Traditionally made with one-part Clamato juice flavored with hot sauce, Maggi seasoning, soy sauce, or Worcestershire, and one-part beer poured over ice, micheladas are an intensely savory, somewhat spicy, and refreshing concoction that will simultaneously quench your thirst and have you breaking a healthy sweat over your morning eggs. Micheladas can also vary in their ratios of beer to Clamato, their ratio of salty vs. sweet, and come served with either a simple salt rim or a handful of salty snacks.
LA’s thriving Mexican community makes it one of the best cities in the country for sipping ice-cold micheladas, typically alongside something delicious that will power you through last night’s post-tequila headache or encourage you to make a day out of drinking and snacking. Here are the best spots for micheladas in Los Angeles.
Sometimes life has us feeling like Bill Murray in Lost In Translation: in the mood to sit alone at a bar, drink in hand, and be left with our thoughts before returning to our regularly scheduled programming. Silverlake’s Ceviche Project is just the place for those kinds of “me” days, where you can also sample some scallops on the half shell with fresh uni or maybe the tangy sea bass ceviche tostadas with pickled xni-pec salsa. And while you’re engaging in your seafood-fueled R&R, order one of their excellent micheladas. Ceviche Project’s rendition is wonderfully salty and tart from the Clamato juice and meaty Maggi seasoning. The mix is cut with cold Tecate over ice, but you can still taste every hint of spice and salt from the potent tomato elixir.
With three locations scattered across town, La Chuperia is known for making some of the spiciest, saltiest, and biggest micheladas in LA. Some of their drinks are borderline meals with various snacks dangling from the rim, like the massive Chuper Michelada. It comes in a goblet that’s dripping in chamoy syrup before it gets filled with smoky Clamato juice and your choice of beer. We should mention that the beer isn’t actually poured into the drink, but rather the bottle’s dunked upside down into your glass, where it sits submerged like a capsized vessel. You’ll also be able to snack on peeled shrimp, some cucumber slices, a spicy tamarind stick, and even lick the chamoy off the rim if you’re into that.
Friday nights at Xelas feel like coming across a neighborhood pachanga where there’s plenty of craft beer and–instead of your aunt hogging the aux cord (again)–a live DJ spinning reggaeton hits. This Boyle Heights bar also serves some delicious bar food, like cheesy quesadillas and cochinita pibil tacos with plenty of tart, pickled onions. Xelas’ michelada lives up to the bar’s name by being “chela-forward” (AKA more beer, less tomato). A pint of Mexican lager gets mixed with “I Love Michelada” mix to create a bubbly, smoky, and super citrusy cocktail. It’s simple, refreshing, and light enough to follow up with a few more rounds.
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. Burritos actually are on the menu here, but we prefer their crispy fish chicharrones with fries and tons of fresh parsley sprinkled on top. When it comes to their excellent micheladas, you can either go sweet or savory. The Torrance spot serves a beer-heavy, salty michelada with a thick chamoy and tajin rim that leaves us puckering with each sip. Their mix acts as a peppery base with some heat and pairs great with its cucumber and pickle toppings. Go for the sweeter side of things with the Chamoy Piña that includes a spicy, syrup-coated pineapple wedge and tamarind stick that can double as a straw too.
Sinaloa-style mariscos are a beautiful thing, with their love for salsa negra and some hot chilies that always have us sweating. This rings particularly true for the small but potent chiltepín pepper that Mariscos Choix uses in their table salsa and sprinkles on top of their delicious tostada de callo de hacha. The burn is low and slow but creeps up just in time to make you simultaneously shaky and craving more, but that’s where micheladas come to the rescue. The miches at this Downey restaurant are bright red from briny Clamato juice and fresh enough to cool you down after one too many servings of chiltepín. The cocktail’s strong vegetable flavor and subtle saltiness make a good base for other add-ons like cooked shrimp, celery stickers, and salted prunes too.
Aside from the extensive mezcal menu, the main reason we like Las Perlas is its dimly lit interior that’s perfect for hiding from people you don’t want to talk to. But once you’ve found your little corner to blend into, we strongly recommend ordering the fizzy Paloma or the Tecate and shot combo that’s great for sampling the bar’s impressive stock. Micheladas are also on the menu and come as an add-on to your choice of beer. This Downtown LA bar’s mix is on the spicier end of the miche spectrum, with plenty of vinegar-based hot sauce and Worcestershire. This cocktail packs the punch of a spicy sangrita shot, making it one of the smokier and more savory micheladas in LA.
This Beverly Grove spot ticks a lot of the necessary boxes when it comes to consistently good Mexican restaurants, such as a delicious margarita, tender carnitas, and velvety smooth mole. Their Happy Hour also happens to be the ideal setting for unwinding with a tall glass of spiked tomato juice. Mercado’s michelada comes with a dark, slightly brown mix loaded with salty flavor from soy sauce (or potentially other condiments like Maggi and tabasco). It’s intense, but goes down smooth with an ice-cold beer and its generously salted rim. We’re also fans of the tamarind stick as a nice touch that takes us back to our piñata party days.
We don’t head to Diablo in Silverlake for the tacos, but we do come here for comfort food that’s best shared with friends who are in equal need of a drink. You’ll find things like oven-baked carne asada nachos with copious amounts of melted cheese and cream or the equally decadent fried pork belly nachos that have a slight hint of sweetness from slices of plantain. The micheladas here have a certain tartness from all the fresh lime juice, but they feel well balanced with the briny Clamato. A more creative way to enjoy a michelada here is with their frozen Diablo pops, which are popsicles that you can dunk into your beer of choice - we especially like the tomato lime pop.
You’ll often hear people griping about how pricey Guerilla Tacos is, but that’s probably a sign that they haven’t tried the food here or simply don’t get what this Arts District spot is all about. This taquería reimagines tacos as vessels for other complex dishes, flavor combinations, and cultural mashups rather than just the more familiar versions we know and love. For example, we’re big fans of the tender duck carnitas taco with a sweet nectarine chutney and corn, and the Korean fried fish taco with a guajillo gochujang glaze that deserves a full-on legal patent. The roja michelada is also something special with its hints of soy sauce, lime juice, and roasted red chiles that bring a little smoke to the mix. We personally love the addition of olive brine that goes hand-in-hand with the Clamato’s clam broth and brings out the beer’s sour notes.
The beautifully chewy, golden brown flour tortillas at Sawtelle’s Sonoritas can ruin a lot of other tortillas for you. Once you’ve ordered a few more carne asada tacos than you probably should have, pair your meal with an ice-cold michelada that’s full of bright tomato-y flavor. Their miche mix has plenty of Clamato, but there’s still a salty kick from some Worcestershire and soy. We really like how Sonoritas’ micheladas can be light and refreshing enough to drink in gulps, but far more interesting than drinking a can of V8 on a flight. In other words, everything about this miche is balanced and great for cleansing your palate between taco #2 and #3.