This place saved me from a bad happy hour so it’s already a blessing in my book.
Tucked right in next to Dolores But You Can Call Me Lolita, So Cal Cantina might be a small corner of Brickell with a personality that deserves a whole neighborhood. It was the winner for best margarita by the Miami New Times in 2017 – if you’re into awards validating places.
The owner, Leo Holtzman (@cocktailconjuror), made my group a Gardiner’s Margarita and it’s definitely going to be the first thing I order the next time I go. I don’t even like cucumbers in my drink but the margarita was really fresh and fruity, without feeling like you’re drinking too much tequila. So be careful.
The Gardiner’s Margarita is a staple that’s been on the menu since SoCal was just a pop-up at what was once Rubi Lounge. Holtzman agreed to grow the beverage program with an acquaintance he had only met twice, but had an idea for a taco pop-up shop.
“After a two-hour call, I told him if he was interested, I’d quit my job and grow SoCal with him,” he said. “That night we met up and wrote up a menu and a plan and then it was on!”
Overall, SoCal Cantina was a refreshingly good time. The bartenders were incredibly nice, recommending menu items like choosing El Pacifico over a Corona beer. I also let him choose what taco to get and the SoCal taco is 10/10 worth it.
It’s a great place for a casual, fun time. Bring your friends, not really a place if you’re trying to be on an intimate date. It is so small but the vibe is incredibly exciting and easy to talk to everyone in the place – so only bring your date if you’re ready to be social with the person next to you. Additionally, it’s super small so don’t be surprised if you can’t find a seat.
Lucky for the rest of us, SoCal Cantina has plans to continue growing since the place fills up so quickly. For now though, go follow their Instagram and sign up to play video games on Monday nights.
Enjoy the $3 tacos, $4 beers, $6 margaritas while you’re at it.
1000 S Miami Ave, Miami, FL 33130