The Best Margaritas in Los Angeles

Shaken, stirred and blended

The Tarantino at Casa Vega
The Tarantino at Casa Vega | Photo: @casavegarestaurant, Instagram

There are many tales about the origin of the Margarita, but what is known are the basic ingredients: tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and salt on the glass rim. These days, the Margarita can be found in many creative variations using tequila, mezcal, and other agave spirits, along with fresh fruit, herbs, and spices—shaken, stirred, or blended and served in a variety of glassware.

No matter what ingredients are used and how it’s prepared, what can be agreed upon is that the Margarita is a most celebratory drink—in a "party" kind of way. So, cheers to good times and to the best places to find Margaritas in Los Angeles.

Pitcher of Margaritas at Bar Flores in Echo Park
Pitcher of Margaritas at Bar Flores | Photo: @barflores_la, Instagram

Bar Flores

Karla Flores-Mercado opened Bar Flores in August 2019. Located in the former Barragan's space, Bar Flores began as Sip, an immersive speakeasy with cocktails and live music that popped up in locations throughout LA. As soon as you enter the indoor-outdoor space above Lowboy, you'll see a large portrait of Karla's grandmother - Karla explained to Voyage LA, "Paying respect to our grandmothers is something that is important to me. The bar has a wall adorned with pictures of the grandmothers of all our staff and our regulars."

Stop by for live music on Tuesdays and order a pitcher of Flores Margaritas: tequila or mezcal, lemon, lime, naranja, triple sec, azúcar and hibiscus salt. As an homage to Barragan's, Bar Flores features Margarita Wednesdays with $8 Margs from 4pm to close.

Gatlin, NE cocktail at Big Bar
Gatlin, NE at Big Bar | Photo: Eugene Lee

Big Bar

Los Feliz favorite, Big Bar regularly features a Margarita in the rotation for its weekday Eastern Standard Happy Hour (2pm - 7pm) - the first week of May spotlights Herradura tequila. For its Spring Margarita Celebration, Big Bar is featuring the Gatlin, NE by bartender Abigail Smith. Named for the fictional rural town in Stephen King's Children of the Corn, Smith's cocktail is made with fresh corn, Tanteo Habanero and Blanco, Nixta Licor de Elote, tarragon, fresh lemon, homemade tamale broth, and red bell pepper salt.

The Tarantino at Casa Vega
The Tarantino at Casa Vega | Photo: @casavegarestaurant, Instagram

Casa Vega

A San Fernando Valley institution since 1956, Casa Vega was named by the James Beard Foundation as one of the 2022 America's Classics. The family-owned and operated restaurant is beloved for its Margaritas, dim lighting and lively atmosphere—you might spot a celebrity or two huddled in a corner booth.

Although Casa Vega is renowned for its award-winning classic Margarita (made with Anejo Tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice), there’s at least a dozen to choose from, such as Skinny, Spicy, and Classic Blended (the Peach Margarita is touted as "one of the best in LA"). 

Quentin Tarantino is a regular and there's a signature Margarita named for him, The Tarantino: Casamigos Anejo, fresh lemon and lime juice, fresh OJ, Lemon Stevia, agave, and sparkling water. In his Oscar-winning 2019 film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Tarantino featured Casa Vega in a key scene with Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt.

Classic Margarita at El Carmen
Classic Margarita | Photo: El Carmen

El Carmen

Tequila and tacos are the thing at El Carmen, a narrow neighborhood cantina in the heart of Beverly Grove complete with red velvet curtains, Lucha Libre masks and bulls heads on the walls. Encarnacion Elias Gomez founded El Carmen in 1929 - she hosted luminaries such as Diego Rivera, Ricardo Montalban, Nat King Cole, Cecil B. DeMille, Busby Berkeley, Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, Loretta Young and Mario Lanza. In 1997, Gomez's family handed the reins to Sean MacPherson of Committed, Inc. (Jones, Bar Lubitsch, Roger Room). The extensive drink menu includes a Classic Margarita on the rocks (El Jimador Blanco, agave nectar, lime juice) and a spicy variation with jalapeño infused Pueblo Viejo Blanco.

Enjoy $7 Margaritas, $3 Tacos and more during Early Bird Happy Hour (Monday-Friday from 5–7pm) and the new Late Night Happy Hour: Sunday-Thursday from 10:30pm to 2am.

El Carmen presents their annual Cinco de Mayo party starting at 4pm, with cocktail specials, $10 House Margaritas, and $11 Cerveza/Shot Combos available all night. The next day, El Carmen celebrates its 25th anniversary with a blowout starting at 5pm. Mariachi Amigos de Los Angeles will perform from 6pm to 8pm, and DJs from Chulita Vinyl Club will spin from 9pm to close.

