Where to Find the 5 Best Margaritas in Philly
February 22 is National Margarita Day! Whether you like a salted rim or not is up to you, but don’t let memories of slushy swill from automated machines hold you back. We’ve picked out five of the best bars serving elevated agave-and-citrus concoctions sure to lift your spirits. Salud! (Do you have a favorite you think should've made the list? Let us know in the comments!)
El Vez: The party atmosphere at this Stephen Starr original in Midtown Village certainly contributes to the enjoyment (don’t miss the photo booth where you and friends can capture the fun for posterity), but it’s the quality of ingredients used that are the real key to sipping bliss. Hand-squeezed lime juice and lime puree are mixed with the tequila of your choice and served by the glass or pitcher. Tip: skip the standard Cuervo Gold and spring for a higher-end option such as Herradura instead — your head will thank you in the morning.
La Calaca Feliz: Co-owner Brian Sirhal has translated his years of experience running the house at Distrito into some serious tequila savvy. Though this Fairmount cantina has a variety of margaritas on offer, his favorite (and ours) is La Bestia. Made with El Tesoro Reposado (instead of the usual choice of blanco, or unaged, tequila), this glass also contains Patron Citronge and the juice of both a lemon and a lime for a very nuanced drink.
Las Bugambilias: Almost the opposite of glitzy El Vez, the authentic ceramic tiles and cozy dining room at this South Street family-run restaurant do just as much to elevate your cocktailing experience. Sip hand-crafted margaritas out of thick, blue-rimmed, classic glasses as you enjoy the snug surroundings and seriously tasty Mexican fare.
Tequila’s: Over 150 kinds of agave spirit are available to mix with fresh juice and agave nectar for a perky margarita at this Rittenhouse mainstay, where Mexican fare is taken to the level of haute cuisine, but David Suro also has his own label on hand. Choose Siembra Azul to spark your cocktail and you’ll be helping the liquor company’s foundation, dedicated to giving back to Mexican society in Philadelphia and beyond.
Xochitl: The drink menu at this small, bi-level Mexican on Headhouse Square touts the Perfect Margarita, and after sampling it at the long stone bar, we think they may be right. Patron Reposado is married with both Grand Marnier and Patron Citronge, as well as fresh-squeezed lime, to create a complex drink with flavors that sing from the first sip to the last.
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