La Esquina

Mexican Restaurant / Tequila Bar
La Esquina One might not expect to find an A-list celebrity hotspot with an unlisted phone number lurking beneath a greasy spoon Mexican taqueria in the desolate No Man's Land between SoHo and Little Italy, but that's just one of many... New York United States 40.7214461 -73.997499
4.24 10
La Esquina - Mexican Restaurant | Tequila Bar in New York.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review One might not expect to find an A-list celebrity hotspot with an unlisted phone number lurking beneath a greasy spoon Mexican taqueria in the desolate No Man’s Land between SoHo and Little Italy, but that’s just one of... ... read full review

  • Subway:

    4, 6: Spring Street-Lafayette Street

  • Phone:

    646-613-7100

  • Links:

  • Hours:

    Taqueria: M–F 8am–5am, Sa–Su noon–5am
    Café: M–F noon–midnight, Sa–Su 11am–midnight
    Bar/Brasserie: 6pm–2am; Brunch 11am–4pm

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth La Esquina Review

The Scene

One might not expect to find an A-list celebrity hotspot with an unlisted phone number lurking beneath a greasy spoon Mexican taqueria in the desolate No Man's Land between SoHo and Little Italy, but that's just one of many...

One might not expect to find an A-list celebrity hotspot with an unlisted phone number lurking beneath a greasy spoon Mexican taqueria in the desolate No Man’s Land between SoHo and Little Italy, but that’s just one of many surprises in store at La Esquina.

Opened in 2005, this basement den of debauchery still packs in a fashionable, and sometimes famous, crowd of trendsetters, affluent artists, and folks from the fashion and entertainment industries.

A weathered brick-wall vault adorned with cast-iron gating and Mexican tile murals illuminated by thick column candles in iron chandeliers lead patrons to the speakeasy’s entrance inside the kitschy 50s-style taqueria, where they’ll then be put through the third degree by a zealous host.

The chosen few granted entry pass through the bustling kitchen and into the exclusive bar and brasserie to discover a wall of tequila comprised of the more than 130 varieties that provide the fueling force of the bar.

After choosing their poison, guests can retire to the banquettes arranged under the chandeliers in the small front alcoves or make their way through the iron-spiked archways to the main dining area for a low-key meal.

After the dinner crowd departs, the real action heats up as the DJ spins indie, house, and Latin grooves that get the stylish clientele on its feet.

Patrons looking for an affordable meal can certainly find it in La Esquina’s taqueria or sit-down café upstairs, but only the chic downstairs brasserie offers the ultimate experience of partying with the cool kids – a group known to include the likes of Madonna, Jennifer Aniston, and Jay-Z.

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Tip from Adriana:

La Esquina has been shut down more than once for noise violations, so you’ll have to be on your best behavior to get in – and you’ll have to stay that way or risk getting thrown out on your stylish tush!

  • Crowd

    All types for the taqueria and café. For the bar/brasserie, A-list celebrities, New York notables and tastemakers, wealthy elite from the worlds of art, fashion, and culture, and well-known names from the downtown art scene, 20s to 40s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    A house DJ spins Latin, soul, funk, house, and indie tunes.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Three dining areas include the taqueria for affordable food to go, a casual café, and the exclusive downstairs brasserie.

  • Prices

    Taqueria menu: elotes $2.50, tacos $4; Café menu $8–$16; Brasserie menu $12–$28. Beer $5, wine $8–$12/glass or $32+/bottle, cocktails $12+, mixed drinks $10+, shots $13+, serving of three tequila tasters $34.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    No dress code for the taqueria and café, though they tend toward downtown chic. For the bar/brasserie, stylish ensembles from the pages of Vogue to the windows of Barneys.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Mondays for a fun and funky party vibe. Fridays and Saturdays for the biggest crowds, though they come with the longest lines.

  • Close By

    Southside (1 Cleveland Place) is a hot club with trendy A-listers and a tough door just down the street.

