By Laurie Jo Miller Farr
George Clooney and his pals got how much for their tequila company, Casamigos? “Up to one billion dollars,” is a nice piece of change. With Cinco de Mayo falling on a Saturday, it’s a good thing we can all enjoy tequila for a lot less. If you missed “Women Movers & Shakers: Spring Cocktails of the Farmers Market” featuring Maestro Dobel Tequila and other presenting spirits staged by CUESA and the San Francisco chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild, there’s still a chance to sample some great tequila drinks around the city before, during, and after Cinco de Mayo.
149 Fell St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
The seafood-centric Mexican restaurant serves Elegante, a light, well-balanced drink made with fan-favorite Casa Dragones tequila blanco, creme de violette, egg white, rosemary and lime or a seasonally changing fruit juice. There’s also a twist on the traditional Paloma with tequlia blanco, grapefruit, lime, contratto aperitif and soda. Good to know: Cala is dedicated to providing its staff with full benefits and above minimum wages, so includes a 20 percent service charge on dining.
50 Moraga Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94129
Arguello has a collection of 120 agave-based spirits and recently launched the interactive Arguello Experience series to showcase an agave distillery on the first Wednesday of each month. Try the Invierno Margarita any day of the week. Arguello pays homage to Chef Traci Des Jardins’ Mexican roots, serving California-inspired Mexican food and drink in a historic building right in the heart of the Presidio.There’s an outdoor comal (griddle) for tortilla-making, a contemporary bar for mixing craft cocktails, and a spacious outdoor patio with fire pit.
2200A Market St.
San Francisco, CA 94114
A new spot in the Castro since January comes via the Mezcalito and Andale team. The name refers to informal street gatherings for drinking and socializing that launched decades ago throughout Spain. Order the terrific-sounding “City Lights,” to toast Cinco de Mayo: Pueblo Viejo tequila, hibiscus infused cynar, passion fruit, lime, agave, egg white, jalapeño, Himalayian sea salt.
52 Belden Place
San Francisco, CA 94104
Opened in fall 2017, this FiDi spot has a late night closing time of 2 a.m. six days a week. Tucked into the restaurant lineup on Belden Alley, Toy Soldier is run by a team of SF veterans (the restaurant kind, rather than the military kind). They do an interesting tequila-based libation called The P.O.W. It’s Mezcal, silver tequila, chili extract, pineapple juice, simple syrup, chocolate bitters, fresh lime juice, red chili garnish, an ode our neighbors south of the border.
2001 Chestnut St.
San Francisco, CA 94123
This Marina District favorite gathering place has chandeliers, horseshoe banquettes and a large bar with an old-time Victorian vibe. The Dorian’s favorite cocktail is The Skinny Dip: Tequila blanco, port, watermelon, lemon, IPA and shiso leaf. The restaurant serves dinner Tuesday through through Sunday and brunch on both Saturday and Sunday. Open Friday and Saturday until 2 a.m.
316 11th St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
“Equal parts craft cocktail bar and impromptu house party,” with an upstairs dance club at Audio. At Bergerac, they enjoy pouring Sleight of Hand all year-round, but especially on Cinco de Mayo. The recipe involves roasted pineapple-infused tequila, yellow chartreuse, habanero agave and lemon juice. Bergerac is open Tuesday through Thursday from 5 p.m. until midnight, Friday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., and on Saturday, from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Related: 5 Places To Get a Shot Of Tequila
301 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94105
Ayesha Curry and Michael Mina know that tequila is great with their signature dishes. Candlemas 13 is a bright, fruity and flavorful cocktail with Partida Reposado tequila, ginger, persimmon, and star anise. “I Got 5 On It” is served in a group-friendly punch bowl, made with Espolòn tequila hibiscus, Absolut Elyx vodka, lychee and chili. Taqueria Style shot is sure to be a hit for Cinco de Mayo as the Espolòn Blanco tequila goes down quick and easy with a jalapeño carrot pickle back.
2032 Union St.
San Francisco, CA
Come to the eternal party at Palm House in the Marina District or mix up your own Cinco de Mayo cocktail at home. They’re sharing the recipe for the Chipotle Mango Margarita. Palm House is open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- 1.5 oz chipotle infused Tequila
- .5 oz mango purée
- .5 oz agave
- .75 oz lime juice
721 Lounge at Le Colonial
721 Sutter St.
San Francisco, CA
You know the place; it’s hidden in plain sight, tucked right into Cosmo Place. 721 Lounge sits above Le Colonial, known for its French-Vietnamese décor. On Cinco de Mayo, mix up your metaphors. Stop by for a “721” Partida tequila with La Pinta pomegranate, mint, and jalapeño served in a laughing Buddha mug. Or, try a “No Borders” cocktail of Milagro tequila, mezcal, absinthe, and cherry liqueur cinnamon sparkle. Daily happy hour is 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
3232 Scott St.
San Francisco, CA 94132
The team behind the Barrel Room has created a chic Cow Hollow wine bar with dinner pairings that also has a back patio tiki bar with garden seating and a fire pit. Served only on Fridays and Saturdays, including Cinco de Mayo, order the tequila-based Pineapple Express (tequila, pineapple, lime and Peychaud’s bitters) and pretend you’re somewhere in Mexico.