Salt or no salt? Frozen or on the rocks? Those are the only decisions you’ll have to make when celebrating National Margarita Day in the Pensacola Bay Area.
For fans of the popular tequila-based cocktail, the annual observance on Feb. 22 is as good a reason as any to imbibe. Bartenders and mixologists here are ready to serve up the cool and refreshing beverage. This is Florida, after all.
Here are five places to enjoy a margarita in Pensacola.
Cactus Flower Café
Like the California-style Mexican food served here, the cocktails are fresh and flavorful. The Purist Margarita, shaken with freshly squeezed juices, Patron, agave and Grand Marnier, consistently ranks among the most popular margaritas in town in local media polls. On a recent visit, the frozen margarita selections included traditional lime, as well as prickly pear, strawberry and peach. Pair any of these with the Mexican Salad or Enchiladas Verde, my favorite entrees here, and you’ve got a delicious dinner. The West Pensacola location on U.S. Hwy. 98 is less than 12 miles from Perdido Key, but you can visit them at multiple locations, including 12th Ave. and Pensacola Beach.
Vallarta’s Mexican Restaurant
Vallarta’s is a popular destination for those seeking out margaritas and authentic Mexican fare in north Pensacola. Located on Pensacola Blvd./Hwy. 29 just south of 9 Mile Rd., the large, festive eatery boasts the PNJ.com/Pensacola News Journal Best of the Bay 2017 award winner for Best Margarita. All margaritas can be upgraded to top shelf or Patron for an additional charge. If you’re celebrating with a large group, Vallarta’s can usually accommodate you.
Located in Downtown Pensacola, Taco Agave is for the true tequila and margarita aficionados. With over 50 types of tequila, Taco Agave uses fresh juices and hand-made syrups in their specialty cocktails. I’d recommend the Strawberry Jalapeño Margarita or the Cucumber Cilantro Margarita. Seasonal margaritas rotate on the menu, as well. Happy hour and daily specials are available, including $17 Signature Margarita pitchers every day. Grab a seat at the bar or enjoy the people watching at an outside table. Because you should never drink on an empty stomach, the menu here includes nine varieties of street tacos with flavors ranging from jerk chicken to Vietnamese pork and Nashville-style hot chicken. Go here to see why Taco Agave was voted as having Pensacola’s best margarita in the InWeekly 2017 Best of the Coast awards.
Cactus Cantina Mexican Grill
You’ll find the most colorful margaritas in town at Cactus Cantina, across from the Pensacola International Airport on 12th Ave. Try the Instagram-worthy Rainbow Margarita, a mix of the house margarita, mango, strawberry, and blue curacao. The equally festive Twisted Margarita features the house margarita swirled with homemade red sangria. Sixteen tequilas are available. Pick your poison and enjoy the cocktails with your favorite Tex Mex dishes inside the spacious restaurant or at the outdoor patio seating. When we visited on a weekend night, the service and atmosphere were outstanding.
Margaritaville Beach Hotel
You don’t have to be a Parrothead to appreciate the Gulf front property inspired by the music of Jimmy Buffet. I came here for a girls’ night out with friends, and the atmosphere and views of Pensacola Beach are magnificent. The cocktail menu at the Frank and Lola Love Pensacola Café includes all the traditional island favorites. Choose from six margaritas made from a blend of the company’s proprietary tequilas and liqueurs and a margarita mix. Order the Booze in the Blender for a 22 oz. take-home cup. Open to the public, the restaurant is cozy and casual, with food ranging from quick bites and burgers to upscale entrees. In March, the Landshark Landing Beach Bar opens next door to the hotel. With a fire pit, volleyball nets, hammocks and picnic tables in the sand, it’s a fun place to wind down a day at the beach with a margarita, too.
There you have it, my recommendations for a place to celebrate National Margarita Day or, for that matter, any day you want to sip the famous concoction. Remember that Uber, Lyft and local cab companies are available to provide a safe ride home at the end of the night.
Cheers and Olé!
Left a favorite off this list? Post a comment below and let us know what to order!