Post Overview: Where to find the best margaritas in NYC
I can already hear the cries, “margaritas are the easiest drinks to make, they’re all the same” in the distance – but I strongly disagree. Margaritas are pieces of art made by craftspeople in a variety of colors, flavors and strengths.
Sure, margaritas are simple drinks but that doesn’t mean they’re all the same. And it sure as hell doesn’t mean they’re all the same price. That’s why I get so upset when I get served shoddy margaritas in NYC!
As a local who’s spent my 20’s in New York City I’ve enjoyed my fair share of tipsy nights on the town. From half-priced margs during happy hour to margaritas made with insects (read on to find out where) I’ve tried them all!
So in an effort to guide my friends (and that includes you) to the best margaritas NYC has to offer I’ve written this post. Let the damage I dealt my liver not be in vain! Use my “research” on your hunt for the best margaritas in NYC.
Are you ready to get into it? Because like Jimmy Buffet said, it’s five o’clock somewhere. Let’s dive in!
Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (The best neighborhoods for first timers +2 to avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
Best Margaritas NYC
#18. Fonda (Chelsea)
Fonda is the ideal spot in Chelsea for those who can’t get enough guacamole and tequila. This Mexican restaurant serves authentic dishes and one of the best margaritas in NYC.
I’m always torn when trying to decide when to visit because Fonda has one of the best happy hours in Chelsea as well as one of the best brunches!
Happy hour runs all day Monday, and Tuesday through Sunday from 4 to 6pm (at the bar only).
During this time appetizers go for $11 and drinks will range anywhere from $7-12. I always opt for the mango margarita while my husband tends to stay true to the classic.
The brunch special runs on the weekends only. But for less than $40 you get an entree and three brunch cocktails! One of the best margaritas in NYC is the hibiscus Rosalita — consider ordering it non-negotiable.
Further Reading: Exploring Chelsea and need more recommendations? Check out 12 Charming Bars in Chelsea New York City
Address: 189 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011
#17. El Coco (Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen & UWS)
El Coco is where you go when you want to party. The music enlivens the whole restaurant (although it can be a little loud) and it’s perfect for a rowdy group of friends. And they have three locations so finding one is a breeze.
The main attraction at El Coco are some of the most inexpensive margaritas in NYC. Sure, they’re made with cheap tequila but it’ll get you buzzed all the same.
I’m not kidding, El Coco offers margaritas in NYC at a can’t-miss price. The happy hour runs all day everyday and is headlined by $5 margaritas (you can enjoy three here for the price of one elsewhere).
El Coco is one of my go-to spots for dinner and drinks before going out for the night. The Big Apple is expensive so cutting a few corners and getting affordable Mexican food and margaritas in NYC is a deal too good to pass up!
Address: Multiple locations in New York City
#16. Mad Dog & Beans Mexican Cantina (FiDi & Midtown)
With two locations (Financial District & Midtown) Mad Dog & Beans Cantina offers a lively spot to enjoy some of the best margaritas in NYC. The joint is rarely empty but the staff always does a great job taking care of you.
At Mad Dog you can expect some of the freshest-tasting margaritas in NYC. You’ll have the choice of adding a flavor (and there’s plenty to choose from) like mango, coconut, pomegranate, guava, cucumber and more.
And if you’re really looking to party the restaurant has one of the largest margaritas in NYC, a margarita tower! With 100 ounces of the sweet, sweet nectar you’ll need to have a party of at least four to even have a crack at it.
It’s equal to about 10 drinks and flavors can be added too, just like with a regular margarita. It’s only available on the rocks (can you imagine having to blend 100 oz. of margarita?) and will leave you feeling warm & fuzzy inside.
Address: 5 E 38th St, New York, NY 10016
#15. San Loco (East Village & Lower East Side)
San Loco has two locations, but the East Village restaurant has a special place in my heart (the other is in the Lower East Side). Founded in 1986 by two brothers the restaurant has since switched ownership to a new family who continue serving tasty Mexican food and can’t miss margaritas in NYC.
The restaurant is laid-back, like the kind of place folks stop by on their lunch breaks. You have to order at the counter before sitting down (there’s no table service) but the food comes out quick and hot.
Of course you’re looking for the best margaritas in NYC and luckily San Loco offers a great value. The drinks are already affordable compared to other restaurants, and during happy hour even more so.
