Connoisseurs favor the dimly lit nooks of Fonda San Miguel’s bar for sampling some of its 25 to 30 tequilas, the best of which—such as Patrón silver and cult-favorite Chinaco añejo—should be sipped slowly, like fine brandy. If you aren’t up to the hopping happy-hour bar scene at Manuel’s north location, try the less frenetic downtown spot to check out some 25 tequila choices, including Corazón silver and Antigua Cruz silver. Avoiding ordinary brands, Vivo offers at least 25 selections, among which Espolón añejo and Don Eduardo silver stand out; the small curved bar is a tippler’s haven, decked out with paintings of girls, girls, girls.
With a stunning 40 tequilas to choose from—divided into blanco, reposado, and añejo categories—Blue Mesa’s stylish, pueblo-esque tequila bar has the greatest variety in Dallas. Among the more unusual finds in the blanco group are Hacienda del Cristero and Espolón silver; reposado picks include El Reformador and Chinaco; and añejo options include Buscadores and Don Eduardo. Leading the ultra-premium list is Herradura Selección Suprema añejo. At Ciudad, tequilas are treated with the same respect as fine wines. Many of the 35 choices here are ideal for sipping. If you can’t decide on one, order a flight of three half-ounce pours, sit on the lushly landscaped patio, gaze at the stars, and see if a favorite doesn’t emerge.
Stylish Hugo’s has Houston’s most comprehensive tequila menu, with detailed descriptions, special flights, and complex mescals on the list. Of the 50 choices, Gran Centenario and Corralejo are labels known for extraordinarily high quality. Hand-shaken margaritas are served in cool Mexican glassware here; watch for tequila-tasting dinners. Tropical Pico’s, home of the wildly popular shaker margarita made with smooth Herradura silver, stocks about 40 tequilas divided into the usual blancos, reposados, and añejos; prestigious labels include Patrón, Don Julio, and the rare Hacienda del Cristero. Taco Milagro was a pioneer in offering a large tequila selection in a casual dining setting; its palapa tequila bar displays about 35 varieties, including such fine sipping tequilas as Herradura Selección Suprema, Corralejo, and Casa Noble añejo. The cocktail crowd migrates to the shabby-chic, plant-filled patio at Maria Selma, which claims to pour 70 tequilas; Casa Noble añejo, 1942 Don Julio, and Patrón Platinum are rare—and pricey—options. Downtown, the luxurious and roomy lobby bar of the Hilton Americas carries 27 selections ranging from crisp and pungent to full and mellow. Aficionados will enjoy these fine sipping tequilas, including Patrón añejo, Don Eduardo plata, and Espolón reposado.
There’s a reason the intimate bar at Rosita’s #2 is called Bar El Agave: It offers some 65 types of tequila, the priciest being mellow, oak-aged Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia at $16 a shot.
Surprise, surprise: Frolicsome Mi Tierra has San Antonio’s deepest tequila selection. Head here for 31 bottles, including impressive editions like Jose Cuervo Tradicional and Jose Cuervo 1800. At Paloma Blanca’s classy bar, lounge on a cushy sofa while sipping your way through 30 tequilas, among them Corralejo, Patrón, and Don Julio. Pick your level at Acenar—the hot-pink-and-orange main room downstairs, the mezzanine overlooking the action, or the sleek, retro-mod bar—then pick your tequila from 21 possibilities, including Don Eduardo and Sauza’s Tres Generaciones. At La Fonda, which feels like a lovely home, relax and enjoy a choice of some 20 tequilas, such as Corralejo reposado and the unusual Patrón XO Café, a coffee-flavored tequila.
See the Directorio for directions to any of these restaurants.