Classic Bar: Tia Margarita

San Francisco doesn't make enough bars like this

The horseshoe-shaped bar at Tia Margarita has everything you don't see in San Francisco's hottest clubs (cue Stefon voice): kids, sixty-year-old waiters, and middle-aged women doing interpretive dance moves over their second margaritas.

Fifty years into its run, this Richmond restaurant is a place where the bartenders never stop moving, doling out bowls of warm chips and handshakes as if the supply is bottomless. "We are often referred to as 'the Mexican Cheers,'" says manager Jennifer Corwin, granddaughter of Tia Margarita's founders.

In the surrounding booths you'll spot platters the size of body pillows smothered in Mexican-American food of the last generation; think multiple layers of cheese.

So easy to drink.

A few gargantuan enchiladas might sound like a welcome idea after the first round of drinks. Everyone around you is set up with the restaurant's namesake cocktail ($11), served in those upside-down-sombrero glasses you associate with Chevy's.

No bottled mix here, though. There's a big glug of triple sec in the margaritas and a bigger glug of tequila, sharpened with freshly squeezed lime juice. (The bartenders will whiz them into a slushie if you request, but the margaritas are better on the rocks.)

They go down fast–fast enough that you may find yourself swapping choreography tips or shaking hands with the bartender, promising to return.