Frozen or on the rocks? Shaker or glass? Salt or no salt? Marg our words, whatever you pick, it’s the recipe for a fiesta. These places were all voted on by locals, so if you don’t see your favorite on here, take it with a grain of salt. Or a whole rim of salt. Either way, these are all worth a shot!
This local favorite in Clive was the runaway winner of the popular vote, thanks to its beloved margarita shakers, which give you about three margaritas worth for under ten dollars. Add a killer day drinking patio, a life changing carne asada platter, and great service and it’s no wonder that this is the place to be on a summer evening.
Pair with: Pollo Poblano
When you go to Malo downtown, you’re getting a great margarita, but you’re also getting a great vibe in this fire station-turned-restaurant, with commissioned artwork at nearly every touchpoint. Sip in style with options like the El Padre, El Rey, and El Jefe, all served in a tableside shaker. Or try the El Jefe with raspberry, blueberry, mango, strawberry, tamarind, guava or jalapeño. Head there for Margarita Wednesdays, with half-price select margaritas all day long!
Pair with: Malo Burrito (stuffed with crispy tots!)
Tacos La Familia
This quaint space on the northside serves up arguably the best Mexican food in the area, highlighted by their birria stew and tacos ahogados, which are the perfect refute to people who say you can’t find good Mexican food in Iowa. Their margaritas, original or strawberry, are the way to wash it down; or try their cantros – tequila, squirt, and lime juice garnished with tajin and salt with a side of orange, grapefruit or pineapple, served in an Instagram worthy mug.
Pair with: Tacos Ahogados (with birria)
Call us basic, but we love a laminated menu with photos of the different dishes. That’s what you’ll get at this popular Drake spot, where the atmosphere is warm and festive, and the margaritas are ice cold. Try the flavored margarita flight and take advantage of their margarita specials Tuesday – Thursday.
Pair with: Shrimp Chimichanga
This West Des Moines stalwart’s claim to fame is their handmade tortillas that you can watch them make up front, but their margaritas go above and beyond as well. They’re served just the way we like them: in a glass as big as your head. With spicy watermelon and jalapeno options available as well, your eyes may soon pass over the “trainer approved” portion of their huge menu and go straight to the deep fried chimichangas.
Pair with: Mole Poblano
This tequila bar in the East Village is the place to go if you like to pair your margaritas with dancing, where DJ’s spin on the weekends in a cozy, fun space. The Coa Margarita is a fan fave, but you can spice things up with a smoky mezcal margarita or keep it sweet with strawberry, passionfruit, mango or blackberry. All the flavors are house made, so frozen or on the rocks, it’s always margarita o’clock. Check out their popular Trivia Thursdays, from 7p.m. – 9p.m.
The only thing better than a margarita flight is a queso flight to go with it. Home to one of the best patios in the metro, you can order your margarita with champagne (Margmosa) if you’re feeling fancy or Coronoa (Corona Rita) if you’re basic. You can also add flavors like blueberry, raspberry, peach, and habanero for only a dollar more. Sitting on the patio on a sunny day, shades down, a margarita in hand, queso drenched chip in the other, you’re clearly living your best life.
Pair with: Lobster Tacos
Craft cocktails are the name of the game at this Brooklyn-esque bar with the astroturf patio that everyone is talking about. Everyone is also talking about “Tommy’s Margarita”, with Exotico blanco tequila, lime, and agave. We don’t know who Tommy is, but we do know he has great taste.
One (or three) craft margaritas coming up! With more than 80 different tequilas behind the bar, you’re gonna need to double down on limes. Sip on margaritas with spiced pineapple tepache and blood orange (Street Snack) or kick up a notch with jalapeno, house sour, and chili-lime salt rim (Hellfire). They even have bartender-designed margarita mixes you can take to go. We love a good Mexican brunch, and this trendy West Des Moines spot serves a great one on Saturdays, with bottomless mimosas and pineapple-papaya bellinis.
Pair with: Chile Colorado Tacos
This hidden gem on the northside of Des Moines serves up hearty portions of enchiladas and burritos that would be criminal not to pair with their sugary-sweet margaritas. Pro tip: When deciding between a glass or a pitcher, always go for the pitcher. Save the wait staff the back and forth. Sometimes we order the Cadillac Margarita just because it sounds cool.
Pair with: Trio Fajitas
You don’t always need unlimited chips and salsa to enjoy a good margarita (although it helps). This swank tiki bar in the East Village has a “poolside classic” on their menu mixed with Exotico blanco tequila, Gran Gala, lime, and agave, with a half-salted rim that will have you planning your next tropical vacation before you’re even finished.
A favorite among Simpson College students in Indianola, La Casa offers a wide range of options for margaritas. With over 15 flavors and combinations, La Casa is sure to please. You know they are a favorite when they have three different specials throughout the week. BOGO 16oz margs on Monday, and $2.99 16oz margs on Wednesday AND Thursday. Count us in.
Pair with: Fajita Caribe