Known in Mexico as El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla, Cinco de Mayo is an annual day of celebration commemorating the Mexican army’s victory over the French on May 5th, 1862. The battle helped preserve freedom and democracy within the country and helped promote unity and national identity. Here in the United States there is perhaps no more popular way to honor the heritage and pride of this holiday than by drinking…heavily. And although you’ll find bars throughout the country offering up Cinco de Mayo specials, there are a few cities that seem to take it more seriously than most. Here’s a list, fittingly, of cinco:
1.) Los Angeles, CA
When it comes to celebrating Mexican culture, the West is the best. And nowhere else demonstrates this better than the City of Angels, whose population is nearly half hispanic. As you’d expect, LA likes to have a grand old fiesta on this rocking holiday. Check out Mas Malo (515 West 7th Street) in Downtown for some great margarita specials or La Cabañita (3447 North Verdugo Road) in Glendale for some authentic Mexican flair.
2.) San Antonio, TX
This old fashioned Texas city is within a hundred miles of the border and it shows on this culturally significant day of the year. Hit up Iron Cactus Mexican Grill & Margarita Bar (200 River Walk St. # 100) on the scenic River Walk for some great views and tub-sized margaritas. The nearby Rio Grande Cantina (421 E Commerce St.) is a non-stop party with delicious grub and potent potables.
3.) Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix is a culturally-diverse urban enclave that hosts a number of street festivals to commemorate Mexico’s big day. The Cinco de Mayo Salsa Festival (34505 N. Scottsdale Road) in neighboring Scottsdale showcases local chefs and mixologists with a diverse array of Mexican dishes and drinks. El Hefe Cinco de Mayo Block Party (640 S. Mill Ave.) features $2 Coronas and $4 mammoth margaritas all afternoon.
4.) Las Vegas, NV
Vegas is always a nonstop party, so Cinco de Mayo is pretty much like any day on the calendar in the steaming Nevada desert. However, two newcomers to town have enriched the Mexican street cred in Sin City. Señor Frog’s (3300 Las Vegas Boulevard) at Treasure Island Casino is celebrating it’s grand opening on May 5th and will attempt to break the world record for largest tequila toast ever. Next door at the Flamingo, Carlos ‘n Charlie’s (3555 Las Vegas Boulevard South) just opened it’s massive 13,000 square foot Mexican oasis and is a perfect place to kick back and relax the day away in a tequila-induced haze.
5.) New York, NY
New York may not be known for its overflowing Mexican community, but let’s fact it: the Big Apple has something for everyone. And since there’s little time to sleep when you’re celebrating Cinco de Mayo, you might as well get your kicks in the City That Never Sleeps. Maya (1191 1st Ave.) in the Upper East side is a hip tequila bar that will have all sorts of special shots to suit your fancy on the big day. In midtown, head over to the decidedly un-Mexican Johnny Utah’s (25 West 51st St. #3) to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in style: with their annual Bullriding Fiesta. See how well your booze sits with you while bucking a mechanical steer!