James Beard award–winning chef Rick Bayless opened Frontera Grill in 1987 and quickly blew diners away. The bar program caught up to the food at a time when Cuervo Gold was en vogue. That program has been growing and expanding ever since, adding quality tequilas, mezcals and other agave-based spirits with about 100 currently in-house. Veteran mixologist Jay Schroeder came on board in 2013 and has added more layers of flavor with depth and complexity to the cocktail offerings, especially in the seasonal drinks. While cocktails are approachable, they offer a nice balance between headiness and refreshment with ingredients like roasted pineapple, ginger, mole bitters, lime, cucumber and achiote.
THE DRINK TO DRINK:
Margaritas reign supreme here, with a list of six variations—all using fresh, seasonal ingredients. But it’s the Tequila Old Fashioned that demands to be noticed.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:
Have patience: Frontera takes a limited number of reservations, so you'll get to know the bar staff well. If you can grab bar seats, the full menu is available.