Bar Beat

Houston Becomes Margaritaville This Friday

El Patio's blue margaritas will color your world.
El Patio's blue margaritas will color your world. Photo by Becca Wright

The designation of every day of the calendar year as a National Something or Other Day seems like well, a national epidemic. While we can get behind days that are dedicated to doughnuts, pancakes or wine, days that honor home warranties or window inspections are obvious marketing ploys. That's not to say that National Days honoring food and drink aren't business strategies as well. They are just more fun.

The trend began in 1957 when brothers William D. Chase and Harrison V. Chase began a book titled, "Chase's Calendar of Events", according to Wikipedia. The book has evolved over the years and changed publishing hands, but everyday people can submit their own personal ideas for special days. I don't know who designated February 18 as National Crab-stuffed Flounder Day, but I think I love them.

We Houstonians are in luck for National Margarita Day. We have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to margaritas. While we may bemoan the traffic, constant construction and development eyesores that dominate our boomtown, being Houstonians on National Margarita Day means that we are spoiled for choice. Whether it be a mami y papi establishment with homemade tamales and killer refried beans or a Texas-based chain with its hour long weekend waits, it's all good. And for folks who don't fancy a chips and salsa meal, there's a number of cocktail bars around town that are still getting in on the fun.

We've compiled a new list for 2019 including some old favorites and some newbies. You can check out last year's list, here in the Houston Press.

National Margarita Day is February 22 and yes, it's a Friday. That leaves Saturday for recuperation. You didn't want to do lawn work this weekend, anyway.

And if you are one of those people who is sick of all these National Days, March 9 is National Get Over It Day.

I Need Tacos With My Ritas:

It's the end of the work week and you are thanking God it's Friday. Throw in a little extra gratitude for the fact that this Friday is National Margarita Day. And feel really blessed that there are so many restaurants in Houston to get some Mexican grub and delicious margaritas. Nothing soaks up tequila quicker than cheese enchiladas and complimentary chips and salsa.

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Photo by Bear Hands Media
Alicia's Mexican Grille
26236 Northwest Freeway
20920 Kuykendahl
12002 Richmond
25725 Katy Freeway
20420 Southwest Freeway

Alicia's Mexican Grille was founded by the Herrera family in 2006 and has expanded to five locations, including its most recent in the Richmond/Sugar Land area. For National Margarita Day, Alicia's is bringing back its 12th Anniversary limited edition Millonario Margarita. It's made with Avion 44 tequila, fresh lime juice, organic agave nectar, and Grande Gala. Alicia's says this rita is a $40 value. Your sticker price? $12. The special lasts February 22 through February 24.

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Eat soup like a millonario.
Photo by Marie Elgamal

While enjoying a Millonario margarita, treat yourself to a bowl of caldo de Marisco ($12.95). With this gloomy, freaky weather, a festive bowl of lobster broth filled with shrimp, crawfish tails, red snapper, calamari and fresh garlic and vegetables will put some seaside sunshine in your day and make you truly feel like a millionaire for a sweet $12.95.

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Superica brings the Tex-Mex.
Photo by Ralph Smith
1801 N. Shepherd

Ford Fry's Tex-Mex restaurant opened this past September, along with his restaurant, La Lucha.
While the wait can get a bit long and the atmosphere a bit loud, the thin crispy chips and red and green salsas make the wait worthwhile.

There are a handful of special margaritas, ranging from the house frozen El Frio ($9) to the Blood Orange($13), made with El Jimador Resposado, Solerno Blood Orange, lime juice, orange juice and Ancho Reyes Chili Liqueur. That'll turn your boot tips up.

There's also the Mezcal Margarita, made with Banhez Mescal, Stirrings Triple Sec, lime juice and simple syrup to pair with some sizzling beef fajitas. If you're a Ford Fry fan, you might want to check out his upcoming cook book, Tex-Mex.

Jalapeno and pineapple in a margarita marriage.
Photo by Liana Bouchard

The Original Ninfa's on Navigation
2704 Navigation

The Original Ninfa's has been serving margaritas to Houstonians for years. While many patrons are quite happy to stick with Ninfa's tried and true house margaritas, drinkers looking for a little spice in their lives can try the Jalapeno Pinarita. It's made with jalapeno-infused tequila, mezcal, fresh pineapple, Navigation mix and Combier triple sec, served with a salted mole rim. Ole for mole!

Margaritas With Fiestas:

Margaritas are made for partying. We all feel a little cuter and happier while sipping our tequila and lime. Here's a couple of places throwing in some music along with the margarita specials for National Margarita Day.

El Patio, Club No Minors
6444 Westheimer

This longtime Houston Mexican Restaurant is so old school, they serve combo platters named after the much grieved for Felix Mexican Restaurant, which closed in 2008. They even serve Felix's  greasy paprika-laden queso. And you should probably order a lot of it to keep you on an even keel with the ultra-strong blue margaritas that El Patio is famous for. For National Margarita Day, happy hour will run from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. with the El Patio blue ritas coming in at $7 and the purple for $7.50. If you're feeling flush (or flushed), the Smokey rita is $13. There will be mariachis from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. along with a photo booth and giveaways.

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Line 'em up at Pistolero's.
Photo by Becca Wright

Pistolero's Tequila and Taco Bar
1517 Westheimer

This lively restaurant/bar will host a parking lot and DJ party beginning at 4 p.m., February 22. With $5 Hornitos margaritas and $6 Kimo Sabe Mezcal ritas, you'll also want to fill up on their inexpensive tamales, queso and elote.

