A Magical Margarita Tour of New York

If red wine is the Meryl Streep of the drink list, then consider the Margarita your very own Tara Reid special. Do margaritas even get served at full price? If a happy hour doesn’t include margaritas, then did it even happen? So many questions to ponder and so little time before your Cinco de Mayo bar crawl goes into full swing.

I like to group Cinco de Mayo and St. Patrick’s Day together in that group of holidays that celebrate a historically significant event that no one really knows much about and instead decides to get really drunk and wear fake facial hair instead. On both counts. While it doesn’t take a holiday to get me to salt my glass, if you’re going to partake in the adrenaline sugar bomb that is a margarita, you might as well do it right. So without further ado, here are some margs worth tracking down today.

El Sombrero

Brooklynites may get their styrofoam-booze fix at the Turkey’s Nest, but in the city, New Yorkers have long relied upon El Sombrero to get them drunk on the go. As my fellow broke-ass,  Ashley F put it:

“Drinking on the street is one of the few areas in which I truly excel, and for years El Sombrero provided me with the tools I needed to be a winner.  A to-go cup margarita and a bench in Sara Roosevelt Park make for a delightfully budget-friendly happy hour. I don’t know if they do the to go cups anymore, but you can still get drunk for cheap inside and cushion the blow with a giant plate of tacos.”

Diablo Royale

True, this bar is located in the direct puking zone of many a NYU student in the West Village, but it also happens to be a fairly classy joint with good food from what I can remember. Known for its inventive combo, “the Ricky”, which combines half a frozen margarita with half a beer, I have to give it up for Diablo Royale for this winning drink combination. While “the Ricky” sounds better than “the Rufie”, it has about the same effect after you put down a couple of these beyond smooth concoctions. Or you could do what I did and start calling it crack beer and laugh at your own amazing wittiness. Or not. I highly recommend going on a hot sunny day or night , especially with their open air set-up and the front doors opening up onto the street for perfect people watching.

Barrio Chino

Like they say with all liquor, start with the good stuff and work your way down, and don’t worry, my last selection is at the very bottom. This place had the best margaritas I’ve ever tasted hands down. And their mole sauce aint too shabby either. It’s a small space and always packed, but it’s got a great energy and killer cocktails. My personal favorite is the jalapeno grapefruit margaritas, but their classic is just as good. This isn’t your pre-mixed served in a giant fishbowl style of margarita but rather what my mother would call, “an adult drink”.  It’s the perfect start to a rather messy ending.

Dallas BBQ

This was a tough decision. Even with the price of a pizza slice going up in the New York, the rate of frozen margaritas always seems to stay the same: somewhere between $3 and no dignity. The contenders were: Benny’s Burritos, Blockheads (is Caliente Cab still around?) and our winner, Dallas BBQ. Say what you will about Dallas BBQ, but they’ve been getting underage students and poor broke-asses like myself drunk for years now. Not only are their margaritas cheap, but they’re also obscenely large. Like your holding a giant’s cup or something and your hand appears small and carny-like in comparison. And if you just so happen to feel that your triple sec to tequila quotient is not enough, you can always order extra $1 shots and lace yourself in the process. Feel free to pair your drinks with a nice order of “Henny© Wings” and you’ll feel right as rain.

Photo Credits: New York City Metblogs, Grub Street, 89th & Broke, NY Mag, iFood.TV

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About the author

Laura S - Spendthrift Scribe

Laura S, left the "sixth borough" three years ago to settle in Brooklyn. After working at some daily rags, she now does writing on the side but still eats more Ramen then necessary. When she's not moving residences every 6 months, eating her way through every neighborhood, and trying every microbrew known to man, she is unsuccessfully rediscovering home economics. With her binging days behind her, she's now exploring new projects and rediscovering the city that she loves (although is still prone to sliding on her knees during a Prince karaoke set).
  • http://www.dallasbbq.com Stuart W

    Nice Dallas BBQ mention. Keep it real and come check out our “Bulldog” if you like the whole half beer margarita thing. And if you want to get particularly weird on a given night, come in for the new “Pitbull” a 20 oz frozen Redbull and Vodka served with an upside-down mini Heineken bottle and a shot of Absolut Citron in a test tube- we went there.