A few years ago I was in Edmonton, Alberta taking time off from giving private tours in the MINI to be a part of the biggest and oldest Fringe Theater festival in North America. I, or rather my alter ego, Sebastian Boswell III, was invited north to perform. Sebastian is a master of “mental mysteries and physical wonders” such as mind reading hammering a 4-inch nail in his nose. Yes, really.
One night after the show, Mrs. Boswell and I found the El Cortez, which boast an extensive tequila menu, and variations on margaritas, that, frankly, took liberties with the purity of a margarita and featured concoctions that were more at home in a Tiki bar than a Mexican restaurant. In their heart they do know and appreciate tequila, and it was proved by the Tommy’s Margarita on the menu, named in honor of Tommy’s Mexican, home of the best margarita’s on Earth.
Tommy’s Mexican out at 24th/Geary is one of those off the beaten path places that you’ll love, and be able to boast about visiting when you get back home.
While the restaurant is good, the real draw is the small bar serving up 100’s of different tequila. I wish I could say I appreciated them, but I don’t. I look upon the shelves packed with bottles and brands most people, especially me, have never heard of, and realize it is my shortcoming that I lack the curiosity to explore. I have the same attitude toward beer. I’m know there are delights and subtle wonders to discover, but I’ll never know. It is my narrow devotion that wine is the alcohol I appreciate and am attempting to gain knowledge of. I can hear you say “Why does it have to be one or the other?” It doesn’t. It’s not you tequila, it’s me. So I don’t stray from what I like which are the house margaritas. I could be more adventurous, but I am happy with their perfection, made with quality tequila and fresh limes–no premixed stuff.
For those who want to explore, Julio, the son of the owner and genius behind the bar, literally, will gladly walk you through the many brands and their subtle distinctions. If you are truly devoted, he offers a Master’s Degree in Tequila.
The restaurant is big, but the bar is small, because its original inception in the 1960’s was a comfortable holding place while waiting for dinner. Get there early if you want to be sure you get a seat. Neighborhood regulars, and people who come to San Francisco regularly and make it point to trek out to the Richmond district and will settle into stool for a good chunk of the evening, even though food is not served at the bar after an early hour. But even if you don’t get a seat the atmosphere is friendly and you won’t mind standing.
Julio, (pictured) is the mastermind behind creating “The Greatest Tequila Bar on Earth.” He has been featured in numerous magazines and television show. If Julio is there when you are, he will treat you like a friend and long time regular.
It’s out in the little-visted Richmond district (out in the Avenues, as we say), but easy access from down town on the 38 Geary bus. And you’ll want to take public transportation, because you should never drive in San Francisco anyway, but especially after enjoying the best margaritas you’ll ever have. Of course I can drop you off there after your private tour, but I won’t be drinking, at least until I get the MINI back safely in the garage.