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.
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.
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.
Images: Shutterstock; One Hungry Jew (3)