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Rock me like a margarita. Courtesy Taco Paseo at Crockett Hall

Each year, the Weekly puts out a Best Of edition. With the margarita being such a popular drink here in Texas, Best Margarita is one of our most popular categories. Year after year, our readers pick Joe T. Garcia’s (2201 N Commerce St, 817-626-4356) consistently as the winning choice. In celebration of National Margarita Day coming up on Mon, Feb 22, let’s take a stroll down memory lane and revisit some critically acclaimed establishments. Here are some critic’s picks.

 

Chu on This

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Many restaurants and bars rely on a margarita mix that involves a lot of Green Dye No. 6, but not Chuy’s (2401 W 7th St, Ste 110, 817-332-2489, Best Margarita 2013). The Texas-based franchise’s ratio of silver tequila to freshly squeezed lime juice to ice is a closely guarded secret. During happy hour, the frosty beverage is only $3.95, and you also get free queso. Besides two Fort Worth locations, there is also a Chuy’s in Arlington and Denton (see Chuys.com/locations).

 

Happy Hour Eats & Drinks

Here in the States, it has been said, most of us drink to get drunk. In pretty much every other developed nation, dining is part of the drinking experience, which is why the Crocket Hall (3000 Crocket St, 817-885-7331, Best Happy Hour 2020) is ideal for your happy houring needs. From 3 to 6pm Mon-Fri, the cavernous space bristles with young folks and couples of all ages sampling the food fare from many vendors while enjoying the craft cocktails, wines, and beers (import, domestic, and local on tap or by the bottle).

 

Get Your Swirl On

There are two recently added special margaritas at El Gabacho Tex-Mex Grill (2408 W Abram St, Arl, 817-276-8160, Best Margarita 2016) for your imbibing pleasure. A skinny, top-shelf spicy-cucumber and a mango join the already good original frozen and sangria swirl. And if you make it to the restaurant before 7pm on weekdays, your original or swirl is only $5.

 

Delicious Diablos

Do you want a craft margarita mixed from scratch for north of $12? This is a thorny subject, right? That’s your inalienable right. This year’s award goes to a margarita of the people made by Esperanza’s (1601 Park Place Av, 817-923-1961, Best Margarita 2019). This $7.95 gangbuster blends Cazadores Reposado with house mix and is served frozen or on the rocks in a chunky smoked glass. Two of these delicious Diablos will blow your huaraches clean off. After all, that is surely what margaritas are all about.

 

Simplicity at Shaw’s

Continuing in the tradition of excellent margaritas not found at Mexican restaurants, the ones at Shaw’s Patio Bar & Grill (1050 W Magnolia Av, 817-926-2116, Best Margarita 2015) are for purists. They are not blue or green, but cloudy-clear like an overcast day. That’s because they’re made with three simple ingredients: tequila, lime, and a little sweetness. Shaw’s ’ritas also come in pint glasses (salted or not), and the price is right: $4 during happy hour (3-7pm Tue, Thu-Fri), $5 all day Saturday.

 

Balancing Act

The best margaritas use freshly squeezed juices and good tequila and are equal parts strong and sweet — never cloying or masquerading as a dressed-up shot. No one mixes the most popular cocktail in Texas better than the staff at Taco Heads (1218 Montgomery St, 817-615-9899, Best Margarita 2018), whose version is perfectly balanced, fresh-tasting, and reasonably priced for the quality.

 

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Let’s be real for a minute. If you’re looking for something cheap, strong, and tangy, you can’t go wrong with a margarita from Velvet Taco (2700 7th St, 817-887-9810, Best Margarita 2020). During these trying times, the VT staffers are being real and offering margaritas to go, so you can have your tequila and drink it, all while staying responsible and socially distanced.

 

Mouthwatering Shrimp & Margaritas

Have you tried the Best Quesadilla of 2020? That’s right. Yucatan Tequila Bar & Grill (909 W Magnolia Av, Ste 10, 682-385-9395, Readers’ Choice Margarita 2018-2019) is more than just nachos and margaritas. With succulent shrimp, mouthwatering sauce, and a blend of cheeses, the Spicy Tequila Shrimp Quesadilla at YTBG is the kaysa–ah of your dreams.

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