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Frozen margarita and a mezcal old fashioned
Frozen margarita and a mezcal old fashioned at Oxomoco
Alex Staniloff/Eater

17 Tequila Temples With Outstanding Agave-Based Drinks

Bars with long tequila and mezcal lists as well as top-notch cocktails

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Frozen margarita and a mezcal old fashioned at Oxomoco
| Alex Staniloff/Eater

Just like NYC’s growing and varied Mexican scene, tequila and mezcal have become centerpieces in bars nodding to their south-of-the-border brethren. Here are the tequilerias and mezcalerias to drink in agave gold.

Note: This is an updated version of a map originally published in 2018.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Vida Verde

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248 W 55th St
New York, NY 10019
(646) 657-0565
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In addition to the best frozen margarita in NYC, Vida Verde in Hell’s Kitchen has an impressively long tequila and mezcal selection, with a lower priced selection later at night. It’s also in cocktails like the eponymous Vida Verde, with snap pea-infused Banhez mezcal, Génépy, lemon, sour orange, and tarragon. Drink it all alongside tacos and a colorful outdoor rooftop area.

A frozen margarita at Vida Verde sits on a table next to a window Ryan Sutton/Eater

2. Maya

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1191 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10065
(212) 585-1818
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This sophisticated Upper East Side taqueria is at least as notable for Atlantic cod tacos as its happy hour, which runs every day to close starting at 4 p.m. on weekdays and 5 p.m. on weekends, featuring $8 margaritas and small plates. The tequila list is massive and there are smart margarita variations like the Yucatan version made with blood orange.

Maya
Maya
Maya [Official Photo]

3. Añejo

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668 10th Ave
New York, NY 10036
(212) 920-4770
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Any venue naming itself after the aged tequila better deliver on the brown agave. Luckily, Hell’s Kitchen’s Añejo, decked out with Day of the Dead-style murals, has a respectable list of dozens of tequilas, separated by their highlands and lowlands origins. The flights provide an introduction to hard-to-find spirits. There’s an additional location in Tribeca.

Añejo
Añejo
Anejo [Official Photo]

4. La Biblioteca

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622 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10017
(212) 808-8110
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La Biblioteca is a special kind of library that stocks about 400 different agave spirits and has a tequila sommelier to help customers choose the right option for that night. While the atmosphere is clubby, those bottles are beautifully showcased along the walls. Anyone who buys a bottle can keep it stored in one of the bar’s lockers for free and retrieve it later with a library card.

La Biblioteca
La Biblioteca
La Biblioteca [Official Photo]

5. Mexicue

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225 5th Ave
New York, NY 10010
(646) 922-7289
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Mexicue is all about not taking itself too seriously, fusing Mexican street food with American barbecue. The bartenders at the roomy Nomad restaurant are friendly and well-practiced in slinging cocktails like the smoky margarita, served with a chili rim, which cuts the sweetness and fattiness of brisket tacos. The menu equally focuses on bourbon for the American side of things, but there are various flights of each spirit available. Additional locations are in Midtown and Chelsea.

Mexicue
Mexicue
Mexicue [Official Photo]

6. Agave

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140 7th Ave S
New York, NY 10014
(212) 989-2100
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The selection of over 100 tequilas at this West Village Mexican restaurant right on Seventh Avenue is constantly rotating with seasonal additions. Ask a bartender for help finding the right expression, or grab the slightly numbing Acapulco Spice margarita made with jalapeño-infused tequila.

Agave
Agave
Agave [Official Photo]

7. Oxomoco

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128 Greenpoint Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(646) 688-4180
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One- and two-ounce pours are available for 30 tequilas and more than 60 mezcals from across Mexico at this Greepoint Oaxacan destination. The spirits also go into cocktails like the Rosita (mezcal, sherry, grapefruit) and the Oaxacan Summer (mezcal, coconut rum, pineapple). A bonus is that the food from Oxocomo’s wood-fired grill has earned a Michelin star.

