As the days get longer and the sun gets stronger in London, we all start to emerge from our anti-social cocoons and develop a taste for citrus (probably to fight off the scurvy). So with that in mind and to celebrate the London Marathon this weekend we recently undertook a marathon of sorts ourselves.
We wanted to find where makes the best Margarita in London and believing someone else’s review just wasn’t going to cut it! We had to taste them! So we enlisted our friends to undertake the important task of drinking so many margaritas your stomach lining burns away and you have no recollection of how you got home.
Hence the first (potentially annual?) London Margarita Marathon™
First things first, we decided the scoring criteria. The scores would be based on:
Taste: Is the Marg well balanced? Is there a flavoured rim? (Get your mind out of the gutter)
Style: The marg is a chameleon in how it is served, from tumblers to coupes, importantly is it instagrammable! (if a marg is drunk in Soho and no one takes a picture, is it drunk at all?)
Surroundings: The drink is all important yes, but let's be honest margs are a social drink and they need to be in an appropriate setting.
The challengers were as follows, we tried to balance the venues from high end eateries to casual dining and dive bars
Pink Chihuahua / El Camion
Now just like the real marathon this isn't an activity to be taken lightly, the drinkers here are professionals and by the end of day each participant was in double figures of margs, we did this so you don’t have to! You're welcome.
So without further ado the results:
El Pastor - This is one of the classics in London the mini chain starting out of borough has had a great reputation for elevating London’s taco game accompanied by a good list of mezcal, tequila and cocktails.
Taste - 8/10 - This was a great start, they really set the standard of a good drinkable marg. There is nothing wrong with it. It is perfectly balanced, not too sour or sweet with a good salty rim.
Style - 7/10 - Again this set the standard, classic coupe presentation; it's elevated but approachable.
Surroundings - 7/10 - The Soho restaurant is nice, airy and there is usually a good atmosphere. It also has a good amount of space including a mezcal bar downstairs.
Pink Chihuahua / El Camion - I feel like if you’ve ever worked in central London you have a hazy story about the pink chihuahua. A legendary late night dive spot in soho slinging margaritas and cervezas, it reliably doesn’t close till 3am. One thing that London lacks is the late night scenes and this is one of the places in central to go if you’re not ready to hang up your hat and quit the sesh.
Taste - 7/10 Easy going marg absolutely nothing wrong with it but not spectacular either, will get even easier to drink as the night goes on.
Style - 6/10 Served in a simple duralex style glass with a salty rim they go for the easy to hold kind of style that you appreciate at 2am.
Surroundings - 8/10 Fun and frivolous is the name of the game here, almost kitsch. Expect fluro lights, bright colours, maybe even a luchador or two. Its winning point is the aforementioned downstairs Pink Chihuahua that stays open late. (Shout out to the great team who were really nice!)
Temper - This was a last minute addition to the list and it was a good one. Although I will say this isn’t a bar there are no “just drinks” which hurt its surrounding score. We managed to sneak in by ordering a bunch of starters (which were actually excellent) so you’ll have to bear that in mind if you’re looking for a casual marg.
Taste - 9/10 this was a great marg perfectly balanced fresh, refreshing, tasty what more can we say we thoroughly approve!
Style - 10/10 Good looking coupe with smoked salted rim
Surroundings - 6/10 The basement in Soho was nicely decorated but we were there early in the evening and it was just for dinner as mentioned so the vibe was a bit low. Don’t get us wrong perfect for a date night or intimate dinner with friend just not a casual drink till you drop marathon
Bodega Negra - Another stalwart of the London Mexican food scene. We ate some food here as well (I mean we were multiple margs deep at this point!) we also went for jugs of margs as opposed to individuals which potentially voids the score or increases it depending on your viewpoint.
Taste 6/10 The marg was a bit too limey for us; it had a slight artificial taste to it. Enjoyable but not our favourite.
Style - 6/10 Back in the Duralex glasses and served in jugs it was quantity over quality.
Surroundings - 7/10 Bodega Negra is a nice place to be. They often open the doors to street level which gives it a great breezy feeling. (another shout out to the team here)
Hacha - This achingly cool award winning bar in Dalston is home to the mirror marg, a perfectly clear marg which was why we deviated from central London to try it. It isn’t a classi marg exactly but we thought it was important to include what the potential future of the marg looked like.
Taste - 9/10 This marg was clean, balanced, refreshing and a little too tasty which makes it hard to have just one!
Style - 9/10 I mean they invented a clear margarita, you could say it removes some of the fun but in terms of style its a great looking drink
Surroundings - 8/10 The bar is a nice place to be, the only thing I would say distracted from it was the looks we got when arriving in full matching margarita merch!
Let us know if you agree or disagree, if there's somewhere we missed or if you think we should run this as an annual thing?!