Zapata's Widow at El Cholo
Zapata's Widow at El Cholo | Photo: @elcholo1923, Instagram

El Cholo Los Angeles - The Original

When you’re talking about Margaritas, you can’t ignore an institution—especially one that's nearly a century old. Established in 1923, El Cholo opened its LA location (aka "The Original") in 1927 and now has locations in Downtown LA, Santa Monica and Orange County. The classic El Cholo Margarita debuted in 1967 and is featured along with fruit and blended varieties. The Gran Tradicional is a slightly elevated drink with Cuervo Tradicional, Herradura Silver, Cointreau, and topped with Don Julio Anejo. Go all in with the Zapata's Widow - Don Julio Silver, fresh lime juice, and a Don Julio 1942 float.

Flaming Margaritas at El Compadre
Flaming Margaritas at El Compadre | Photo: @beatific_visions, Instagram

El Compadre

The ultimate kitschy Margarita can be found at El Compadre. Although there's a location in Echo Park, it's the original in Hollywood—where the legendary Flaming Margarita was born— with a blue flame dancing on top of a lemon slice. Wherever you go, you can order the Margarita on the rocks or blended, but if you want the full effect - meaning maximum kitschiness - order it blended. Of course you could order other Margaritas, but why would you? Enjoy Mexican classics performed live by a trio nightly.

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Melon, strawberry, house, mango and peach Margaritas at El Coyote | Instagram by @elcoyotecafe

El Coyote Café

You’re not really going for the food at El Coyote - the landmark restaurant that’s been serving Angelenos since 1931 - but for the lively atmosphere and historical status (okay, and maybe the #1 Combo). Adding to the colorful ambiance are the bar drinks - the Margarita choices lead the list, including varieties of blended drinks and on the rocks. Like Casa Vega, El Coyote also has a prominent appearance in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

El Tejano Tex Mex Margaritas
Photo courtesy of El Tejano, Facebook

El Tejano

This Tex-Mex restaurant in the NoHo Arts District serves up massive Margaritas in 18 oz schooners—so if size matters, this is the place. During their all-day happy hour, buy one and get a second Margarita for $2. Options include the El Tejano Rita with El Jimador, the El Jefe Patron (make it "Texas Sized" for $2), several flavors of Frozen Ritas, and the refreshing Tanteo Watermelon Margarita with watermelon puree, lime and agave. If beer is your preference, switch any Margarita to a Beer Rita for $2 extra. Kick back on the colorful patio with an outdoor bar or take it inside. Pro tip: Margarita Mondays feature $3 Margaritas all day long.

Frida Skinny Margarita
Frida Skinny Margarita | Photo: Frida Mexican Cuisine

Frida Mexican Cuisine

This colorful, modern restaurant group has locations in Beverly Hills (the flagship), Westwood, Torrance, and Sherman Oaks. To pair with the authentic menu, cocktails include the popular Frida Skinny Margarita, made from scratch with natural and organic ingredients, including miel de agave (agave honey), hand-squeezed lime juice, and Patron Silver. A tribute to the tempestuous relationship between Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, the Frida & Diego is made with mezcal, spicy mix, and fresh lime juice.

Purista Margarita at Gracias Madre in West Hollywood
Purista Margarita at Gracias Madre | Photo: Eric Wolfinger

Gracias Madre

Vegans and carnivores universally agree on two things about Gracias Madre, the Mexican-inspired plant-based restaurant in West Hollywood: the patio is among the most beautiful in LA, and the Margaritas are at the top of almost any list. The Purista is the classic house drink, made with tequila or mezcal, lime, agave and orange bitters with sweet orange salt on the rim. Order it by the glass or pitcher; make it spicy or upgrade to premium.

Margarita and tacos at Las Perlas in DTLA
Margarita and tacos at Las Perlas | Photo: Pouring with Heart

Las Perlas

Located at 6th and Main Streets in Downtown L.A., Las Perlas opened in April 2010 and is the nation’s first mezcal bar with a selection of more than 450 premium agave spirits. A second location opened in West Hollywood in the summer of 2021.

Set in the historic Santa Fe Building, the original Las Perlas channels a Oaxacan cantina with a backlit bar, colorful lights, and wrought iron fixtures. House cocktails like the Mezcal Margarita, Tommy's Margarita and Paloma arrive garnished with everything from wild hibiscus flowers to spicy roasted chapulines. Fill up with tacos, taquitos, mulitas, and more (available daily on the patio), then shake it off with music on Friday nights.

Cactus Prick cocktail at Ella Beverly Hills
Cactus Prick at Ella Beverly Hills | Photo: Umbrella Hospitality Group

Melrose Umbrella Co.

"Get wet" at Melrose Umbrella Co. or at home with a traditional Margarita to-go ($17 for two servings): blanco tequila, lime and agave. Garnishes included - just shake and add ice. The Umbrella is featuring $9 Herradura Margaritas for Cinco de Mayo - choose from Classic or Tommy's (agave nectar replaces the orange liqueur).

Umbrella Hospitality Group's restaurant at the Sixty Hotel, Ella Beverly Hills serves up the Cactus Prick - 400 Conejos Mezcal Joven, cucumber, pineapple, avocado, ginger, and lime.

