New York's First Tequila Library

By Raphael Pallais of The Plaza
November 18, 2010 | New York, United States
New York's First Tequila Library
La Biblioteca de Tequila

Tequila's comeback, anyone? Well, if truth be told, the agave spirit never did exit the stage of American liquor. These days it just happens to be playing a starring role. High-end tequila sales are booming (a bottle of Tres Cuatro Cinco Añejo goes for over $500 a bottle). Justin Timberlake is now peddling a nice little sideline of triple distilled 901. And tequila houses, tequila cafes and tequilerias are opening up all over the place.

Two of my favorite neighborhood tequila haunts are on the Upper West Side: Gabriela's and Cafe Frida. Both are solid, authentic Mexican restaurants in their own right, with impressively stocked tequila bars. At Gabriela's, you'll face an exhaustive menu of Jalisco highland and lowland tequilas, or you can choose to sample with a tequila flight. Cafe Frida breaks their selection down like wine, explaining the subtle differences in hues and flavors.

But if you're really serious about your tequila, you should head to La Biblioteca de Tequila, found below Zengo restaurant in midtown. The private club-like bar goes full out on the library theme (from which it gets its name in Spanish): there's a tequila librarian who stamps a library card for you when you buy your bottle of tequila. She'll then stash the bottle away in your own private tequila locker until your return (at no charge).

With 400 bottles of tequila and mezcal on offer — the city's most complete collection — you may find yourself coming back for quite the continuing education.