There are two types of people at Penn: people who flock to for Happy Hour, and those who are loyalists. On first glance, there might not be that much of a difference. Both restaurants are hubs for friends to meet up over Mexican food and a variety of flavored margaritas, but they offer two very different experiences.
Let’s get down to business and see who comes out on top:
Copabanana has been around since 1978—significantly longer than Distrito, which opened in 2008. Distrito offers more of a trendy atmosphere in a larger space with colorful tables and unique seats, while Copa sticks to the basics.
Trying to get a table at Distrito may pose more difficulty than at Copa, as their tables fill up fast. Most likely, you’ll need to make a reservation. On the other hand, at Copa you can usually just walk right in.
Distrito’s location on 40th and Chestnut definitely wins, because it’s a little uncomfortable to have to wave to your professors while throwing back a marg at Copa’s very public spot on 40th and Spruce. Also, the fun decor—including cars and swingsets as chairs—can’t be beat.
Quantity vs. Price:
If you want the most bang for your buck, then Copa has the marg for you. For only $8.50 ($6 at happy hour), you get a margarita glass, plus an entire shaker of your drink. The menu says that the shaker has a pour and a half, but it actually fills your relatively small glass about seven times. You’ll definitely be feeling it by the end of the shaker, meaning you won’t have to invest in round two.
Each margarita at Distrito is $9 ($5 at happy hour), and extra if you want fruit flavors. Your best bet at Distrito is to order a pitcher ($32) for you and a group of friends. And if you go it alone, you'll definitely need to order at least two. $5 for a margarita is hard to beat, but by liquid volume alone, Copa offers much more for a comparable price.
Copa is known for its wide variety of flavors, so much so that it can be . There’s over ten fruit flavors as well as seasonal options. They also boast a vast number of tequila options, with an entire list that would impress even the biggest tequila connoisseur.
Distrito mostly sticks to the basics. Their most popular option is the traditional, which has sauza blue, orange liqueur, and lime juice. Flavor wise, they have a few seasonal options depending on the time of year which can range from strawberry to lime.
From first sip, Distrito is the obvious winner. You can definitely taste the tequila a little bit less, and you can tell why it’s a campus favorite. In addition, Distrito offers frozen margaritas, something that isn’t an option at Copa.
Since there are fewer options at Distrito, it makes them focus on perfecting the few they do have—and it pays off.
Overall: It's a tie!
If you’re just looking for a marg, Copa may be your best bet for value and flavor options. However, if you want the whole experience, grab a few friends and go to Distrito. But thankfully, you can’t go wrong with a margarita no matter where it’s from.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Distrito margaritas cost $15. 34th Street regrets this error.