10 Places To Step Up Your Tequila Game In San Diego

With San Diego’s proximity to Mexico, there’s no excuse for anyone’s tequila knowledge to start at shots and end with frozen margarita mix. Your instinct may be to lick it, suck it, and slam it, but there is a whole world of tequila begging to be sipped.

From añejos to mezcal, here are the best spots to expand your knowledge and your taste buds with our favorite agave-based spirit.

1. Cantina Mayahuel

Located in North Park, this is the go-to spot to learn everything and anything you can about agave. With an ever-changing list of over 200 tequilas and 100 mezcals, the staff here will help you find more than one thing you love.

Before you leave, make sure to get “Lorenzo’d” by trying their own brand, Don Lorenzo Reposado Reserva. Five different tequila expressions from five different agave harvests are expertly blended to create this smooth tequila.

2. La Puerta

With over 100 different tequilas, ranging from small batch distillers to recognizable names, this Gaslamp restaurant has something for everyone. To match their extensive menu, the tequila is listed from the easiest drinking to more dynamic options and comes with a reference of tasting notes and growing region.

If you’re looking for a cocktail, we’re partial to the Bad Medicine: Fortaleza Reposado, Mezcal, ginger syrup, and fresh lemon.

3. Coasterra

It’s hard to beat great tequila and a breathtaking view, which is why Coasterra is one of our favorite spots. Located on Harbor Island, make your way to their Tequila Lounge and get introduced to one of their 70 agave spirits — bacanora, mezcal, raicilla, sotol, and tequila have all found a way onto their menu. Can’t choose just one? Indulge yourself in a tasting flight of three 1 oz. pours.

4. Don Chido

There’s a reason Don Chido refers to its drink list as the “Tequila Bible.” With over 100 different types of tequila and a dozen mezcals, you can’t go wrong here. This modern Mexican eatery in Gaslamp has everything from infused tequilas to regional mezcals.

If you like it spicy, go for the Adelita: House infused pepper tequila, strawberry, mango, rosemary, lime, and chile mango rum.

5. El Agave Tequileria

If you’re going to drink Tequila, why not do it in the Tequila Museum in historic Old Town? With over 2,000 top-quality, hard-to-find tequilas, El Agave Tequileria will satisfy any tequila craving you could have. With so many options, we recommend getting a tequila flight. You won’t regret it — at least not until the morning.

6. Galaxy Taco

Tacos aren’t the only thing that’s out of this world at this La Jolla spot. With 90% of their tequila served organic or from family-owned companies, you’re sure to find a new favorite here. For those looking to get an in-depth education, opt for a flight and learn about the differences between tequila and mezcal or how terroir impacts flavor.

7. Tamarindo

With a drink list cultivated by Mark Broadfoot, who previously developed Galaxy Taco’s drink menu, Tamarindo is a new addition to North Park serving up delicious food and drinks to match. While their offerings may not be as extensive, the tequilas and mezcals chosen have been carefully selected to fit any taste preference.

Our favorite sipper is Mezcalero #16, but if you’re in the mood for a cocktail, the Oaxacan Old Fashioned is an obvious choice.

8. Puesto

Another small collection, with no more than 40 thoughtfully curated agave-based spirits, Puesto offers a top notch selection of tequila, mezcal, bacanora, raicilla, and sotol. Our favorite is Los Nahuales Añejo, but if we’re craving a cocktail, our choice is the El Mezcalito, which is Vida mezcal, guanabana, tamarindo, lime leaf, and charred orange.

9.  Fairweather

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This East Village speakeasy is known for a lot of things — Petco Park views and its vacation-inducing aesthetic are two of the top. What keeps us coming back to Fairweather is without a doubt the cocktail menu. Anthony Schmidt highlights unique mezcals and tequilas in Fairweathers 32-count cocktail menu.

Keep it simple with the Oaxacan Reach Around, a shot of Mezcal with a Modelo, or take it up a notch with the Fer de Lance, which has Mezcal, Green Chartreuse, lime, and allspice. There’s a reason it’s named after the deadliest snake in the Americas.

10. La Mezcalera

We couldn’t make a list about Tequila and not send you south of the border. This Tijuana bar is devoted to Oaxacan mezcal and has attracted attention north of the border after making an appearance in Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations.

With a funky decor like cheese graters as lights and an authentic menu (think crickets as snacks), La Mezcalera is a great excuse to use your passport. We recommend starting out with one of their flights.