & Downtown:

Malo is a full restaurant and bar offering the traditional standards plus a bar that is much better than it has to be. Look for Rhachel behind the bar - her margaritas are among the best in town.

Malo Restaurant - 4326 Sunset Blvd, Silverlake, phone: (323) 664-1011

Las Perlas is downtown nightlife king Cedd Moses's latest adventure, a mezcal bar offering a selection of mezcal and tequila sipping beverages and cocktails across the street from Cole's. Julian Cox of Rivera designed the drink menu. If you want to venture beyond a margarita, the Poblano Escobar is highly recommended.

Las Perlas - 107 East Sixth Street, Downtown, phone: (213) 988-8355

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