Best Tequila and Mezcal Bars in Sydney

Updated 4 months ago


Tequila and mezcal are both made by distilling agave, but there are a couple of significant differences between the two spirits. Mezcal is made by harvesting one of 50-plus species of agave, which is then wood-roasted, crushed and distilled in small batches, taking up to 30 days to produce. Usually rich and smoky (but not always), it’s Mexico’s answer to single-malt whisky.

In contrast, tequila is made only with a single species of agave: blue. While the spirit’s history goes back much further, the majority of tequila is now produced by cooking agave in modern steam ovens. The results are distilled, then bottled unaged (blanco), rested on oak for less than a year (reposado) or between one and three years (añejo).

These are just the basics. As with any spirit, there’s an enormous amount of variety out there, which the staff at these bars will only be too happy to talk you through. So whether you’re looking for a topnotch Margarita or Paloma, or something to savour and sip neat, there’s a spot here for you.

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  • Don't bring a large group to this tiny laneway bar – even if it were empty, you probably wouldn't fit. It's considered one the best tequila and mezcal bars in the world for its peerless selection of rare agave spirits, and the friendly, knowledgeable staff here will help you navigate the list with confidence.

  • A good-times bar devoted to tequila, mezcal and the Margarita. Don’t let the laid-back energy fool you – some of Sydney’s best bartenders cut their teeth here. Otherwise, the popcorn is free, the music is loud and the weekly Margarita special is always $10.

  • The team behind Maybe Sammy have moved into a heritage Paddington pub and created a Mexican-inspired bar all about good times. There’s a DJ booth, disco ball and a menu that riffs on classic Mexican dishes. Cocktails are a big yes given who’s behind the place.

  • An unassuming terrace house on the outside; a fun Latin American bar and diner on the inside. Dishes span Peruvian, Mexican and Brazilian flavours, backed up by a solid selection of tequila and mezcal. The best drink on the menu? The Tequila Mockingbird, of course.

  • Vibrant Mexican food, super-rare tequilas and million-dollar views are all on the menu at this smart harbourside diner. But to really feel like a millionaire, splash out on the signature gold leaf Margarita.

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  • From The Butler’s large and leafy terrace you get an unbeatable vantage point to the city skyline above Woolloomooloo and The Domain. But after some South American-inspired snacks and a seasonal Margarita or two, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world.

  • A moody Mexican laneway diner in an old CBD printing shop. The upstairs restaurant serves tacos al pastor, a one-kilogram Wagyu rib eye and a riff on the Pina Colada for dessert. But downstairs in the bar, it's all about mezcal and tequila.

  • At this Mexican restaurant (from the former owners of Barrio Chino), there's a particular emphasis on seafood. Pink scallop tostadas, raw prawns sliced like sashimi and de-boned snapper have all starred in the past.

  • Tequila, tacos and shareable woodfired dishes make for a seriously good time at this Mexican- and South American-inspired spot. Sip one of 10 different Margaritas in the breezy courtyard out back, or go for the lively interior for plenty of bar action.

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  • Hidden behind a tiny takeaway sandwich shop, this rowdy little tequila bar and taqueria is one of the best spots in Sydney to snag a Margarita. There are more than 15 versions of the classic drink to choose from, plus a neat menu of tacos going for half price on Tuesdays.

  • Fine dining meets Oaxacan flavours at this casual CBD spot. There's a rollicking bar with such vast quantities of tequila and mezcal, bartenders use a library ladder to access the top shelf. A pre-dinner flight here is highly encouraged – and well worth it.

  • This is a buzzing South American-inspired cocktail bar and diner by the teams behind Gin Lane and Eastside Bar & Grill. Expect ingredients such as spiced worm salt and grasshoppers, Margarita "trees", and more than 100 types of mezcal and tequila.

  • A modern Mexican diner where the Margaritas come several ways and the guacamole gets smashed right at your table. Come for street-style eats and share plates made with a market-to-table ethos, tequila masterclasses and more.

  • This spot offers a hint of the flavours you might find on Mexico's Caribbean coast. It's all about boutique tequila and DIY tacos: you select all of the fillings you want and assemble the taco yourself. It's so simple – but so fun and practical. We wish it was more commonplace around town.

  • Merivale’s good-times Mexican joint is home to the tacos secreto, where the filling is a surprise until it hits your table. Secreto or not, every taco here is wallet-friendly. But we recommend the DIY platters – they’ll give you even bigger bang for your buck.

  • You won't find any sugar skulls or sombreros here. This eatery and mezcal bar is inspired by the coastal state of the same name and the executive chef's heritage, flour tortillas are preferred – and they're used to make Wagyu burritos.

  • This rustic little bolthole, hidden in a Manly back alley, is one of the seaside suburb's most popular and enduring eateries. We can see why. The laid-back atmosphere belies just how seriously this team take their food.

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