One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, more.
Made from the heart of the blue agave plant, there’s no denying that here at Hunter and Bligh we love nothing more than a sip or two of our favourite tequila. And after a few tequila-infused cocktails saying to yourself that all tequila is mezcal, but not all mezcal is tequila does get a little confusing.
Thankfully, with the help from Australian Bartender, we’ve found the top 10 tequila bars in Australia to help ease the confusion. So whether you’re looking for a mezcal sommelier, an agave bible or even just a few tequila concocted cocktails, you’ll find it all here.
Barrio Cellar, NSW
Sydneysiders, if you’re looking for a late-night haven serving up delectable Mexican street food paired with some of the best cocktails in town, you’ve come to the right place. Specialising in tequila and mezcal, visitors to Barrio Cellar can choose their punchy spirit by opting for a scrumptious cocktail or choosing their tequila by region of production. Why not pair your margarita with Barrio’s Barrio Chino Pollo – beer-braised chicken with chipotle and pickled onion.
Bodega Underground, VIC
Since 2016, Bodega Underground has been one of the best venues in Melbourne to source quality tequila – a gift from the gods. A restaurant smuggled from Mexico to China Town, this late-night mezcal bar and taqueria hidden on the basement level of Little Bourke Street surely knows a thing or two about tequila. Visitors would think so, especially considering they praise their 12-page agave bible – the holiest scripture of all.
Cantina OK!, NSW
Are you okay? Because after one visit to Sydney’s Cantina OK! you surely will be. Hidden off Clarence Street in Council Place, Cantina OK! is brought to you by the team behind Tio’s Cerveceria which is also featured on this list. Fiends for mezcal, Cantina is described as intimate, to say the least. Standing room for just 20 people only, Cantina proudly takes the title of Sydney’s smallest bar. Plus, Cantina OK! also has a weekly changing cocktail special menu. How does an espresso martini with agave, sugar and black salt sound?
There’s no denying that Chula is one of the hottest restaurant in town. Now, they’re known as the hottest tequila bar in the country and that’s okay with us. Opening in 2017 thanks to Nicole Galloway and Peter Lew (owners of Barrio Cellar which also featured on this list), today, Chula heats up the palates of visitors with their flavours through every bite and sip. Every visit, guests will be planted with an experience embedded with tradition and knowledgeable staff who are more like agave aficionados.
El Grotto, WA
Winning 2018’s Bartender Magazine Australia Bar Awards for the best tequila bar of the year, two years in a row, El Grotto must know a thing or two about tequila. Found tucked away in Scarborough in Perth, El Grotto not only serves up delectable Mexican eats from quesadillas, burritos and tacos, but they also specialise in shaking and serving up eclectic cocktails from spritzes to margaritas and even martinis. It’s authentic Mexican cuisine, “just like your mum would make if she were Mexican.”
Hot Tamale, NT
Darwin’s Hot Tamale is famous for a few things. They’ve got the waterfront views, the cocktails, the tacos, the guac and lastly but certainly not least, they’ve got over 300 types of agave spirits in stock to enjoy. Just two years after their opening in 2014, Hot Tamale has been featured on Australian Bartenders Best Tequila Bars list. So in one hand grab a taco, the other a tequila-infused cocktail and start working your way through Hot Tamale’s agave bible.
Melbournians, if you don’t know, now you know. Sitting on Collins Street, we present you with Mamasita, Melbourne’s favourite Mexican restaurant and tequila oasis. Opening their doors almost 10 years ago, today, Mamasita is renowned for their scrumptious menus, both food and drink. As for the tequila, not to fret as each day Mamasita will have a mezcal sommelier (yes, mezcal sommelier) on shift to help with your agave needs. Say no more.
Pancho Villa, TAS
Surpassing the hanging candlestick chandeliers, the gothic-like stained glass windows and the vibrant food, visitors to Hobart’s Pancho Villa will find a tequila bar like no other. And that’s because there isn’t. With a moody feel inside, what’s served is certainly far from that. For us, Pancho Villa has always been a favourite. Maybe it’s the popcorn cauliflower, the twice-cooked duck leg, the chorizo potatoes or the churro dulce de leche. Or maybe it’s the scrumptious tequila-infused concoctions and we’re not ashamed to admit it.
Paradise Arcade, QLD
Opening in 2017, today, Noose Heads’ Paradise Arcade will be featured for the first time on Australian Bartender’s Best Tequila Bars list. With over 130 agave products available to choose from, Paradise Arcade is described as casual with their traditional Mexican eats mixed with a modern twist – and it works. For non-tequila drinkers, Paradise will have you feeling like you’re in the real thing with their extensive beer list.
Tio’s Cerveceria, NSW
Any tequila-based article would not be complete without Tio’s Cerveceria. Found a touch away from Harmony Park in Sydney’s Surry Hills, Tio’s is Australia’s favourite tequila and mezcal bar – better yet, they’re renowned internationally. And after one visit, guests will certainly see why. Featured on Australian Bartenders twice before, the owners, Alex Dowd and Jeremy Blackmore are also the tequila-loving duo behind Cantina OK! From sourcing to serving, these guys know a thing or two about tequila.
Feature image: Mamasita “Pink Cooler” cocktail. Image supplied.
Images via Barrio Cellar Instagram, Bodega Underground supplied, Cantina OK! photographed by Max Berry/supplied, Chula Instagram, El Grotto Instagram, Hot Tamale Instagram, Mamasita supplied, Pancho Villa supplied, Paradise Arcade Instagram and Tio’s Cerveceria Instagram.