From Monday through Friday from noon to 6pm all margaritas are a generous $2 off. This might seem like small potatoes in rural America, but in New York City that’s a steal!
Address: 111 Loisaida Ave, New York, NY 10009
Further Reading: Exploring the East Village and need more suggestions? Check out 12 Epic Happy Hours in the East Village or if you find yourself wandering the LES check out 15 Boozy Bars in the Lower East Side.
#14. The Junction (Midtown East)
I have a hard time putting The Junction into a category, is it a pub? A sports bar? A cantina? Then I remember the drinks are served cold and strong and I think, who cares!
The first non-Mexican restaurant to crack the list of best margaritas in NYC, The Junction offers a steal of a deal. They have a generous happy hour (from 11AM to 7PM, daily) that has $4 off cocktails, including the margarita.
And the margarita comes out swinging, with the first sip you can’t help but relax your shoulders and crack a smile (do I sound like an alcoholic?). For an extra dollar you can make it a coconut margarita, which I always do.
And if you don’t get your fill during happy hour, come back for bottomless brunch. That’s right, you can keep knocking back the strong NYC margaritas for 90 minutes (with the additional purchase of a brunch plate) for only $25.
Address: 329 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016
#13. Calabrije’s (Brooklyn)
Calebrije’s sells some of the most popular margaritas in NYC. How can I tell? Well for starters from the second you arrive there’s usually a wait. Crowds of high-spirited folks swarm the two locations Calabrije’s boasts. One is in Manhattan and the other in Brooklyn.
It’s an easygoing restaurant that sells uncomplicated but flavor-loaded food. The menu is simple, revolving around a variety of tacos and nachos. And the drinks follow suit, there’s only margaritas!
Expect to find 21 flavor options, which allows visiting multiple times and trying something new every time. Not to mention you can combine flavors (you’ll be visiting for months). Calebrije’s offers one of the most customizable margaritas in NYC — not many places can say they do the same. Some of the most unique flavor options include lychee, kiwi, pink guava and tamarind.
Address: 234 Starr St, Brooklyn, NY 11237
#12. Añejo (Tribeca)
Shocker shocker, Añejo, a tequila bar, makes the list of the best margaritas in NYC, who would’ve guessed?
It’s a can’t miss spot if you wake up craving the best margaritas in NYC for brunch in Tribeca. For $55 the table gets 90 minutes of unlimited margaritas, bloody marys, sangrias or mimosas (but the whole table must participate).
And if you’re not a morning person that’s okay too because as one of the best bars in Tribeca the real party at Añejo starts when the sun goes down.
The Mexican restaurant has a handful of margarita options that will set the mood for a fun evening. Mix in some tasty Mexican food and lively music and you’re not going to want to leave!
If you can’t decide which margarita to order might I suggest a flight? Indeed, Anejo makes one of the few margarita flights in NYC, which comes with blanco, añejo, mezcal and jalapeño so you can really taste the nuances between the popular drink.
Address: 301 Church St, New York, NY 10013
#11. Playa Betty’s (Upper West Side)
Located on a prime corner spot in the Upper West Side (UWS), Playa Betty’s serves one of the best happy hour margaritas in NYC.
The California-style Mexican restaurant is lively, bright and beachy. And what better way to celebrate being in a tropical setting than with a margarita in hand?
If I’m being completely honest the food isn’t anything to write home about. I’ve visited a handful of times and it’s always hit or miss. If you’re looking for a suggestion, I really enjoyed the chips with guacamole and the quesabirria tacos.
The reason I keep coming back to Playa Betty’s is simply to get the best bang for my buck during happy hour. Margaritas will run you less than $10, they may not be the tastiest but they sure pack a punch. After about two drinks all my worries magically start disappearing! 😉
So if you’re looking for one of the best margaritas in NYC to save some coin, head over to Playa Betty’s during happy hour (Wednesday-Monday 4 to 7pm). Ordering the spicy marg is a must.
Address: 320 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10023
Further Reading: Exploring the UWS and need suggestions? Check out 12+ Wonderful Upper West Side Bars.
#10. Calexico (Multiple Locations)
Calexico brings small town Mexican cuisine to the Big Apple accompanied by friendly service and some of the best margaritas in NYC.
The restaurant started as a food cart in SoHo in 2006, but has since upgraded to brick & mortar locations in the Upper East Side, Park Slope, Greenpoint and Red Hook. Every location shares a rustic, border town charm that feels just as warm as you will after a couple margaritas.
