It’s that time of the year again, Cinco de Mayo, the 5th of May, a day commemorating the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla. Today, Cinco de Mayo has largely evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage throughout the United States. To help prepare for your celebration, whether you may be in search of mariachis, margaritas or piñatas, here is a local guide to New York City’s best Mexican bars.
Tortilla Flats: If a dive bar existed inside a piñata, you would have Tortilla Flats, a bar that remains festive year-round with neon lights, tinsel and assorted knick knacks covering every free inch on the walls. At $5 off every pitcher from 4pm-7pm, you can work your way through the extensive list of flavored margaritas. Tortilla Flats always draws a large crowd on Cinco de Mayo, even when the weather allows for spillover onto the outdoor patio, so get your spot early.
767 Washington Street at West 12th St.
Noon-2am (Kitchen closes at Midnight)
Mayahuel: An upscale setting that elevates the art of tequila drinking, Mayahuel captures the romanticized essence of a Mexico from another time. The intimate drinking den offers bar seating, cozy enclosed nooks reminiscent of confessionals and long low-lying benches broken into small seating areas by carefully placed cocktail tables. The drink list holds true to the bar’s authenticity, featuring tequila flights, tequila-based cocktails and an assortment of Mexican beers. The bar is best suited for couples or small groups, but arrive early or expect a wait because reservations are not accepted.
304 E. 6th St. between 1st Ave. & 2nd Ave.
La Palapa: Both locations of La Palapa offer flowing, open-air layouts that allow you to enjoy a nice day even if the patio is filled. Grab a seat at the bar between 4pm-7pm to take advantage of Happy Hour deals that include 2-for-1 margaritas and sangria. Take it a step further and add a complimentary Mezcal floater to your margarita. To help soak up all those drink deals, be sure to sample the Mexico City-style cooking.
East Village: 77 St. Marks (8th St.) between 1st Ave. & 2nd Ave.
West Village: 359 Ave of the Americas (6th Ave.) between W. 4th St. & Washington Place
Mercadito Avenue B: A casual, wood-thatched bar that gives off a beach shack feel, Mercadito is featuring a special Cinco de Mayo tasting menu for $30 per person at each of its locations that will feature a guacamole tasting, the choice of a botana or ceviche tasting and a taco tasting. Wash down the special menu with a tequila punch. If the bar is full, you can try your luck getting in at either of its two other New York City outposts.
Mercadito Avenue B: 179 Ave. B between 11th St. & 12th St.
Mercadito Grove: 100 7th Ave. South at Grove St.
Mercadito Cantina: 172 Ave. B between 10th St. & 11th St.