Although Portland is known as “Beervana,” the city’s tequila game holds its own with an intoxicating array of offerings in all shapes and sizes. Margarita pitchers? Check. Tequila flights? You know it. And the most ambrosial tequila-based cocktails imaginable? We’ve got you covered! Take a look at our favorite spots to imbibe tequila around the city.
Mosey straight into Santa Fe at The Goose, where the kitchen dishes out mean Tex-Mex bites alongside tequila-centric sips. Three curated tequila flights invite the curious taster, but you won’t regret taking the bartender’s recommendation: the fiery Mezcal Margarita with fresh habañero puree that leaves a tingle in the back of your throat.
This breezy Southeast Portland family joint gets serious about its tequila menu, which features roughly 30 varieties from more than a dozen brands. Don’t miss the caramel-y Milagro Barrel Select Añejo, aged for a minimum of 14 months. Best of all, no judgment is passed when asking for seconds (or thirds) of Rocio’s complimentary homemade chips and house salsa, a highly addictive family recipe.
Mi Mero Mole
Affectionately referred to as MMM, this Mexico City-inspired eatery boasts an affordable and diverse tequila menu at both its Chinatown and Southeast Division locations. Mi Mero Mole covers all the bases, from naturally sweet blancos (the agave spirit in its purest form) all the way up to the richer extra añejo (extra aged). Their Division outpost also offers a mezcal selection that’s guaranteed to make your head spin.
Mezcal, tequila’s smokier best friend, shines at Coyote Mezcalería, the bar inside Latin American eatery Teote. Spend an evening on Teote’s magical back patio with a selection of top mezcal brands—think Wahaka, Del Maguey and Los Amantes — along with a side of spicy sal de gusanito, otherwise known as worm salt. (Yes, it’s made with ground-up worms!)
Noé Garnica, the Mexican-born chef-owner of Verde Cocina, offers an impressive tequila selection at his restaurant’s three locations. The Pearl District café even features the option of half-ounce servings to help you maintain your wits while expanding your tequila palate. Their sizable cocktail list features the house Margarita Puro, made with tequila resposado that comes supersized for summertime sharing.
Portland’s prized bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler swizzles up another hit with the Southbound Suarez; lime, agave and Becherovka (a cinnamon-y Czech herbal liqueur) work in unison to enhance the tequila’s earthy sweetness, while house-made horchata tames the beast with a silky mouth-feel that will have you licking your lips and asking for more. Visit Clyde Common during happy hour for this $6 steal.
The Knock Back
Gather around the fire pit with an Oaxacan Old Fashioned at Northeast Alberta Street watering hole The Knock Back. Tequila is a lively stand-in for whisky in this summery creation, mixed with two types of orange bitters and the faintest hint of cinnamon. A mezcal rinse in the glass adds a touch of smoke to this spin of the classic cocktail and guarantees to get you toasty.
Relive summer vacations of your youth all year-round with slushy margaritas at the Sunshine Tavern. The frosty refreshment’s tartness is a welcome relief from saccharine frozen beverages, and the house recipe stays straightforward with 100% pure agave, fresh lime and simple syrup. The drink packs a serious punch, so plan to stick around for a few rousing games of shuffleboard.
Bunk Bar Water
Celebrated sandwich slinger Bunk Bar also operates one of the city’s finest (read: most potent) frozen margarita machines. If you’re feeling adventurous or looking to beat the heat, opt for the Iceberg: a pint of chilled Rainer topped off with a dollop of slushy ‘rita to cool you from the inside out.
Visitors return to divey Torta-Landia for more than their fully loaded tortas: Icy pitchers of margaritas cost only $20 during the daily happy hour. The drink itself is nothing fancy, but it certainly gets the job done — and hey, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, especially at these prices.