photo credit: La Barca Cantina

La Barca Cantina boat  with people seated at wooden tables and views of the manhattan skyline in the background at sunset

La Barca Cantina


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La Barca Cantina is one of the more bizarre enterprises in NYC. A Mexican restaurant located on a huge boat that makes a few brief trips down the Hudson several times a day, this floating abnormality feels like it should be a silly tourist attraction—but we aren’t entirely sure if tourists even know it exists.

Docked at Pier 81 at 41st Street, the ship is oddly cavernous, with a spacious lounge on the bottom and an upper deck covered in tables. To get on board, you have to buy a ticket, and you’re allowed to hang out as long as you want as the ship sets sail for an hour or so, returns to dock, and continues this process throughout the night. Given the wealth of other things to do in NYC, we aren’t sure why you’d subject yourself to this—but we have to admit, La Barca is unique.

Three drinks lined up at the bar with multiple pieces of fruit in each glass

photo credit: La Barca Cantina

If you’re thinking about hopping aboard, here are a few things you should know: Tickets mostly cost between $10-$35 (food and beverages not included), the margaritas are undrinkable, and, once the boat leaves port, you’ll feel like you’re being held captive on an off-brand cruise ship that’s using a few calaveras and neon signs to unconvincingly masquerade as a cantina. To some, this place will be a nightmare. To others, it might be kinda fun.

As long as you know what you’re getting yourself into, you can have a good (or at least interesting) time aboard La Barca Cantina. Sure, the relatively decent tacos are definitely overpriced, but at the end of the day, there aren’t that many restaurants on boats. When you’re sitting on the top deck, watching the Upper West Side pass by, you’ll think, “What a strange and mildly pleasant turn of events." And once you return to dry land, it'll take you at least 10 minutes to decide that you never need to go on La Barca again.

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