The 5 Strongest Margaritas In NYC

Cinco de Mayo is on Saturday, and even though going to a Mexican restaurant on May 5th is social suicide (ie: waiting 2 hours to get 1 drink), it’s hard to resist the unique pull of a good margarita. And by “good” I mean “strong” because that’s what’s really important to me in life. I did the arduous labor of taste testing the strongest margs that NYC has to offer, and I was not sober disappointed. Whether you’re going on Cinco de Mayo or just any other one of the 364 days out of the year, if you’re looking for the strongest margaritas in NYC, look no further than these 5 spots.

1. Empellon Al Pastor

This bar will supply you with more tequila than you know what to do with, plus an entire Michelada and margarita menu. Inside you’re surrounded by floor-to-ceiling graffiti and bathrooms that are big enough for two. Pair your blood orange margarita with some of the best cheap tacos in NYC prepared by a James Beard award winning chef at a price way less than his other spots. It’s $5-8 for tacos with lamb shoulder, beer braised pork, and a personal classy favorite, the cheeseburger taco.

Empellon Al Pastor

2. El Rio Grande

This place might as well be renamed “blackout city” because of the strength of the margaritas. This is where all the Murray Hill bros go to race to the bottom of a tequila bottle. You aren’t here for the food, you’ve come to nab yourself a former frat guy/sorority gal and a margarita. Try not to fall off the patio because you’re so drunk, you certainly wouldn’t be the first.

3. Salvation Taco

Tequila with a view? We got you. The rooftop of the Pod 39 hotel is like a booze-fueled adult playground with city views, good music, and upscale Mexican street food. It’s not the cheapest Mexican food in America. However, you’ll have just enough margaritas (aka liquid courage) in you that you can likely convince a handsome would-be suitor to pay for it instead of you. Grab a $70 salvation margarita pitcher with guajillo chili salt and day drink way up high without the judgment.

Salvation Taco

4. La Esquina Brasserie

Trying to impress your friends with how cool you are? Work your way into the underground La Esquina, and bring a date, because you’ll definitely get laid due to cool points. Once you get passed the doorman your night will be sexy, dark, vibey and tequila-y. Check out the barrio fuego margarita made with habanero tequila and pair it with a menu of tostadas, tacos, and ceviches that are so good you don’t even need to be buzzed to enjoy them.

5. Tacombi Bleecker

You can drink Mexico into a tequila shortage here and also get some extremely decent food at a super reasonable price. The staff never seems to stop moving, performing a relentless margarita-slinging dance. You actually feel like you’re in Mexico with the breeze from floor-to-ceiling open windows, string lights, and bright paint. They have 10 varieties of tacos here, including baja crispy fish with roasted poblano mayo, which is extra photogenic for all you Instagram models. Great spot for a group and to meet other young, hot, agave loving people such as yourself.

Tacombi Bleecker

Images: Shutterstock; One Hungry Jew (3)

Day Drinking Margaritas Can Give You A Rash, Because We Can’t Have Nice Things

Unless you didn’t get on Instagram yesterday, you may have noticed that we had a casual blizzard in NYC. In MARCH. Because the streets are literal sabotage this morning, and not because I spent yesterday’s snow day pounding red wine and binge-watching Riverdale, I fell multiple times on my commute this morning. After busting my ass three times on the sidewalk it’s safe to say I’m so fucking over winter and am already counting down the days until I can live my best life summer. I mean, is there anything better than blacking out on a beach with a marg in your hand? Oh wait. We can’t do that either because science just proved that margaritas can give you a skin rash. *Prays this is an alternative fact*

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We’re feeling personally victimized by the American Academy of Dermatology rn because they just announced that margaritas, aka our summer beverage of choice, are apparently causing skin rashes. This is not a drill, people, this is the real deal and it’s already fucking up v important aspects of my life. Like brunch and that adult spring break I’m planning instead of answering emails at work. 

Nervous Breakdown

In a public service announcement the AAD warned people against phytophotodermatitis, a kind of skin irritation that results from a combination of citrus fruits and sun exposure. So basically if you’re drinking anything super citrus-y in the sun (i.e. mimosas, margaritas, anything that brings you joy, etc.) you could break out in a rash.

Hold up, what? No, no, no, no. First, 2017 gives us a giant Cheeto for a president—which should be punishment enough—but then Brad Pitt goes and sends Jennifer Aniston a “u up?” text and I’m just like, okay, that’s fucking enough. But now 2017 wants to take away our only coping mechanism to get us through this shitstorm of a year? Just fuck me up right now then.


To be clear, the skin irritation and resulting hyperpigmentation (aka dark spots—as if this couldn’t get any fucking worse) isn’t from sipping. THANK GOD. It’s only a problem when the citrus juice gets spilled directly on your skin and then activated by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. So basically, don’t be like my sloppy friend Amy and spill your shit everywhere and you’ll probs be fine. Side note: I am our sloppy friend, Amy.

So don’t you dare let anyone use this announcement to try and take your will to live summer beverage away from you. As a preventative measure you should avoid directly handling lemons or lime—WAIT, does this mean tequila shots are off the table too?? It’s like someone read my diary and all my deepest, darkest fears. Well played, 2017, well played. If you’re like me and don’t listen to medical professionals refuse to give up on something that brings you joy, The American Academy of Dermatology recommends washing your hands thoroughly after touching citrus. If you don’t want to do that/are too lazy to go to the bathroom in between tequila shots, the organization did not come out and outright say to designate the ugliest person in your group as the citrus handler, but they basically implied as much. #Loophole

And if you do happen to notice a rash coming on, you’ll need to apply a neutral healing ointment or a hydrocortisone cream. You’ll also want to slather more sunscreen on your body than my pale AF friend Tina does when we go to the beach, as the rash is typically followed by post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Side note: I am also our pale friend Tina.

Kill Me

Great. If you need me, I’ll just be internally screaming at my desk contemplating my will to live processing all this information. 

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A Thank You Letter To My Friend Who Is Always Down to Drink

To my friend and the glass of alcohol she’s holding at all times,

A lot of our friends are happy to drink when it’s “socially appropriate” aka at a Saturday night pregame or Sunday afternoon brunch, depending on who you ask. It’s kind of a given that both of us will already be wasted by the time we show up to those events, but we can def appreciate the effort that they’re putting in (and be envious that they’re drunk after just 7 or 8 shots).

You, on the other hand, are a drinker of a totally different breed, meaning you’ll gladly order a cocktail anytime and anywhere. When the waiter accidentally includes the drink menu at a Wednesday morning breakfast, you’ll be the first to say “Actually you can leave it, we’ll take a look.” You’ll suggest pregaming innocent events like apple picking, and you’ve never not ordered a pitcher of margarita when that’s an available quantity.

You’re always down, which means we can avoid the “should we or shouldn’t we” dance that occurs with others. I only have to sit through 10 seconds of, “A glass of wine sounds nice but I don’t really need it. Are you having one? Maybe I could. Actually, I’m all set” to have me both extremely shook and appreciative of your existence. With you it’s never a question of if we’re drinking, but of how much and which kind of vodka we want, and I’m so grateful for that.

So thanks for being so reliably thirsty, and enabling my own clear alcoholism desire to turn up at all times. My liver hates you, but my heart will always love you. Actually my heart is currently palpitating, but you’re still really, really fun.

The Betches