As a quick Wikipedia scan will show you, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s independence day—so when you’re out drinking tequila on Saturday, don’t go around insisting it is. Truth is, most of Mexico (outside of the Puebla region) treats the fifth of May the same way it does the sixth or the fourth—which is to say, without a lot of fanfare. Here in the US, however, we take the opportunity to toast all things Mexican-American. To that end, all of these margarita destinations are likely to be in full fiesta mode. Seeking specials and discounts in honor of the occasion? Here is a list of those.
The fifth of May is the last day to check out the Cleveland Park pop-up iteration of Bandolero, chef Mike Isabella’s Mexican concept, (which will open permanently on Georgetown’s M Street but temporarily took over the shuttered Cleveland Park Tacklebox, the future home of a tapas concept called Pulpo. Got all that?) Bandolero’s Cinco celebration begins at noon and will feature an à-la-carte menu available all day. From 5 to 7, there will be samples of Bandolero’s signature margarita and margarita cupcakes (with or without salt) from Sticky Fingers bakery.
The Cinco celebrations start tomorrow at this unpretentious mole-and-margaritas spot on 18th Street. Tuesday through Friday, it’s featuring one $7 margarita (Tuesday: prickly pear, Wednesday: hibiscus-jalapeño, Thursday: blood orange and chipotle, Friday: pineapple-cilantro). On Saturday, brunch goes from noon to 4 and features $8 dishes. Reservations are recommended. In the evening, there will be $6 agua-fresca-and-tequila shots and $5 Caballito Loco shooters. It’s first come, first served after 5, so show up early.
Latin American restaurant Ceiba is so pumped about Cinco, it is giving away a trip to Mexico. Register now through Saturday, when the winner will be announced.
From May 3 through 5, Ceiba will offer $5 house margaritas and Mexican street foods from 3 PM to close in the bar and lounge. Snacks include tacos de lengua, chicken enchiladas, and albondigas with chorizo.
Cinco de Mayo Pub Crawl
If donning an event-branded t-shirt and stumbling in and out of bars sounds like a good life choice at this point in your personal journey, then by all means register for the Cinco de Mayo Pub Crawl. Participants get discounts on Dos Equis and margaritas. You can register at Bread and Brew, which is featuring specials such as lime or strawberry margarita Jell-O shots for $1.
Start off with brunch specials at this P Street meet-up spot: a Bloody Mary with jalapeño-infused tequila; Cinco de Mayo Benedict, made with plantain cakes, spinach, poached eggs, and ranchero hollandaise. Go home, sleep that off, and come back at 4 for happy hour prices on the full menu of margaritas, food items, and a raffle. "Latin guitarist" Ricardo Marlow plays from 5:30 to 7:30. Special guests are also promised.
El Centro D.F.
From 6 PM on, there's a $20 cover charge at Richard Sandoval's 14th Street taqueria. Guests can partake of an all-you-can-eat buffet, $5 margaritas, and $4 Dos Equis.
José Andrés's Penn Quarter Mexican spot will open the bar around 10 AM on May 5. A one-off margarita menu will include a raspberry-jalapeño marg and a blood orange and pequin (bird pepper) marg. There will also be a menu of special tacos.
Tortilla Coast Capitol Hill
At its original Capitol Hill location, Tortilla Coast is doing $7 Sauza Gold Coast margaritas and $5 Sauza Hornitos Plata shots (careful now, it's a school night). Those will be available at the discounted price from 3:30 to 7:30.
Thursday from 3:30 on, Sauza Coronaritas are $10. Friday from 3:30 to 7:30, Dos Equis Amber drafts are $4. Finally, on Saturday, a live mariachi band will be playing from 4 to 5 PM, and Sauza Plata shots are $5 all day.
Tortilla Coast Logan Circle
The sponsored celebrations start early at the Logan Circle outpost of this popular Tex-Mex spot. On Wednesday, Dos Equis beers will be available at the happy hour discount all day long. Also advertised: the opportunity to have your photo taken with a cutout of the Most Interesting Man in the World.
On Thursday from 3:30 to 7, prizes will be handed out to those opting for margaritas made with Cazadores tequila. (Cinco de Mayo fun fact: "Cazadores" means hunters, thus the antlered creature adorning the Cazadores bottle.)
Friday from 4 to 7, you can have a Cointreau Noir (Cointreau + cognac)-enhanced margarita made tableside. On Saturday, TCLC introduces a new margarita: the Tanteo Jalapeño, made with jalapeño-infused tequila, agave syrup, and fresh lime juice.
What better way to celebrate Cinco than with a trip to the mall, right? The Tysons Galleria location of national chain Wildfire is doing a $30 brunch featuring chilaquiles, an al pastor steak burrito, and horchata french toast. Each course is paired with a cocktail, so be sure to plan your transportation accordingly.