With the closing of Señor Frog’s last year and the recent news that NYC won’t be getting a Margaritaville anytime this year, it seems like the powers that be are determined to keep us out of the mix.
“What if I don’t have the cash for a plane ticket, but can’t wait a minute longer to feel the sun on my face and the hot sand between my toes?”
Well, frankly you’re out of luck.
As a consolation prize, if you don’t have the means to drop everything and hop on a jet headed to a sexy tropical destination, you can still kind of pretend you’re somewhere warm at one of the city’s many warm weather-themed locales.
1. Miss Lily’s (132 West Houston Street)
At Miss Lily’s SoHo location you’ll find essential Jamaican fare like jerk chicken and oxtail stew. You can get in on the brunch sitch for $30. It’s two hours of unlimited bellinis or hotsteppers (a soju/bloody mary concoction) and an entree like ackee and saltfish, Jamaican’s national dish.
There’s an outpost of the restaurant in Dubai as well as one closer to home in the East Village, Miss Lily’s 7A Cafe (109 Avenue A), with a hundred varieties of Caribbean rum as well as Jamaican patty melts and sweet plantains served until 2 a.m.
2. 5 Burro Cafe (7205 Austin Street - Queens)
A fave FoHi hang, 5 Burro Cafe is a cramped Mexican spot on the main drag that is almost always busy. Waiting for a table can take a while—and, be forewarned—everyone in the party must order an entree in order to keep the table.
Strong frozen margaritas are the main draw here, so be prepared to order an Uber home. The quesadillas are popular, and if you don’t have time to wait on a table, the guac is a tasty snack that can be easily wolfed down at the bar.
3. Zombie Hut (273 Smith Street - Brooklyn)
An ideal pop-in spot due to its location on the bar and restaurant-littered Smith Street, Zombie Hut is also exactly what you’d expect: a tiki-themed bar serving lots of tropical, rum-based cocktails.
Their coup de grâce is the Scorpion Bowl, “the kitchen sink of tiki drinks.” It’s built for four, and should be a quick way to make some new friends if you happen to be flying solo.
4. Ghenet Brooklyn (348 Douglass Street - Brooklyn)
Eating with your hands in a nice restaurant!?! Unheard of! Unless, of course you’re in Ethiopia, where the country’s staple food is a flatbread called injera, and meals are consumed by tearing off a piece of bread and using it to grab food. If only there was only somewhere we could try it.
Enter Ghenet Brooklyn, a small Park Slope restaurant serving Ethiopian cuisine in a charming, rustic setting. There’s lots to try here, including meat dishes like chicken or beef stews and plenty of vegetarian dishes like lentils in berbere, a chile and spice seasoning.
5. Rèunion (357 West 44th Street)
Named after a small, volcanic island off the coast of Madagascar, this basement surf bar in Hell’s Kitchen can be a poppin’ spot.
There are plenty of delicious drinks to choose from, including a frozen mojito that comes with a tiny plastic mermaid on top.
To get the biggest bang for your buck, come for happy hour when some of their kitch cocktails are half-price and grindage like sliders and hot dogs are $5.
6. Mother of Pearl (95 Avenue A)
Self-lauded as a “post-modern Polynesian inspired tiki restaurant,” Mother of Pearl is a beautiful restaurant that doles out plant-based tapas including blistered shishito peppers and kale Caesar salads. Oh, and they also have flashy cocktails.
Their little mediawhore that's been plastered all over the web is the Shark Eye, a cocktail combining several ingredients like passion fruit, dry curaçao, bourbon and rye—oh, and it helps that it’s served in a shark mouth-shaped mug and looks like a bloody mess. Do it for the ‘gram.
7. Buenos Aires (513 East 6th Street)
Alphabet City’s Argentine restaurant, Buenos Aires, offers all the country's staples, including a variety of empanadas, Malbecs, and, of course, lots and lots of steak.
Guests can choose from skirt steaks, porterhouse cuts, short ribs, filet mignons and ribeyes. If there's any possible way to squeeze in a few bites of dessert after this protein-packed meal, the restaurant also serves panqueques con dulce de leche, a caramel-y crepe dish and Argentine fave.
8. Manila Social Club (2 Hope Street - Brooklyn)
For a taste of the Philippines without leaving Williamsburg, head to Manila Social Club. They have fun food like SPAM fries with banana ketchup and pickled mango sauce, lotus chips and a variety of dishes made from the colorful purple yam, or ube.
For those who like to live lavishly, they offer a Golden Cristal Donut, filled with ube mousse and gelèe, covered in Cristal icing and dusted with 24k gold dust. It’s only $100/donut or a cool grand/Golden Dozen. Isn’t it the boss’s turn to pick up breakfast?
Where do you go for warm vibes? Let us know![Feature Image Courtesy TimeOut]