Margaritas at Mercado
Margaritas | Photo: Mercado

Mercado Los Angeles

With locations in Hollywood, West Third Street, Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica and Pasadena, Mercado is known for its modern Mexican cuisine in a sleek, lively atmosphere—and some of the best tamales in town. If you’re looking for a kick with your Margarita, look no further than the Spicy Cucumber Margarita on the rocks with Cazadores Silver Tequila, Cointreau, house jalapeño purée, and chipotle salt rim. If spicy isn’t your thing, you can’t go wrong with the Mercado Margarita (Real del Valle Blanco Tequila, triple sec, fresh sour), or the Flor de Jamaica, made with Real del Valle Reposado, Cointreau, lemongrass simple syrup, hibiscus, lime, and hibiscus sugar rim.

Lowrider Margaritas at Mi Corazon | Instagram by @micorazon_silverlake

Mi Corazon

This Silver Lake favorite from husband/wife team Jeremy Swan and Chef Vanessa Swan, serves "nuevo-tradicional" Mexican cuisine in a modern, Mexi-goth atmosphere. Along with more than 60 tequilas and mezcals, the Margarita selection includes the Lowrider Margarita (a nod to Vanessa’s family, which she says drove lowriders throughout her childhood), made with tequila, agave, lime and choice of cucumber jalapeño, jamaica, or seasonal fruit.



Music seems to be a common thread for one of LA's top beverage directors, Marlene Olarra - from the Wednesday night Jazz menus at Faith & Flower to the mariachi and DJs at her current bar, Nativo in Highland Park. Opened in November 2020, Nativo serves up a mix of Olarra's agave-based signatures: a classic Margarita (Milagro Tequila blanco, Cointreau, lime, agave, kosher salt), the Cucurrucucu (Milagro Tequila Reposado, Pamplemousse, lime, Hopped Grapefruit Bitters, grapefruit soda, kosher salt), Ojo de Tigre (mezcal, Martini & Rossi Fiero, lemon, honey), and Lena de Pirul with Abasolo Mexican Whisky, Nixta Licor, Mexican "Campari", and mole bitters.

Frozen Margarita at Nueva in Venice
Frozen Margarita | Photo: Nueva


Opened in August 2020, Nueva boasts two expansive, Mid-Century inspired patios with teak tables and lush tropical landscaping. The menu features classic Mexican dishes with a modern twist in a fun and casual cantina setting. Agave-based cocktails like the Oaxaca Old Fashioned and Mezcal Negroni are served from a 30-foot long, zinc-topped bar, along with an impressive tequila, mezcal, bacanora, raicilla and sotol collection. Cool off with a selection of Frozen Margaritas: Classic, Pineapple-Infused Aperol, Cilantro & Nasturtium, Infused Ancho Reyes, Mango, and Strawberry.

Petty Cash Margarita
Petty Cash Margarita | Photo: @pettycashla, Instagram

Petty Cash Taqueria

This upscale, hybrid take on Mexican street food features local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients in both the food and the cocktails. The lively ambience is enhanced by music (hence the name tribute to Tom Petty and Johnny Cash), colorful graffiti art, and standout cocktail list.

The Petty Cash Margarita is on point with a choice of tequila or mezcal, lime, and a unique accent from citrus-spiked agave curaçao. Level up with the Time Bomb Cadillac - Petty Cash El Tesoro Reposado, cognac, curaçao, lime and orange.

Margarita on tap at Salazar in Frogtown
Margarita on tap | Photo: Salazar


No other venue in Los Angeles evokes a more rustic, urban Mexican vibe than this outdoor all-day eatery located in Frogtown between Silver Lake and the 5 Freeway. Built on the grounds of a converted auto body shop adjacent to the LA River, Salazar is situated on a large corner lot with a simulated desert environment amidst succulents and pergola.

There are three Margaritas "de Barril" (meaning on tap): the house Margarita, a Mezcal Margarita, or Mezcalita de Piña with mezcal, pineapple, cilantro, jalapeño, and bacon-salt rim. The Prickly Pear Frozen Margarita is an IG-ready neon pink with tequila, prickly pear, lime, agave syrup and citrus-salt rim. Pair it with Sonoran-style grilled meat and tacos, and you’re set.

Margarita with "Spice World" at Soulmate in West Hollywood
Margarita with "Spice World" at Soulmate | Photo: Katrina Frederick


One of the OGs of the LA bar scene, Naomi Schimek helms the beverage program at Soulmate, which opened in WeHo in May 2021. To pair with Chef Rudy Lopez's Spanish-Mediterranean cuisine, Schimek features local herbs and fruits in cocktails that are ideal to sip on the outdoor patio.

Order a classic Margarita and go off-menu by adding passion fruit, guava or mango. As a nod to locals always asking for Tajin, Soulmate makes its own recipe for spicy rims - smoked salt, citric acid and sugar with cayenne and arbol peppers. Schimek calls it "Spice World" after the 1997 cinematic masterpiece.