We've combed the West for the very best flavor experiences, all worthy of a culinary pilgrimage
Step away from the lime. Dump out that salt. There will be no licking, sucking, or referee-shirted bartenders cheering as you guzzle swill like a frat boy with a GPA lower than your blood alcohol level. This is a tequila bar—a modern, sophisticated tequila bar—and that means one thing: You come here to sip. Take Tommy's Mexican Restaurant (415/387-4747) in San Francisco or L.A.'s El Carmen. They're not much to look at (kitchy decor, scant lighting), and the food is passable at best, but both are holy temples to agave spirits, stocking hundreds of rare bottles and hand-mixing margaritas so good, and whose flavors are so clean, you'll be ruined for life (bye-bye Chevy's). These bars, and so many others like them in the West, are institutions of higher drinking, where you're touched by the realization that good tequila, like really good wine, can be complex and nuanced and enjoyed one sip at a time, without the bells and whistles.