Cinco de Mayo is so much more than the old “one tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor” adage: It’s a holiday that celebrates the Mexican army’s win at the Battle of Puebla, against the French in 1862 (but hey, celebrate it with tequila). In honor of the victory, Mexican restaurants and mezcal bars throw open their doors, usually with food and drink specials throughout the day and, if you’re lucky, live music and full-on parties. Translation? Tacos, margaritas and mariachi bands are about to dominate your weekend. Whether you’re settling in for an afternoon of eating or a morning of on-theme live drag performances, here’s how to tap into your Mexican pride—or, you know, just your love of tequila.
RECOMMENDED: Our guide to Cinco de Mayo in Los Angeles
Best Cinco de Mayo specials
Leave it to the Abbey to go all-in with an all-day celebration including but not limited to: drag performances, dancing, drink specials and live music from Arcoiris de Los Angeles, the world’s first LGBTQ mariachi band. The fun runs from 9am to 2am, and we can just about guarantee it’ll be packed and magnificent the whole day and night.
Border Grill’s amping up this year’s festivities, extending its Cinco party all day long. Stop by from 11am to 10pm for $3.50 tacos—we’re talking carnitas, fish, rajas, alambre and more—as well as $5 bites (hello, queso fundido), $5 beers and margaritas, all set to DJ sets.
The Valley’s beloved Mexican staple is throwing a Cinco de Mayo party on Saturday, complete with a live mariachi band in the evening, $7 margaritas all day and night, plus the one-day-only Pink Señorits cocktail, made with Patrón Silver, fresh grapefruit juice, cranberry juice and mint. That’s enough to make us drive to Sherman Oaks.
This is, undeniably, the most baller of Cinco specials: Find a $100 margarita—yep, $100 for a solitary margarita—at all locations, for one day only. It comes served in a special Baccarat “Diamant Highball” glass, which you get to keep and normally retails for $280 a set. The margarita itself is a blend of Tequila Herradura Seleccioón Suprema, an ultra-premium 100-percent agave tequila that’s typically around $350 per bottle, and Grand Marnier Centenaire, usually around $200. This is one to savor.
Nothing screams “spring” like a garden party, and Gracias Madre’s got one comin’ right up for Cinco de Mayo. Enjoy that great patio from noon to 10pm while also enjoying $5 vegan street tacos—such as BBQ jackfruit and mole mushroom—plus $10 margaritas and $5 beers. The best part? No reservations necessary. Just roll through. Get thee to WeHo.
Las Perlas fans already know that the Downtown drinking den has one of L.A.’s best mezcal and tequila selections. But for those who have yet to step foot inside the bar, Cinco de Mayo is the perfect time to pay a visit. Starting at 11am, there will be a special Cinco de Mayo food menu running all day long (hello, tacos on the patio), and from noon to 4pm, Spaghetti Cumbia will keep the party going with live music. Sip on $11 draft cocktails featuring Sino tequila and El Silencio mezcal—or keep your eyes on the collection of nearly 600 other agave spirits.
Mi Corazon is celebrating its first Cinco de Mayo in Silver Lake with a bang, or, we should say, a blowout: Expect margarita bowls, $20 sangria pitchers, rumchata, $8 boilermakers, $8 Banderita shots (made with sangrita, lime and tequila—red, green and white, like the Mexican flag), plus margaritas, palomas and more specialty cocktails galore. And, oh yeah, there’s a live mariachi band.
Sure, it’s a Scottish-themed bar, but that doesn’t mean the Morrison can’t get in on the action. This pub’s food specials are going all Mexican with tacos, ceviches, flautas, fajitas and even tres leches cake, all between $8 and $15, and don’t forget the drinks: They’ve got Modelo and Corona on tap, plus Dos Equiis and Tecate all for $5 a pop, and then there’s the handful of tequila cocktail specials for around $9.
Petty Cash will be celebrating Cinco de Mayo with an all-day party that runs beyond their normal hours, so you know they're taking this holiday seriously. The party start at noon and continues until 1am with music, food and drink specials and more; when it comes time to pad your stomach after all that mezcal, we recommend the cauliflower nachos and, like, six of their tacos. (Bonus: Much of the menu's local and sustainable.) If you're interested in attending during the day, you'll have to make a reservation; walk-ins are only welcome after 5pm.
I’ve been saying it for years: This grocery store on wheels was ahead of its time. On Saturday, in celebration of Cinco de Mayo, the iconic delivery system is offering yet another service more people should be providing: cocktails to your door. Simply click on “craft cocktails on-demand,” and pick your drink set—you’ll be receiving everything you need to build your cocktail in no time. And, because it’s Cinco de Mayo, you’ll be able to order a “Pink-a-rita” kit, of which $1 from every order benefits the National Immigration Law Center, which helps defend and protect low-income immigrants.