Speaking of which, the margaritas taste fresh and strong. I’d venture to say that Calexico makes the best frozen strawberry margaritas in NYC (perfect for a summer day). I don’t know if they make or buy the strawberry puree, but whatever it is it’s working and presses all the right buttons.
Calexico is one of the best restaurants to enjoy margaritas in NYC when you’re bringing a friend. This is thanks to a buy one get one free deal that’s too good to pass up.
Address: Multiple locations in New York City
#9. Jajaja (Multiple Locations)
Allow me a second to be fully transparent (and forgive me). For years I denied vegan food the love it deserved. I was convinced that meat alternatives were just that a meal couldn’t be the same if it lacked meat or dairy.
That all changed the first time I visited Jajaja Mexicana. As one of the best vegan restaurants in the Lower East Side every bite sends your taste buds on a roller coaster of flavor and adventure.
And don’t even begin to think the menu is a small one, no no honey. Jajaja Mexicana offers the vast majority of your Mexican food favorites like burritos, enchiladas and tamales. Secretly they also serve one of the best margaritas in NYC!
Like most other Mexican restaurants you’ll find an assortment of Mexican beer and cocktails. But tequila is the name of the game at Jajaja. And the frozen agave margarita with the swirl of mango habanero is drool-worthy.
Address: Multiple Locations in New York City
#8. Street Taco (Upper West Side & Midtown East)
Margarita Monday just got a lot more interesting when Street Taco joined the party. Hosting a “mix’n’match” Monday, Street Taco offers one of the best margarita flights in NYC.
Folks can pick any three margaritas from the draft or frozen menu for $15. Aside from the classic margarita, flavors like watermelon, blood orange and passionfruit jalapeño steal the show and keep you coming back for more.
Street Taco is a great place to swing by for groups. With plenty of shareable dishes and some of the best margaritas in NYC, it’s easy to lose track of time. Standouts are the Yuca fries and nachos, oh and the churro donuts for dessert!
Address: Upper West Side 2672 Broadway, New York, NY 10025 | Gramercy 358 3rd Ave. New York, NY 10016
#7. The Ragtrader (Midtown)
The Ragtrader is the perfect blend of the past mixed with the modern-ness of the present. What was once an old garment factory now acts as a restaurant & cocktail bar serving one of the best margaritas in NYC.
The food is classic, yet elegant and the atmosphere is quirky yet sophisticated. The menu is made to fit any palate. Expect to find everything from pizzas and pastas to calamari and salmon poke at this establishment.
I highly recommend ordering the El Guapo, it’s one of the freshest margaritas in NYC. Made with Milagro Tequila Silver, Fresh Cucumber, Lime, Agave and Chili — the quality is hard to beat and it packs a punch.
“Honoring those who stitched together the fabric of yesteryear, The Ragtrader harkens back to the nostalgia of a forgotten time—when things were created by hand, and craftsmanship mattered. A time when neighbors gathered to share their stories over good food and even better drinks.”Ragtrader NYC
Address: 70 W 36th St. #1B, New York, NY 10018
#6. The Black Ant (East Village)
The Black Ant has been featured on everything from The Wall Street Journal to Jimmy Kimmel Live thanks to an affinity for using insects in their food. Yes, you read that correctly.
It’s definitely an ice breaker to have ants in your salt or grasshoppers on your croquettes. Trying the unique dishes requires some courage, which I always take in the liquid form of the best margaritas in NYC.
There’s only a few to choose from (classic, tamarind, cucumber, mango) so there’s no need to stress about which one to order. However, if you want some added protein you can order the smoky jalapeno margarita with a black ant salt rim. 😉
My favorite time to visit is for happy hour. Available Tuesday through Sunday (the only days they’re open) from 4-7PM you can enjoy these unique margaritas in NYC for a fraction of the price!
Address: 60 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003
#5. Cowgirl (West Village)
Quick and (slightly) embarrassing storytime: I once visited Cowgirl and was thoroughly engulfed by the decor. It actually felt like I was in a small Texas town somewhere off the highway.
Anyways – I was knocking frozen margaritas back like I was an 8 year old crushing juice boxes and may have had one too many. I was completely immersed in the cowgirl aesthetic that when I finally went to leave I stumbled outside and suffered a full two-second panic because I forgot I was in New York!
