Tequila is one of those drinks that can start off very sophisticated and classy (think: palomas, Mexican mules and cantaritos) but then get messy very fast (think: nothing but shots, salt and lime). It’s one of those spirits that you either love or you hate, and it probably depends on what your high school after-prom party looked like.
But, no matter your relationship, it’s hard not to enjoy the casual, fun vibe of an authentic tequila bar. Check out our list of favourite tequila bars in the city.
El Catrin Distileria
Nothing says summer like soaking up the sun while enjoying some guac and sipping on a margarita—especially when those margaritas are labelled as some of the best in the city. El Catrin’s year-round patio is heated, which means you can comfortably celebrate Taco Tuesday outside at any time of year. Inside, colourful cushions make for comfortable seating to enjoy the authentic Mexican menu, though you’ll want to make a reservation, as this tequila bar favourite is known to fill up fast.
It’s no surprise that one of Toronto’s best mezcal bars come from none other than restaurateur Grant van Gameren. El Rey might be on the small side—tiny even—but that just makes for a cozy night out with friends or an intimate night getting to know someone on a first date. Located in Kensington Market, this bar has a rustic look to it, complete with arched doorways, exposed brick and raw wood furnishings. The space will have you feeling like you’ve wandered into a saloon in the Wild Wild West—and so will the tequila.
Reposado stands out from Toronto’s other tequila bars by providing live music as the weekend soundtrack while you round up your friends for some straight tequila shots. Inside, Reposado offers a dark and edgy atmosphere that’s both mysterious and elegant, while also dangerous and exciting—it really depends on the kind of the night and who you’re taking those tequila shots with. Outside, on the other hand, Reposado’s patio feels like a garden escape, quiet and surrounded by hanging plants.
A true tequila fiend knows this bar is named for the type of tequila that’s aged from one to four years. But that’s not all that’s found here, as Añejo offers everything from blanco to reposado, extra añejo and everything in between. The options are limitless—we lost count around 70 different bottles—but if you’re feeling overwhelmed, Anejo’s expert bartenders are there to help you make your pick. Customers can find the spacious bar slightly below street level in King West’s entertainment district.
Chula is the Spanish slang for describing someone or something as cute, which makes it a good fit for this Leslieville tavern that introduces innovative flavours and textures to traditional Mexican dishes. If we haven’t given you enough al fresco dining options, Chula Taberna’s year-round heated patio will give off backyard pool party vibes with their custom-built tiki bars and hanging fairy lights. The colourful east end bar is two storeys and can be rented out for private parties, weddings and events.