So much of tequila’s reputation lies with the margarita, the classic cocktail made with a mix of tequila, triple sec and lime juice, served on the rocks or frozen, with or without salt. And yes, margaritas are the perfect summer drink, but they don’t give tequila the proper recognition it deserves.
The practice of distilling agave to make tequila is a centuries-old practice done in almost all of Mexico’s 31 states—though the town of Tequila (in Jalisco) takes credit for the famous liquor.
In New York City, you can drink the Mexican spirit (or a cheap version of it) at practically every bar. But if you prefer to savor the best brands and perhaps learn a bit about tequilas and mezcals (another Mexican spirit made from agave), we’ve got over a dozen places for you to explore.
For example, La Biblioteca boasts 400 varieties of tequilas and mezcals. Añejo is a popular tequila bar founded by Top Chef alum Angelo Sosa. And Bodega Negra has a long list of bespoke tequila and mezcal. For more of our recommendations, see below.
Don’t be fooled by the fancy white tablecloths at this bustling West Village Mexican favorite—thanks to more than 80 different types of tequila and countless margaritas (including a seasonal fresh-fruit version showcasing a pureed fruit of the day), the crowd can get a little loco within this joint’s stucco walls.
This secretive LES lounge (by the team behind Spitzer's Corner) follows in the footsteps of La Esquina, but with more space: three floors of underground lairs and secret dens, where the tacos keep on coming and the tequila never stops flowing.
The first Maizal opened in Staten Island in 2010 and proved such a success the owners branched out in 2014 to Astoria, a previously underserved neighborhood when it came to fine Mexican cuisine.
Nestled on a block lined with Indian restaurants is a dark, brainy shrine to tequila and mezcal, with a brief menu of chic Mexican bar food (popcorn with lime, Cotija cheese and ancho chile; sushi-grade tuna marinated in mezcal, served with coconut-avocado mousse; churros with spiced Mexican chocolate and dulce de leche).