5929 Geary Boulevard, San Francisco
An institution - by which we do not mean a prison or a home for the mentally unwell, although drink enough tequila and you might find yourself in either. This is the home of Julio Bermejo, a tequila ambassador for the Mexican National Chamber of the Tequila Industry and owner of one of the best tequila bars in the world. Julio created the Tommy's Margarita - not only a tasty twist on an enduring cocktail but a contemporary classic in its own right. Safe to say, then, that Bermejo is a bit of a tequila legend.
Tommy's is a Mexican restaurant at heart, but his tequila knowledge is revered and his venue has become a temple for tequila aficionados. Opened by Bermejo's parents, Tommy and Elmy, in 1965, very little seems to have changed in the look and feel of the place since this early dawn of San Francisco tequila appreciation.
The red vinyl seating and wooden tables have not been painstakingly sourced in some fit of vintage vanity, but are authentic relics and these touches help Tommy's unpretentious charm.
In 1988 Bermejo started a tequila club and this still attracts members today. Customers work their way through the tequila selection, taking a test to earn the title of 'master'. They can then progress to a PhD before being designated a demi-god of tequila. The club has thousands of followers around the world and remains a true testament to the members' tequila passion.