Salt or Sugar?: Memorable Margaritas in Long Beach

According to survey after survey, the margarita is the most popular cocktail in the world, and it’s not even close. This may surprise you since, well, the margarita is so popular, chances are you don’t think of it as a cocktail at all. It’s more of a mood, a vibe, a, well, margarita. In fact, the margarita is so comforting, so ubiquitous, the only questions you have to answer are: on the rocks or blended? Salt or sugar? Here’s a list of Long Beach locations whose traditions and innovations with the margarita may help you find the answers you seek.


While people can debate the merits of this margarita or that margarita, there seems little debate that this is one of the absolutely best places in Long Beach to enjoy drinking one. You know, if you’re into spectacular scenery. Fuego’s (700 Queensway Dr.) north-facing patio, located in the Hotel Maya, next to the Queen Mary, looks out over the harbor onto downtown Long Beach. It’s a unique view, morning or night, and one likely to be enhanced by one of Fuego’s margaritas, known for their balance of tequila, house-made sweet and sour, fresh lime juice and agave nectar.



When your restaurant is named after the very plant that gives birth to tequila–which, of course, gives birth to Margaritas–and then throw Tequila in there to drive the point home, well, that’s what’s known as commitment. Agaves (200 Pine Ave.) also seems committed to creating Margarita combinations not often seen. The Cucumber 15 has citrus, watermelon and cucumber, the Matador comes with pineapple, mint and jalapeno, while the Agaves Rita has strawberry, mango and jamaica.



Located on Rainbow Harbor, Tequila Jack’s (407 Shoreline Village Dr.) features a full menu of mouth-watering, traditional Mexican cooking as well as jaw-dropping views of the harbor and Long Beach skyline. Just as eye-catching are Tequila Jack’s margaritas, which seem to hold to the philosophy of “Go big or go BIG.” They come in 20-ounce schooners and range from the House Margarita on the Rocks to blended fruit margaritas featuring banana, strawberry, peach, mango, lemon-lime and watermelon.



Perhaps it’s stating the obvious, but chances are when you spied the title of this list, Lola’s (2030 Fourth St.; 4140 Atlantic Ave.) is where your mind went first. The margarita menu at one of Long Beach’s most loved restaurants is voluminous–nine distinct margaritas, at last count–and in constant evolution. Some are sweet, some spicy. Sure, the standard house version is popular, but so is the Spicy Watermelon, finished with jalapeňo watermelon puree. There are Blood Orange, Chile Mango and Pink Guava Margaritas along with the Tamarind Mezcal Margarita that comes complete with Tamarind and Angostura Bitters.

About the Author
Steve Lowery