The Best Micheladas In LA
Yeah, yeah, LA has a lot of Mexican restaurants. People in Iowa know that. But that also means LA has a lot of micheladas. These savory-spicy beer cocktails are never too far away from a taquería or a mariscos platter. For those who’ve never tried the Bloody Mary’s carbonated cousin (sad), this Mexican beverage traditionally includes one part Clamato juice, one part beer, and one part every salty condiment in the pantry. Not only will it kick your sweat glands into overdrive after a big night out, but it’s incredibly refreshing. Ratios and garnishes might vary from miche to miche, but if you're looking for the best overall versions in LA, you've come to the right corner of the internet.
Za Za Zá is a casual, daytime-only mariscos window attached to Loreto in Frogtown. It's the kind of incredible place that puts ceviche on tostilocos and serves micheladas colder than a popsicle stuck to the back of your freezer—all on an outdoor patio. Their straightforward miches are proof that you don't need to dump half a bottle of chamoy to make the drink special. In their michelada, heat quickly dissipates, briny Clamato finds its way through light Pacfico beer, and salt that acts as the conductor of the whole train. That, plus the pleasure of eating a tostada under one of Za Za Za’s frilly umbrellas, makes this patio one of our favorite places to eat mariscos in LA.
Sometimes we want to sit alone at a bar with a drink in hand and be left alone with our thoughts, like Bill Murray in Lost In Translation if Scarjo never showed up. That sounds kind of dark, but not when you do it at Silver Lake's Ceviche Project. Here you're listening to a thrumming Latin playlist, eating sea bass tostadas, and watching chef Octavio (a legend who wears a white suit) make you a michelada. Of course, the showmanship is a nice touch, but so is the tongue-zapping salty mix that flavors your drink. There's a deep meatiness to it from Maggi seasoning, which makes the Clamato's tartness pop and the crisp Tecate shoot a shiver down your spine. Bill Murray's character could use one.
La Chuperia has three locations across town and makes monster truck-sized micheladas. Our go-to is the Chuper Michelada, which comes in a goblet dripping with chamoy. That's as sweet as things get, though, because the cocktail itself tastes fresh and tomato-y, like a V8 wandered into a bar. We should also mention that the beer isn't poured into the drink but rather the bottle is dunked upside down into your glass, where it sits submerged like a capsized vessel. Each one costs $17. Consider this a mini-meal featuring peeled shrimp, some cucumber slices, and a spicy tamarind stick.
For a decade, this Highland Park truck has been parked at the same quiet public park, making it a perfect spot to grab mariscos to go or stick around for a long lunch when you want to play hooky. A lot of the flavors in El Faro's michelada remind us of the tangy salsa roja found on the truck's signature aguachile, which has a refreshing tomato-heavy, clam broth base we're really into. These miches are never too salty or spicy because they're definitely more "chela" than mix. That's fine with us, especially on an afternoon at the park—errr, we mean lunch break.
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This Santa Monica spot makes an excellent margarita, but their Happy Hour is also the ideal occasion for letting loose with a glass of spiked tomato juice. Mercado's micheladas come with a dark, slightly brown mix loaded with soy sauce (and potentially other covert condiments like Maggi and Tabasco. There's a meaty, vinegary thing going on). At first, it's intense and the fuzz on your earlobes will stand up, but it goes down smooth with an ice-cold Modelo mixed in.
Angel City Brewery is a great spot to play a few matches of cornhole and order a craft beer you've never heard of before. But skim through the menu's funny-sounding beers (i.e., the Zero Flocs Given) and you'll see a "srirachalada" that's light, tangy, and slightly spicier than you'd expect. The brewery makes its own miche concentrate with lime juice, spicy pickled chiles, and a dose of Worcestershire sauce to flavor the beer. It's essentially a cold pint of ale infused with a smidge of sriracha and it's absolutely delicious, with enough chile to tingle your lips.
Miches de la Baja reminds us of some early 2000s beach bar in Huntington Beach that sells brick-sized burritos and plays surf rock on repeat. While this Torrance spot does, in fact, serve large burritos, we prefer their micheladas. You can go either sweet or savory here. The salty michelada is heavier on the beer than the Clamato, and has a thick chamoy and tajin rim. And then there are the sweet cocktails, like the Chamoy Piña with a spicy, syrup-coated pineapple wedge and a tamarind candy stick that doubles as your straw. Their peppery miche mix has some heat and pairs great with the cucumber and pickle "toppings" (they're full-on snacks).
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Guerilla Tacos in the Arts District is known for creative tacos that incorporate things like pork belly in Oaxacan mole and sweet potato with feta cheese. However, their house michelada comes with some delicious twists, too. The roja michelada here has hints of soy sauce, lime juice, and roasted red chiles that bring a little smoke to the mix. And the rogue addition of olive brine sounds like a salt bomb but cuts through the tomato juice and helps the flavor of the beer pop.