Get a Room:

Maybe you dropped the ball on Valentine's Day and now you need to make it up to your boo. What better way than getting a room at one of Houston's fancy-shmancy hotels and celebrating National Margarita Day in style? Yeah, you'll spend a pretty penny for this adventure, but it'll be a lot cheaper than a D.U.I.

Four Seasons Bayou and Bottle
1300 Lamar

Bayou and Bottle at the Four Seasons bills itself as " Houston's living room". This bourbon-centric bar and restaurant also turns out some delicious tequila-based drinks as well. Customers can go for the Classic margarita made with Altos tequila, Cointreau, lemon and lime or splurge for the Luxury margarita, a cocktail of Clase Azul Respoda, Grand Marnier Centenarie,lemon and lime. It will set you back $15 or you can be even more luxe and order the large pitcher for $45.

Settle in at the Top Golf simulator, enjoy a Feges BBQ Brisket sandwich or Bayou Burger and pretend that it is your own living room.

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Margaritas on tap, then a nap.
Photo by Duc Hoang

Royal Sonesta Axis Lounge
2222 West Loop South

Royal Sonesta's Axis Lounge offers a couple of margaritas on tap. The traditional margarita is made with Patron Silver, Patron Citronge Orange Liqueur, fresh lime juice and simple syrup. For some tropical heat, try the Mango Habanero. It's made with Patron Silver, Patron Citronge Mango, fresh lime, and house-made habanero simple syrup. The Tajin rim delivers a salty, spicy, limey kick.

Margaritas Without Borders:

If you want to try a margarita cocktail without the temptation of gorging on chips, there are plenty of places to try unique and creative drinks that will elevate your margarita drinking resume.

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The Szechuan margarita at Yauatcha is Asian-inspired.
Photo by Kirsten Gilliam
5045 Westheimer

This elegant, upscale Chinese dim sum restaurant is located in the Galleria, so getting there is a hectic jaunt, but once there, it's a refuge. A pricey refuge. And its special Szechuan margarita weighs in at a hefty $14, but it will be a delicious memory. It's made with Thai-chili infused Blanco tequila, Ancho Verde, Szechuan aloe syrup, then finished with lime. Try pairing it with the dim sum offerings and French pastries. The power lunch starts at twenty dollars for those on a budget plus more expensive tasting menus for those who want the full on experience.

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Kombucha coming at ya.
Photo by Duc Hoang
On the Kirb
5004 Kirby

On the Kirb Organic Eatery and Sports Bar is offering a margarita that will take you out of your comfort zone while giving your body some fermented goodness. The Buddha's Kombucha Margarita ($10), is made with Buddha's Brew Blueberry Kombucha, Epsolon tequila, lime juice, simple syrup and muddled blueberries. That's about as healthy as a margarita can get.

There are organic, free range wings and grass-fed burgers for the game-watching crowd as well as nachos and tacos.

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Try benjy's Blueberry Beret.
Photo by Dominique McGhee

2424 Dunstan

This Rice Village spot has a hopping happy hour and delicious food in a comfortably upscale decor. For National Margarita Day, patrons can try its blood orange margarita, a traditional margarita or go for the Blueberry Beret. It's made with mezcal, fresh lime and blueberries.

Margaritas for The Broke-Ass:

Some of us need to keep the margarita fun within our disposable income restraints. Luckily, in Houston, that's easily done. Not all of us require some chi-chi infused tequila or hand-squeezed juice. Some of us just want a good, frozen cocktail that will wipe away the worries of the world for an afternoon or evening. We got you covered, amigos.

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Torchy's has a special for scallywags.
Photo by Scott Paul

Torchy's Tacos
14 Locations Around Houston

This is a good as it gets, deal wise. For $10 at Torchy's you can get the Scallywag margarita and Torchy's Taco of the Month, the Scallywag. The Scallywag margarita starts with the house frozen, made with Exotico respado tequila and triple sec then adds an ounce of habanero jam. It's rimmed with a crazy combination of Captain Crunch cereal and coconut.

The Scallywag taco is a seaman's delight, made with coconut shrimp, bacon, green chiles, Jack cheese, pickled onions, cilantro and house-made peach habanero jam. Paired with the Scallywag margarita, tongues will be tingling.

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Drink the rainbow at Jax Grill.
Photo by Gary Wise

Jax Grill
1613 Shepherd

This casual restaurant right off Shepherd offers a little Tex-Mex, a little Southern comfort food and a taste of Louisiana. For National Margarita Day, it will offer happy hour from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. with margaritas starting at $4.50. The ritas are made with Padrismo Gold, triple sec and Tex blend mix. Flavors like mango, strawberry and watermelon can be added for a dollar.

Buff Burger
10550 Westheimer
1540 W. Alabama

The Montrose and Westchase locations of Buff Burger will be serving a margarita from its cocktail menu developed by Laurie Harvey from Ladies of Libation. The Margarita in the Buff has respado tequila, Combier orange liqueur, agave and fresh lime. It's a sweet bargain at $4 all day February 22. 
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Lorretta Ruggiero is a Houston Press freelance writer based in Cypress, Texas. She loves entertaining her family and friends with her food and sparkling wit. She is married to Classic Rock Bob and they have two exceptionally smart-aleck children.