10 Great Margaritas In NYC

Get a margarita with wasabi, basil, or enchilada seasoning.
10 Great Margaritas In NYC image

photo credit: David A. Lee

We’ve taken on the grueling task of drinking countless margaritas for the sake of research. What a drag. After months of discerning between this giant chalice of tequila slushie and that shaken mezcalarita, we decided we’re not traditionalists. Salted rims are appreciated but not required. And experimental flavors like wasabi and mushroom are fair game. Plus, it doesn’t hurt if the cocktail is served in an environment that actually makes us want to drink margaritas with our friends. After all, margaritas are the ultimate social cocktail—and these are 10 of our favorites in NYC.



East Village

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At Superbueno, a cheery Mexican-American cocktail bar in the East Village, you can get something called a Mushroom Margarita. Served over one big cube, the cocktail is made with huitlacoche-infused mezcal, which turns the beverage a murky shade of grayish brown. It isn’t the most appetizing color (similar to gruel or industrial waste)—but don’t let that scare you. The mushroom element is surprisingly subtle. All you get is a little earthy flavor on the back end, with plenty of tart lime juice and a lava salt rim that perfectly complements the huitlacoche.

Much like your choice of pet and feelings about paper straws, your margarita order says a lot about your personality. So you might feel a bit overwhelmed when presented with all 20+ different margarita offerings at Calabrije’s in Bushwick. Take it as a fun opportunity to express yourself. Grab a seat at the brightly colored bar, and order a delicious margarita with fresh lime and agave, served either on the rocks or frozen. Our top pick is the jalapeño-tamarind margarita, with its perfect balance of tang and spice.

This all-day Mexican restaurant isn’t just for consultants consulting each other over a late lunch—it’s for anyone who wants to drink a luxurious margarita between the hours of noon and 11pm. Don’t believe us? Snag a seat at the walk-in-only bar during the day in your gym clothes and order the “Royale.” This excellent margarita mixes top-shelf tequila with a tinge of vanilla bean, fresh lime, and French liqueur to create a creamy, citrusy cocktail drinking experience. It’s nearly impossible to just order one, so we recommend pairing yours with a bowl of chicken soup to coat your stomach.

The margaritas at this East Village Tex-Mex spot are of the standard chuggable variety. They’re great—but they don’t taste all that different from the ones you’d get at any decent cocktail bar. So why are they on this list? Because, in a brilliant move that deserves international recognition, Yellow Rose rims their margaritas with enchilada seasoning (with some MSG thrown in). As you lick the side of your glass like a dog trying to get peanut butter out of a toy, you’ll taste onion, garlic, and guajillo chili. Yellow Rose does tequila, mezcal, and frozen margaritas, all of which are intelligent choices, so just follow your heart.

If you’re a margarita purist, you might take issue with this wasabi margarita from an undeniably cool Japanese restaurant in Chinatown. But once you taste it, you’ll understand why it belongs on our list. This adventurous spin on a spicy margarita has a subtle blend of tequila, triple sec, lime, and a dollop of wasabi all served on the rocks. The unexpected combination of sweet and sour balanced by the intensely spicy wasabi is not for the faint of heart. But shockingly, it won’t invade your nasal passages and make you tear up either. It’s mostly a smooth roller coaster of flavor that heats up at certain moments and cools down at others.

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Come to this Flatiron Mexican restaurant any day of the week and you’ll find it full of friends and coworkers eating spring pea guacamole, going to town on some of the best fish tacos in the city, and drinking basil jalapeño margaritas like there’s no tomorrow. This cocktail tastes like a simple spicy margarita with an herbaceous kick from the basil. But all of the ingredients taste extremely fresh like they’ve just been plucked from the Union Square Greenmarket. Plus, there’s basil salt on the rim for an added boost of freshness.

“Deliciousness” is one of the key ingredients in Leyenda’s margarita, and while that might not mean much to your taste buds, we’re sharing it to let you know that this Carroll Gardens spot doesn’t take itself too seriously. That said, the cocktails here are some of the best in Brooklyn, and going out of your way to drink on their back patio is always a good idea. Leyenda’s perfectly simple classic margaritas can be ordered as a single serving or batched for up to eight servings because they already know you’ll want more than one.

The whole operation at Los Mariscos is convenient, efficient, and reasonably priced. And it’s easily our favorite place to hang out around Chelsea Market. Inside, you’ll find a few picnic tables, an open kitchen, some fluorescent Christmas lights, and a small bar where you can pick up your margarita. We like to order the mezcal one as a smoky-sweet reprieve from all of the chaos going on around us. Pair it with some fish tacos and ceviche while you watch soccer on the TV behind the counter.

Typically, margaritas are made with tequila, lime, and some kind of triple sec (Cointreau if you’re feeling fancy). 320 Club does a Tommy’s Margarita, a variation that swaps agave for triple sec, resulting in a simpler drink that isn’t aggressively sweet. However, quite a few bars serve Tommy's Margaritas these days. What really sets this place apart is the fact that the bartenders here juice every lime to order. That’s impressive, and it’s probably pretty annoying for the bartenders. We appreciate their sacrifice. The margaritas at this ‘70s-themed Williamsburg speakeasy are the freshest around.

If you live in Forest Hills or plan on seeing a few shows at the nearby stadium soon, this Mexican restaurant should already be on your radar. 5 Burro Cafe on Austin Street tends to stay busy, and that’s mostly because it’s a fun place to have a frozen margarita with a friend or two. From passionfruit to watermelon, and all of the classic flavors in between, it’s hard to go wrong with a tequila-based cocktail served in a glass jar at this Queens spot.

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