The food at Cowgirl is solid, but the main reason I keep coming back is for the vibe and some of the best frozen margaritas in NYC. It’s my comfort-spot in the West Village, unpretentious and fun!
It’s impressive that the local haunt has remained strong since opening in the 1980’s! Especially when you consider they make some of the most affordably priced margaritas in NYC (especially for the neighborhood).
The margaritas come in a variety of flavors, but the Cowgirl makes one of my favorite lime margaritas in NYC. The blood orange is a close second, but after a few the flavors all start blurring together!
Address: 519 Hudson St, New York, NY 10014
Further Reading: Exploring the West Village and need suggestions? Check out 15 Boozy Bars in Greenwich Village.
#4. El Camion Cantina (East Village)
If you’re looking for an underrated joint where you won’t have to wait long for the best margaritas in NYC I suggest swinging by El Camion Cantina.
Let me be the first to say the drinks are strong, and if you’re not careful they will sneak up on you (I speak from experience!). It’s not my fault though – they’re so tasty I finished my first one before the food came out.
There’s a variety of options that all taste fresh and are (extremely) tempting. Not only are they infused with fruity flavors, but you’ll find liquor replacements (mezcal or brandy instead of tequila) and spicy margaritas.
Address: 194 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009
#3. Toloache (Upper East Side & Midtown)
Somewhere between an upscale and casual neighborhood restaurant Toloache is an easy spot to fit into any itinerary. There are two locations (Midtown and Upper East Side) that both have authentically charming Mexican decorations.
My favorite item on the menu is one of the best pineapple mezcal margaritas in NYC. The pineapple makes it sweet and fruity, and the mezcal adds a smoky texture that’s immensely satisfying.
But the options don’t stop there, there are fruity flavors and a house-cocktails. Take the namesake Toloache which is made with hibiscus, blueberries and lime that showcases the ingenuity of the restaurant.
Besides some of the best margaritas in NYC Toloache also makes elevated Mexican cuisine. Tacos and enchiladas are staples, but no matter what you do you can’t leave without trying the queso fundido which is like a Mexican fondue.
Address: 66 E 82nd St #2b, New York, NY 10028
Further Reading: Exploring the UES and need suggestions? Check out 15 Epic Bars in the Upper East Side.
#2. Barrio Chino (Lower East Side)
If tequila is your second language I suggest you check out Barrio Chino for one of the best margaritas in NYC. The low-key, cozy Mexican restaurant is unassuming and feels like a hidden gem.
Some standout flavors for the margaritas are hibiscus, habanero grapefruit and elderflower. Quality is instantly tasted after the first sip and the drinks pair perfectly with the tacos. Offering both indoor and outdoor seating Barrio Chino is an ideal spot to meet up with friends to pre-game and enjoy a quality drink before heading out for the night.
Not only does Barrio Chino make a mean tequila margarita, but they make some of the best mezcal margaritas in NYC, too. Make sure to order the spicy tamarind margarita with a side of barbacoa tacos — so good!
Address: 253 Broome St, New York, NY 10002
#1. Ofrenda (West Village)
If you find yourself in the West Village between 4 – 7PM and want to enjoy some of the best value margaritas in NYC swing by Ofrenda. For $8 (almost half-off regular price) you can enjoy a few rounds without needing to call your bank for a loan!
The food is solid (tortillas, salsas and doughs are made in house) and help you sober (or somewhat-sober) as you go bottoms-up on some of the best margaritas in NYC. If you need a suggestion the fish tacos are five out of five.
You won’t find the same variety of margaritas as other restaurants in NYC (mango, prickly pear, cucumber, blood orange) but for the price I have no complaints.
Not to mention Ofrenda is sister restaurants with the Black Ant, a more high-end restaurant who I believe has the best margaritas in NYC. To know you can get a similar quality drink for a fraction means I come running!
Address: 113 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014
Best Margarita NYC (Post Summary)
- Barrio Chino
- El Camion
- The Black Ant
- The Rag Trader
- Street Taco
- Playa Betty
- Calabrije’s Margaritas & Tacos
- The Junction
- San Loco
- Mad Dog & Beans Mexican Cantina
- El Coco
Best NYC Margarita’s (Map)
And there you have it my friends, the best margaritas in New York City according to yours truly. Let me know if you think I missed a spot.
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