8. El Toro Blanco

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257 6th Ave
New York, NY 10014
(212) 645-0193
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El Toro Blanco focuses on Baja-inspired fish dishes like mahi mahi tacos and a tuna tostada. Like the food, the small, low-lit, stylishly mod space is ideal for a refreshing drink. In addition to a house Paloma made with Espolòn Reposado, the extensive spirits list includes top-notch tequila and mezcal producers from Avion to Del Maguey. The flights are a convenient way to sample the offerings.

9. Empellon Al Pastor

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132 St Marks Pl, New York, NY
New York, NY 10009
(646) 833-7039
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Alex Stupak’s Mexican-ish mini-chain Empellon finds the right balance between comfort and innovation in Al Pastor, its accessible East Village outpost hawking stoner-friendly fare from lamb shoulder tacos to jalapeño poppers with a bacon-cream cheese filling. It’s all available at the long, rustic bar, to be washed down with a simple margarita or a pour of a bracing, complex tequila like Siete Leguas Blanco.

10. La Esquina

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114 Kenmare St
New York, NY 10012
(646) 613-7100
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This Soho mainstay is nothing if not sceney, whether in the upstairs walk-in taqueria overrun with young partiers or in the more exclusive downstairs brasserie. The latter, with posh decoration, is a place to share multiple rounds of margaritas and tequila shots with close friends. There are additional La Esquina locations in Midtown and on the Upper East Side.

11. La Contenta

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102 Norfolk St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 432-4180
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This small, artfully designed Lower East Side hangout has a bar with a well-curated, concise selection of tequila and mezcal. They’re put to use in inventive cocktails, including the Mayan, utilizing coconut-infused tequila and corn puree. There’s an additional La Contenta in the West Village.

La Contenta La Contenta [Official Photo]

12. Casa Mezcal

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86 Orchard St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 777-2661
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Beyond playful decor and Mexican fare at this Lower East Side cantina, there’s also — as the name indicates — a nice mezcal list. There are dozens to choose from on their own, as well as in cocktails like a mezcal Manhattan. Three floors give it a raucous vibe, so don’t come necessarily for serious sipping.

13. La Milagrosa

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149 Havemeyer St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 599-1499
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How to outdo all the other ultra-hip New York faux-speakeasies? Williamsburg’s La Milagrosa answers that question by putting its cozy, dark, woody bar behind a deli’s freezer door. The staff and lounge itself are surprisingly laid-back, and drinks home in on mezcal, including in a smoky yet zippy margarita. Excellent rotating DJs take over the speakers, leading to impromptu group dance sessions.

14. Leyenda

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221 Smith St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(347) 987-3260
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This Carroll Gardens cocktail den expands beyond Mexico to cover the bases of Latin drinking. Under the guidance of Clover Club’s Julie Reiner and headed up by award-winning bartender Ivy Mix, Leyenda has a vast tequila and mezcal selection, and the cocktails veer in many enticing directions. The Sharkbait brings together blanco tequila, guava, lime, and the Italian apéritif Cappelletti. The back patio is delightful for lingering on warm days, and there’s a menu of Latin-inspired bar food.

Leyenda Daniel Krieger/Eater

15. Calaca

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139 Putnam Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238
(347) 705-9824
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Calaca is a cash-only Mexican restaurant with a tight menu of tostadas, tacos, and snacks but an impressively lengthy list of mezcals. It offers them in flights and focuses on smaller producers. Tequila and mezcal are the only spirits on hand here, and they’re used in cocktails that include a well-executed mezcalita. Be sure to ask if they have anything new in, and be aware that it’s a very small space that often gets full at dinner time.

16. Claro

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Read Review |
284 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(347) 721-3126
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This Gowanus Oaxacan restaurant has a rotating selection of 125 tequilas and mezcals from across Mexico, available in glass, bottle, and flight form. The spirits are also incorporated into cocktails like the Isla Alpestre with tobala-espadin mezcal, charred pineapple, ancho, and amaro. It’s all alongside dishes such as yellowfin tostada and red mole.

