On The Town

Top Spots to Celebrate National Margarita Day

From on-the-rocks to frozen with salt, here are our picks.

One might think that National Margarita Day would fall sometime during the warmer months, but we’ll take a strong tequila drink—especially one that conjures thoughts of beaches and warm breezes—any time of year. Whether you’re an on-the-rocks type of person, or a fan of smoky cocktails garnished with chili flakes and pineapple wedges, the local bar scene offers plenty of ways to partake on February 22. To celebrate in style, spice up your average post-work happy hour by heading to any one of these local watering holes.

Banditos Bar and Kitchen: With an expansive tequila and mezcal menu, this neighborhood spot makes a mean marg. Visit the Federal Hill flagship, or the Towson and White Marsh spinoffs, for strong sippers made with fresh lime juice and agave nectar. Multiple locations including 1118 S Charles St.

Barcocina: Follow the Fells Point cobblestone to this waterfront hangout, which pairs its signature dips and tacos with a menu of refreshing cocktails. Aside from the house margaritas on tap, the bar crafts a hibiscus iteration (Avión tequila, agave nectar, lime, hibiscus purée, and house sour mix), as well as the signature “Margarita En Fuego” made with jalapeño-infused tequila. To celebrate National Margarita Day, catch daily specials throughout the weekend, including $6 glasses on Thursday, $8 hibiscus margs on Friday, and $28 32-oz. Patron buckets on Saturday. 1629 Thames St. 

Bayside Cantina: While the ample outdoor seats and prime harbor views are certainly a draw, this Canton establishment aims to be an all-weather destination for its tacos, fajitas, seafood dishes, and solid tequila options. Choose from nearly 20 varieties to amplify drinks like the classic house marg (in flavors such as cucumber, strawberry, blueberry, or mango), or the massive “El Jefe” that fuses house made sour mix with orange juice and orange liqueur. 2809 Boston St.

Blue Agave: This Federal Hill favorite is an ideal spot to catch up with friends over classic margaritas on the rocks and a basket of house-fried tortilla chips. To switch things up, sample flavors such as mango, prickly pear, pomegranate, red pepper, or the “Spicy Guavarita” mixed with guava syrup and a splash of pineapple juice. 1032 Light St.

Clavel: From the interior greenery to the house-made tortillas, everything about this Remington hangout is meant to mimic the atmosphere of the owners’ beloved Oaxaca, Mexico. The top-notch beverage program—which makes use of house-grown ingredients like hibiscus and squash flowers—features a collection of unique margaritas including a spicy version with tres chiles shrub and the signature “Mezcalita” garnished with grasshopper salt. 225 W. 23rd St., 443-900-8983

El Bufalo Tequila Bar & Kitchen: It should come as no surprise that this Canton mainstay, whose margaritas take up their own section on the drink menu, will be a go-to for the tequila-filled holiday. Flavors to please every palate include strawberry, coconut, cucumber basil, sweet heat, and the “Fizzy Bellini Marg” topped with Champagne.   2921 O’Donnell St. 

Holy Frijoles: If you’re celebrating on the Avenue in Hampden, stop in to this hallowed haunt to sip one of the many margs on offer—and play a game of pinball while you’re at it. If you’re a purist, enjoy the classic margarita with tequila, triple sec, house sour mix, and a requisite salt rim. Those looking to customize their drink can add mango, strawberry, prickly pear, or pomegranate puree for $1 extra. 908 W. 36th St. 

La Food Marketa: There’s no shortage of Mexican-inspired fare at this Baltimore County favorite located in Pikesville’s Quarry Lake at Greenspring. Chef Chad Gauss’s spinoff of The Food Market in Hampden boasts a beverage list highlighting everything from draft beer and Mexican sodas to mojitos and sangrias. But the restaurant’s margarita menu—featuring classic, blackberry-pomegranate, and spicy grilled pineapple varieties that can be ordered by the glass or pitcher—is the true claim to fame. 2620 Quarry Lake Drive, Pikesville

Maximón: Highlighting stone arches, lush greenery, and frequent live Latin jazz, this Harbor East hotspot is inspired by the flavors of Mexican and South American cuisine. You can’t go wrong with a basket of tortilla chips and an order of the house guacamole—topped with queso fresco and seasonal fruit—for the table. Paired with the signature Maximon Margarita—made with Tequila Ocho Plata, Cointreau, agave, lime, and salt—it’s a perfect match. 200 International Drive. 

Nacho Mama’s: This Canton Square stalwart, which also features a second location in Towson, has a longstanding reputation for putting its own Baltimore spin on the classic Mexican cantina. But aside from the crab quesadillas, Orange Crushes, and Natty Boh tallboys, the restaurant’s true specialty is its hubcap margarita. In keeping with the Elvis-themed interior, the drinks—served in actual hubcaps—come in varieties like the “Graceland” (house tequila, triple sec, lime margarita mix), the “Blue Suede Shoes” (El Jimador and blue Curaçao), and the “Priscilla” (Don Julio Blanco, Cointreau triple sec, and lime juice.) Multiple locations including 2907 O’Donnell St.

Papi’s Tacos: There’s something for everyone at this Fells Point taco joint, which has expanded with locations in Hampden, Towson, Ocean City, and most recently, Hamilton-Lauraville, throughout the years. The menus showcase a lengthy list of unique margarita flavors including passion fruit, watermelon, mango, and pineapple chili. A special “Margaritas Locos” menu lists drinks like a jalapeño-infused “Rita En Fuego.” Multiple locations including 1703 Aliceanna St.

Zen West: This York Road haunt, located just a stone’s throw away from Belvedere Square, is known for its strong sips and tasty Tex-Mex plates. Line your stomach with eats like Texas chili, fajitas, and quesadillas before downing a blood-orange margarita or the bar’s signature “Sangrita”—a frozen house margarita swimming in sangria. While the entire place is a gem, tequila and mezcal fans will likely head straight for Clandestino—Zen West’s secret speakeasy behind the bar that boasts its own set of impressive cocktails. Standouts include the Ginger Ahumado (Banhez mezcal joven, ginger liquor, lime juice, and agave), the tart and spicy Matador (Los Hermanos tequila, pineapple juice, lime, and dehydrated jalapeño), and a Ranch Water made with Los Hermanos and Topo Chico. 5916 York Road

Additional fact checking by Jalen McNeil.