Cinco de Mayo is widely celebrated in the United States, but according to Chief Curator Cesareo Moreno at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen, it’s no big deal in most Spanish and Latin American countries.
Moreno says that Cinco de Mayo is only celebrated in the Mexican town of Puebla, the scene of the Mexican’s defeat of the French in the Battle of the Puebla on May 5. While Cinco de Mayo might not be a grand holiday in Mexico, here in Chicago any excuse to eat guacamole and drink margaritas is absolutely something to celebrate. If celebrating is on your agenda, plenty of spots in town will have the eats, the drinks and the music to keep you partying all night.
Salud: Nothing says Cinco de Mayo like tequila, mariachi and margaritas. Make your way over to Salud Tequila Lounge on North Milwaukee Ave to enjoy free live entertainment, delicious Mexican food and specialty cocktails – of the tequila variety. Voted the best Margarita in Chicago by Chicago Magazine, this is where the die-hards will party (Salud Tequila Lounge, 1471 North Milwaukee).
Four Corners Tavern Group: Saturday is not only Cinco de Mayo, but Kentucky Derby Day. If speed is the name of your game, sign up for the Cinco de Derby pub crawl starting and finishing at any of the three participating bars between 1-5pm: Schoolyard (3258 N Southport Ave), Kirkwood (2934 N Sheffield Ave) or Crossing (2548 N Southport Ave). The crawl includes a taco bar, Coronas and Avion Margaritas for $20 in advance.
Nacional 27: For an ultimate Cinco de Mayo experience, pick up the $27 ”ultimate party package” from Nacional 27 that will buy you margaritas, sangria, passed tapas and the beats of DJ George Perez from 6-9pm. If you can’t make it on Saturday, stop back in on any Thursday night for dinner, drinks and complimentary salsa dancing lessons at 7:00pm (Nacional 27, 325 W. Huron).
The Anthem: If you’re feeling conflicted about whether to celebrate Cinco de Mayo or Derby Day, featured specials at the Wicker Park sports bar will include $4 Kentucky Hot Brow Sliders, $3 Pork Belly Tacos, $5 Mint Juleps, $5 Altos Margaritas and $16 Tecate Bucket & House Made Doritos. Our recommendation? Sip a margarita while viewing the Derby on one of two giant screens or four 50″ screens (Anthem, 1725 W. Division Street).
Barrio Urban Taqueria: Start with brunch and stay until dinner. Spend Cinco de Mayo at a “day long fiesta” at Barrio that will feature $5 tequila shots and live music throughout the day. If you’re tired of the traditional margarita, sip some swanky cocktails like a Tres Leches Martini or Kiwi Margarita (Barrio Urban Taqueria, 714 W. Diversey).