17. La Loba Cantina

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Read Review |
709 Church Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11218
(347) 295-1141
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La Loba brings a taste of Oaxaca to its two-room, white-hued space in Kensington, Brooklyn. In addition to exciting food rooted in the Mexican region, its mezcals are the specialty here, with 50 varieties available in small and large shots or in classic and house cocktails.

La Loba Cantina
La Loba Cantina
Paul Crispin Quitoriano/Eater

1. Vida Verde

248 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019
A frozen margarita at Vida Verde sits on a table next to a window Ryan Sutton/Eater

In addition to the best frozen margarita in NYC, Vida Verde in Hell’s Kitchen has an impressively long tequila and mezcal selection, with a lower priced selection later at night. It’s also in cocktails like the eponymous Vida Verde, with snap pea-infused Banhez mezcal, Génépy, lemon, sour orange, and tarragon. Drink it all alongside tacos and a colorful outdoor rooftop area.

248 W 55th St
New York, NY 10019

2. Maya

1191 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10065
Maya
Maya
Maya [Official Photo]

This sophisticated Upper East Side taqueria is at least as notable for Atlantic cod tacos as its happy hour, which runs every day to close starting at 4 p.m. on weekdays and 5 p.m. on weekends, featuring $8 margaritas and small plates. The tequila list is massive and there are smart margarita variations like the Yucatan version made with blood orange.

1191 1st Avenue
New York, NY 10065

3. Añejo

668 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036
Añejo
Añejo
Anejo [Official Photo]

Any venue naming itself after the aged tequila better deliver on the brown agave. Luckily, Hell’s Kitchen’s Añejo, decked out with Day of the Dead-style murals, has a respectable list of dozens of tequilas, separated by their highlands and lowlands origins. The flights provide an introduction to hard-to-find spirits. There’s an additional location in Tribeca.

668 10th Ave
New York, NY 10036

4. La Biblioteca

622 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10017
La Biblioteca
La Biblioteca
La Biblioteca [Official Photo]

La Biblioteca is a special kind of library that stocks about 400 different agave spirits and has a tequila sommelier to help customers choose the right option for that night. While the atmosphere is clubby, those bottles are beautifully showcased along the walls. Anyone who buys a bottle can keep it stored in one of the bar’s lockers for free and retrieve it later with a library card.

622 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10017

5. Mexicue

225 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010
Mexicue
Mexicue
Mexicue [Official Photo]

Mexicue is all about not taking itself too seriously, fusing Mexican street food with American barbecue. The bartenders at the roomy Nomad restaurant are friendly and well-practiced in slinging cocktails like the smoky margarita, served with a chili rim, which cuts the sweetness and fattiness of brisket tacos. The menu equally focuses on bourbon for the American side of things, but there are various flights of each spirit available. Additional locations are in Midtown and Chelsea.

225 5th Ave
New York, NY 10010

6. Agave

140 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014
Agave
Agave
Agave [Official Photo]

The selection of over 100 tequilas at this West Village Mexican restaurant right on Seventh Avenue is constantly rotating with seasonal additions. Ask a bartender for help finding the right expression, or grab the slightly numbing Acapulco Spice margarita made with jalapeño-infused tequila.

140 7th Ave S
New York, NY 10014

7. Oxomoco

128 Greenpoint Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Read Review |

One- and two-ounce pours are available for 30 tequilas and more than 60 mezcals from across Mexico at this Greepoint Oaxacan destination. The spirits also go into cocktails like the Rosita (mezcal, sherry, grapefruit) and the Oaxacan Summer (mezcal, coconut rum, pineapple). A bonus is that the food from Oxocomo’s wood-fired grill has earned a Michelin star.

128 Greenpoint Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222

8. El Toro Blanco

257 6th Ave, New York, NY 10014

El Toro Blanco focuses on Baja-inspired fish dishes like mahi mahi tacos and a tuna tostada. Like the food, the small, low-lit, stylishly mod space is ideal for a refreshing drink. In addition to a house Paloma made with Espolòn Reposado, the extensive spirits list includes top-notch tequila and mezcal producers from Avion to Del Maguey. The flights are a convenient way to sample the offerings.

