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BEST MEZCAL BARS IN THE U.S.
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With openings of bars dedicated to the spirit of hip enclaves on the rise, we've chosen some of our favorite mezcalerias in the country. Find our top six picks below.

MAYAHUEL, NEW YORK

MAYAHUEL, NEW YORK

With a careful selection of nearly 50 premium mezcals on the menu, Mayahuel is a tequila drinker's tequila bar. Located in Manhattan's East Village behind an entry made of rustic, found wood, here the cocktail menu places a selection of mezcal next to a program of tequila-based cocktails and tea-infused drinks. With antiques crammed next to exposed brick walls, large stained glass windows, ornate damask wallpaper and well-worn leather booths that provide abundant privacy, the bar immediately feels welcoming and relaxed. It’s a throw-back to the kind of tiny watering hole one would find hidden in a cobblestoned alleyway in Mexico, and it works. 

MASA AZUL, CHICAGO

MASA AZUL, CHICAGO

Glass shelves are dotted with skulls evocative of Dia de los Muertos and loaded with small-batch mezcals at Masa Azul in Logan Square. On a pleasant day, diners take their Prickly Pear mezcal cocktails to the bricked patio. Inside, large picture windows look onto the bustling street of the trendy neighborhood. A full Southwestern dinner menu is available, but the star here is mezcal, which even makes an appearance in the frozen margaritas. 

THE PASTRY WAR, HOUSTON

THE PASTRY WAR, HOUSTON

Named for the conflict between Mexico and France that took place in the late 1800s, The Pastry War may boast the most detailed mezcal menu in the entire U.S. The owners have personally visited every family-owned distillery they feature, and the descriptions of the artisanal brands are rich with insight. Blonde wood wraps the bar, where downtown crowds gather nightly to make their way through the list while conversing over chips and queso. 

LAS PERLAS, LOS ANGELES

LAS PERLAS, LOS ANGELES

Located in the historic Santa Fe building in downtown L.A., Las Perlas' sign is lit with marquee lighting. Inside, the bright, funky cantina has a bar lined with more than 120 agave varieties, all presided over by a likeness of the Virgin Mary. Carnita, carne asada and chicken tacos make up the simple menu, which highlights cocktails made with double-distilled El Silencio Espadin mezcal. Weekly authentic Mexican live music performances make for a lively setting. 

MEZCALERIA OAXACA, SEATTLE

MEZCALERIA OAXACA, SEATTLE

Named for the only region in Mexico where mezcal is made, Mezcaleria Oaxaca has two locations in Seattle: Queen Anne and Capitol Hill. The family-owned establishment has an extensive menu of mezcals with tasting notes, all to pair with their much-lauded authentic Mexican fare. (The goat is a show-stopper.) At the Queen Anne location, a tasting flight of any three mezcals is available and so is sotol, a cousin to mezcal and tequila that is gaining buzz in the U.S.

TEQUILAS, PHILADELPHIA

TEQUILAS, PHILADELPHIA

At Tequilas, a 30-year-old Philadelphia institution, the owners are so passionate about tequila- and mezcal-making production that they charitably donate to the Mexican entity that officially governs the process. While the menu highlights mezcal through mixology, the knowledgeable staff will pour a mezcal straight for those who ask or recommend one based on preferences. A Mexican folk art mural in vibrant colors wrapping the staircase is the perfect backdrop for studying the rich, smoky spirit.

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