This used to be our playground …Photo: Christopher Chen
Is it time to pour one out for Lower East Side nightlife? Recently we let an out-of-towner in on the neighborhood “secret” that hipster slum spot El Sombrero (The Hat) has long served their potent frozen “crackaritas”* to go. Shockingly, when we told our bartender we’d have the usual, he informed us that as of about a month ago the restaurant had ceased serving the potent takeout concoction. Maybe it had something to do with the police van parked across the street? Wondering whether an A-list customer would have better luck, we sent food publicist Aimee Bianca to ply her charms.
I asked the bartender, “So, do you not do them to-go anymore?” and he shook his head in what seemed to be a forlorn way — though I could just be projecting — and said, “No, can’t do. There was some trouble.” I said, “Oh, with cops?” and he nodded his head. It was very loud in there, and because I had already drank half a bottle of Jameson at the movies, I’m not all that clear on what exactly he meant.
BlackBook film critic Eddie Mullins, who was also refused a go-cup when he begged for one two weeks ago, reflects on the glory days:
I’ve been getting them to go since ‘93. Years and years ago my friends had a party and we were like, “We want to get some margaritas delivered.” They were like, “We don’t do that.” And we said, “Well, we want 30 of them.” They were like, “Okay, what’s your address?”
If you’re thinking you’ll just go to the place down the block that has also served them para llevar, know that we were denied there also. Between this and Mehanata’s struggle to get a liquor license, things are looking very grim for the Lower Eastpacking District.
* Grub Street is not implying that the frozen margaritas contain actual crack. The mystery tequila, however, might as well be crack.