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The margaritas you'll want to drink in Atlanta right now

If you love margaritas, you’ve come to the right spot.

The margarita is the ultimate happy hour cocktail. Easy to find, easy to drink – sometimes a little too much- and easy to order. But, it’s also easy to make a bad margarita. 

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A truly great one shouldn’t be too sweet. It should have a little saltiness that cuts through any juices and end up very balanced. 

So, when craving a cold cocktail − today and any day − over an order of cheese dip, these are some of the best margaritas being made in Atlanta.  

Across the Street

668 Highland Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30312; (404) 781-0931, www.facebook.com/acrossthestreetatlanta

Love puppies? Love margaritas? Good. Head directly to this Old Fourth Ward favorite on a gorgeous day for a spot on their dog-friendly patio. Everything on the menu, including the drinks, are made from scratch. Each margarita is tasty, whether you want spicy, traditional or fruity. Pair your choice with an order of goat cheese enchiladas for the ultimate patio day.  

Agave

242 Boulevard SE, Atlanta, GA 30312; (404) 588-0006, agaverestaurant.com 

More Southwest than Tex-Mex, the folks at Agave still make one of Atlanta’s favorite margaritas. A dozen varieties, each better than the last, are available. Go with the Ultimate, made with Centenario Plata tequila, orange liqueur, fresh squeezed lime juice and house-made sour mix served over the rocks. Fried chicken is not normally paired with margaritas, but make an exception here.

El Mexicano

1341 Moreland Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30316; (404) 622-3501, www.facebook.com/El-Mexicano-Restaurant-496711377090006

The East Side Mexican dive is the talk of the East Side. The spot is a hidden gem that’s becoming a more and more difficult to keep secret. That’s in no small part due to the drinks.  A favorite is the one made with muddled cilantro and cucumber. It’s balanced and not cloyingly sweet. Pair it with a molcajete overflowing with juicy shrimp and chicken, and you’ll be an instant regular.

Mi Barrio

571 Memorial Dr SE, Atlanta, GA 30312; (404) 223-9279, www.facebook.com/Mi-Barrio-Mexican-Restaurant-261667748403.

Grant Park residents know that the strangely shaped red building across from Oakland Cemetery holds some of the most potently tasty margaritas in town. Alongside an expertly crafted torta and a salsa bladed thin, should be a glass goblet filled with a margarita. Arriving an almost lime green color, this is no cocktail crafted by a mixologist. This margarita has one job, and it does it well.

Minero

 Ponce City Market, 675 Ponce De Leon Ave NE #136, Atlanta, GA 30308; (404) 532-1580, mineroatlanta.com

Any taco spot worth their salt-rimmed glass has to have a great margarita, right? Sean Brock’s Ponce City Market taco stand brings it. On a menu stacked with tequila and mezcal, the margarita keeps it classic with reposado and añejo tequila, dry curacao, lime, orange, and agave. It’s not overly sweet, and not overly boozy. Great for a mid-afternoon stop while exploring the Beltline.

The El Felix

1130 Avalon Blvd #1030, Alpharetta, GA 30009, (678) 248-5239; 455 Legends Place SE, Suite 800, Atlanta, GA 30339,  770-675-6318 (The Battery at SunTrust Park), theelfelix.com

Ford Fry’s Tex-Mex outpost is almost always on a wait. So, put your name on the list and sidle up to the bar for a drink. Margs here range from the familiar, and thankfully, not too sweet, to some with ingredients not usually tasted in a ‘rita such as ginger beer. A very pleasant buzz will be your payoff.

The Original El Taco

1186 North Highland Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30306; (404) 873-4656, www.eltaco-atlanta.com.

With dozens of tequilas on the shelves behind the bar, these guys take their cocktails seriously. Classics are available both frozen and on the rocks. Be sure to try the Key West. The drink is crafted with Antiguo Reposado, Orangeville and Key Lime juice. It’s tarter than a classic, and wonderfully refreshing.  Bonus: If you’re flying out of town, there’s 2 locations in the Atlanta Airport, so you can get your fix there.

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