257 6th Ave
New York, NY 10014

9. Empellon Al Pastor

132 St Marks Pl, New York, NY, New York, NY 10009

Alex Stupak’s Mexican-ish mini-chain Empellon finds the right balance between comfort and innovation in Al Pastor, its accessible East Village outpost hawking stoner-friendly fare from lamb shoulder tacos to jalapeño poppers with a bacon-cream cheese filling. It’s all available at the long, rustic bar, to be washed down with a simple margarita or a pour of a bracing, complex tequila like Siete Leguas Blanco.

132 St Marks Pl, New York, NY
New York, NY 10009

10. La Esquina

114 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012

This Soho mainstay is nothing if not sceney, whether in the upstairs walk-in taqueria overrun with young partiers or in the more exclusive downstairs brasserie. The latter, with posh decoration, is a place to share multiple rounds of margaritas and tequila shots with close friends. There are additional La Esquina locations in Midtown and on the Upper East Side.

114 Kenmare St
New York, NY 10012

11. La Contenta

102 Norfolk St, New York, NY 10002
La Contenta La Contenta [Official Photo]

This small, artfully designed Lower East Side hangout has a bar with a well-curated, concise selection of tequila and mezcal. They’re put to use in inventive cocktails, including the Mayan, utilizing coconut-infused tequila and corn puree. There’s an additional La Contenta in the West Village.

102 Norfolk St
New York, NY 10002

12. Casa Mezcal

86 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

Beyond playful decor and Mexican fare at this Lower East Side cantina, there’s also — as the name indicates — a nice mezcal list. There are dozens to choose from on their own, as well as in cocktails like a mezcal Manhattan. Three floors give it a raucous vibe, so don’t come necessarily for serious sipping.

86 Orchard St
New York, NY 10002

13. La Milagrosa

149 Havemeyer St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

How to outdo all the other ultra-hip New York faux-speakeasies? Williamsburg’s La Milagrosa answers that question by putting its cozy, dark, woody bar behind a deli’s freezer door. The staff and lounge itself are surprisingly laid-back, and drinks home in on mezcal, including in a smoky yet zippy margarita. Excellent rotating DJs take over the speakers, leading to impromptu group dance sessions.

149 Havemeyer St
Brooklyn, NY 11211

14. Leyenda

221 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Leyenda Daniel Krieger/Eater

This Carroll Gardens cocktail den expands beyond Mexico to cover the bases of Latin drinking. Under the guidance of Clover Club’s Julie Reiner and headed up by award-winning bartender Ivy Mix, Leyenda has a vast tequila and mezcal selection, and the cocktails veer in many enticing directions. The Sharkbait brings together blanco tequila, guava, lime, and the Italian apéritif Cappelletti. The back patio is delightful for lingering on warm days, and there’s a menu of Latin-inspired bar food.

221 Smith St
Brooklyn, NY 11201

15. Calaca

139 Putnam Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Calaca is a cash-only Mexican restaurant with a tight menu of tostadas, tacos, and snacks but an impressively lengthy list of mezcals. It offers them in flights and focuses on smaller producers. Tequila and mezcal are the only spirits on hand here, and they’re used in cocktails that include a well-executed mezcalita. Be sure to ask if they have anything new in, and be aware that it’s a very small space that often gets full at dinner time.

139 Putnam Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Related Maps

16. Claro

284 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Read Review |

This Gowanus Oaxacan restaurant has a rotating selection of 125 tequilas and mezcals from across Mexico, available in glass, bottle, and flight form. The spirits are also incorporated into cocktails like the Isla Alpestre with tobala-espadin mezcal, charred pineapple, ancho, and amaro. It’s all alongside dishes such as yellowfin tostada and red mole.

284 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11215

17. La Loba Cantina

709 Church Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11218
Read Review |
La Loba Cantina
La Loba Cantina
Paul Crispin Quitoriano/Eater

La Loba brings a taste of Oaxaca to its two-room, white-hued space in Kensington, Brooklyn. In addition to exciting food rooted in the Mexican region, its mezcals are the specialty here, with 50 varieties available in small and large shots or in classic and house cocktails.

709 Church Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11218

Related Maps