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



Named for the fictional rural town in Stephen King's Children of the Corn, the Gatlin, NE by lead bartender Abigail Smith is featured on the current Spring/Summer menu at Big Bar in Los Feliz. Smith's Margarita riff is made with Herradura Blanco, Tanteo Habanero, Nixta Licor de Elote, lemon, sweet corn, tarragon, tamale broth, and a red bell pepper/salt rim.

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 Añejo Tequila, Cointreau, lime juice), there’s more than a dozen to choose from, including Skinny, Spicy, and various flavors of Classic Blended.

Quentin Tarantino is a regular and there's a signature Margarita named for him, The Tarantino: Casamigos Añejo, 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 features 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 La Lumbre, a spicy variation with serrano-infused Pueblo Viejo Blanco.

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

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 celebrating its centennial! Established as Sonora Cafe in 1923, El Cholo opened its flagship location (aka "The Original") on Western Avenue 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 variations. Level up with the Gran Tradicional, made with Cuervo Tradicional, Herradura Silver, Cointreau, and topped with Don Julio Añejo.

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, order it blended. Of course you could order other Margaritas, but why would you? Enjoy Mexican classics performed live by a trio nightly.

In the Bosch Season 6 episode "Part of the Deal," Harry, Maddie and her very nervous boyfriend Antonio have dinner at El Compadre - the guys clink a couple of Fat Tire bottles in a toast to jazz legend Frank Morgan.

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. 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, Spicy Daisy and Paloma arrive garnished with everything from wild hibiscus flowers to 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
Cactus Prick | Photo: Umbrella Hospitality Group

Melrose Umbrella Co.



"Get wet" at Melrose Umbrella Co. with the Cactus Prick, made with pineapple-infused mezcal, Argonaut Brandy, avocado, cucumber, ginger and lime. For those observing a booze-free lifestyle (or just taking a break), try the Tangerine Gnargarita - Ritual Zero Proof Tequila, tangerine shrub, agave, lime and salt.

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.

mi_corazon_lowrider_margarita
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.

El Taquero at Mírate in Los Feliz
El Taquero at Mírate | Instagram: @mirate.losangeles

Mirate



Opened in November 2022 in the former Rockwell space in Los Feliz, Mírate is the sequel to Mírame from chef Joshua Gil and partner Matthew Egan. The stunning multi-level restaurant features Gil's Alta California cuisine, Egan's photos, murals by Mexico City-based artist Jorge Telleache, and two bars helmed by beverage director Maxwell Reis (previously at Gracias Madre).

Inspired by his favorite aguachile at El Güero Ens in Ensenada, Reis created the El Guero, a Margarita riff with avocado-washed Cascahuin 48 Plata Tequila, aguachile, nopales granita and coconut. The El Taquero is a mezcal-based spicy Margarita with Mírate x Mal Bien Espadin, pineapple, lacto chorizo, lemon and chamomile honey.

Classic Margarita at Nativo in Highland Park
Classic Margarita at Nativo | Instagram: @nativohlp

Nativo



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 a classic Margarita for $9 during Happy Hour: Pueblo Tequila or Los Vecinos Espadin Mezcal; Cointreau, lime, agave and kosher salt.

Inspired by sustainable farming operations throughout Mexico, Olarra's agave-based signatures include the Sonora Margarita (Kilinga Bacanora Blanco, Hibiscus, Curaçao, Lo-Fi Amaro, lime, agave), York Blvd (Ojo de Tigre mezcal, Martini & Rossi Fiero, lemon, honey, agave) and the Paloma-inspired Cucurrucucu (Tres Generaciones Reposado Tequila, Pamplemousse, lime, Hopped Grapefruit Bitters, Q Grapefruit soda, kosher salt).

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

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, Spicy Cilantro & Nasturtium, 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

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.