La Esquina User Reviews

Average rating:
Secret Tacos and Pineapples
Efterpi Z. Jun 8, 2013
La Esquina one of those places you never forget. From the outside it looks like your average taco joint (and I am already a little biased here as anything that has tequila and tacos in the mix is instantly a winner for me,) but this place is a whole lot more than that. It was one of those NY nights, wondering what exactly is so amazing about NY after all, running around in the LES until someone calls a friend of a friend of someone who knows someone who says they can get you into this cool place, La Esquina. Suddenly you're running through the streets of NY again to then find yourself on the corner of Kenmare and Lafayette facing what looks pretty much like your average taco stand. You're thinking, hmmm interesting, I didn't realise we were at that point in the night already and why on earth to we need guest list to get tacos? Then you are dragged through the door, the person in the know does the talking, the bouncer seems fairly satisfied with the talk and suddenly you are being led through the kitchens with low ceilings, thinking, will we see the light of day again? Are they taking us to the kitchen to murder us? When this clearly illogical internal rambling is interrupted by your stepping o into a clearly very different room, where the music is pumping the margaritas are flowing and tables are decorated with giant bowls of fruit and all of a sudden you realise, this night is going to be just great. You dance the night away and end up at home, much much later with a giant pineapple- I mean the fruit must be there for some reason, right? Definitely a place not to miss.
Convenient little Mexican fast food spot between Chinatown, Nolita and Soho
Myriam A. Apr 11, 2013
La Esquina is ideally located close by numerous popular night life hang out. The Mexican food that is served is simple but tasty. Great for a quick bite while bar hopping around the neighborhood. The place is very small so expect to wait for a while if you wanted to be seated. Don't miss their Vegetarian tacos, one of the best in the City!
Triple Threat
Leora N. Apr 3, 2013
One of the great things about La Esquina is that there is literally something for everyone. The Mexican eatery boasts an upstairs sit down cafe, a takeout bar, and a hidden lounge underground. The upstairs bistro is the perfect relaxed meal where you can order your favorites like Mexican corn on the cob, spicy tortilla soup, and platters of mini tacos while sitting in a cozy booth, or enjoying the sidewalk view of this chic neighborhood. If you're in a rush, or feel like playing it casual, just walk around the corner to the order up window. You can get the same bites to go, or for those New York classic moments, swallow a fast lunch at the window bar. FInally, for those scene stealers that love the glitz of a New York night on the town, the hidden downstairs lounge and restaurant is the perfect fit. The dark, low ceilinged rooms, mixed with fast pumping music makes those margaritas taste that much better! Whichever spot you choose, one thing is guaranteed. You'll never leave La Esquina feeling hungry.
Hello Kitchen
Ivette H. Dec 2, 2012
Don't be frightened. When you walk into La Esquina, you actually walk around the restaurant's kitchen -- well, gold mine. It may look like the average kitchen but thats where chef Akhtar Nawab works his magic. The food is absolutely delicious and the ambiance is great. Not to mention, once seated the service has always been excellent.
World Cup Debauchery
Jaclyn W. Nov 28, 2012
It was the summer of the last World Cup. Mexico was playing that day and my friend and I decided we needed some food before we really started pounding that tequila. We wandered over from his apartment to La Esquina. Although we never made it to the bar downstairs, the restaurant was so packed we were basically on the couple sitting next to us date. The Huevos Ranchero is out of this world amazing. Pair it with an Esquina Mary (bloody mary with tequila instead of vodka), and you will be a very happy individual. There was a huge TV above us, so we didn't miss any of the action. The crowd was an eclectic mix of people and ages. I'm not sure if that was due to the World Cup or because it's a normal restaurant during the day. The service was fast and friendly, which is always a plus. I'm extremely curious as to what the bar is like at night. I'll definitely be back to check out the night scene and would not mind staying awake until their brunch is being served again. We did not sit in the main section of the restaurant. We found the back door instead and were seated in a smaller area. I suggest the smaller area to be able to hear your date (it does get loud) as well as a more intimate setting. A Salud!
Speakeasy Done Right
Alicia B. Nov 3, 2012
The first time I came here, I couldn't find it, asked someone who worked there where it was, and got turned away. Don't do this. Know what you're looking for and don't ask around-- there are places online that will tell you step-by-step how to get there. But once you get down there, the food is *incredible*. Granted, it's pricey. I had the best michelada (think Bloody Mary meets beer) I've ever had here-- so good that I bought two. But the prices are, I feel, justified. Plus, with a speakeasy, you're partly paying for the experience. And here, they deliver. I went on a pretty low key, pretty late, and there was ample room to sit. This is seriously a great place to do some people watching. All in all, one of the best covert bars in the city.
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