The guys behind Death & Co know a thing or two (or three or four, if you count Gin Palace and Cienfuegos) about cocktails -- so it’s no surprise that their East Village tequila temple is pure, unadulterated Mexi-class. This dark and sexy spirits lounge features a full roster of mezcals, reposados, and sotols, most of which are produced by indie distilleries that one of the owners has visited himself. Sip a Del Maguey straight up, or opt for a concoction from head mixologist Phil Ward’s menu, like the Stone Raft (jalapeno tequila, mezcal, sherry, agave & celery bitters) or the Delirium Trigger (mezcal, vermouth, Campari, Aperol, coffee & mole bitters). Food offerings exceed expected bar fare, with a selection of small bites (scallops with chorizo) and full-on man meals (seared hangar steak with chimichurri). If, after a few drinks, you still don’t know what “sotol” is, ask the friendly ‘tender for a lesson on the 800yr-old spirit -- then return with one of those stupid people who doesn't know what sotol is, and impress the crap out of them.
Mayahuel elevates tequila beyond the "sloppy taco-happy-hour margarita" status it's too often given in New York. It's not much of a surprise given that this dark and sultry lounge is from the cocktail pros behind Death & Co. Expect a range of spicy and smoky tequilas and mezcals; though cocktails are the main event here, small plates like chorizo croquetas and chihuahua cheese quesadillas balance out the experience.