Despite the fact that Cinco de Mayo is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, it’s evolved into a big deal in the U.S. where we celebrate Mexican culture and, uh, the fact that in 1862 the Mexican army defeated the French army at the Battle of Puebla. (Yeah, sorry, but Cinco de Mayo is not actually Mexican Independence Day; that happens on September 16.) And how do we celebrate this feat? By eating and drinking, of course. Here are 14 places to get the party started with margaritas and more.
Cadillac Bar & Grill
Cadillac Bar & Grill is celebrating ALL day long, starting at 6 a.m. with a live radio broadcast. There will be a mariachi band from 1 to 5 p.m., a dance performance from 5 to 7 p.m., a live salsa band, and a DJ. Make a reservation here.
Cinco de Mayo Festival
If you don’t get your fill of celebrating on May 5, then head to the Mission on Saturday, May 7 for the official SF Cinco de Mayo Festival where there will be Mexican and Latino foods, music, and dance, and artistry. Just know going in: this is a family-friendly (read: alcohol-free) event.
The Conservatory of Flowers
Golden Gate Park
Experience a magical evening “under glass” at the Conservatory of Flowers’ annual gala celebrating the opening of its new exhibit “The Wild Bunch: Succulents, Cacti & Fat Plants.” This is a rare opportunity to experience the venue at night and there will be a Cinco de Mayo theme with bars and tasting stations throughout the lush interior and entertainment by Reyna y su Trio, and more. Cocktail attire with a Cinco de Mayo theme encouraged.
Copita Tequileria y Comida
This contemporary Mexican restaurant in Sausalito is adding new dishes to the menu for the holiday like Cochinita Pibil Baby Back Pork Ribs (refried black beans and pickled vegetables, half-rack), Habanero Chicken Wings, and Roasted Pork Belly in achiote adobo tacos, and is also offering a Margarita Tasting Flight for $18.
Dirty Water is opening its al fresco dining area just in time for Cinco de Mayo and will be offering tequila, mezcal, and lesser known Mexican spirits, like Sotols, Bacanoras and Raicillas, available by the flight. Make a reservation here.
You can be sure that the backyard at El Rio will be packed on Cinco de Mayo. Happy hour runs from 1 to 8 p.m. and includes $4 well drinks and draft beers but considering the bartenders make a mean margarita, you’ll probably want to order a bunch of those.
Get there early (like at 4pm when it opens and happy hour starts) to snag a spot on Lolinda’s rooftop where you can feast on Latin American street food and a pitcher of margaritas.
Head to Hecho for some of the best margaritas in town (we love the Pinche Picante with jalapeno-infused tequila) and starters (made-to-order guac, queso, and nachos) to share.
For one night only, this Michelin star restaurant becomes El Toque with a $75 five-course Mexican dinner that benefits the Puertas Abiertas Community Center. This dinner will sell out so call 707-257-5157 to make your reservation.
La Urbana is opening up their private dining room to make extra space for Cinco de Mayo revelers and will be serving tacos, tortas, and margarita specials from 11:30 a.m. until 11 p.m.
Novela is going big for Cinco de Mayo with giveaways, special Lunazul cocktails, and special Cinco de May dishes (hello tacos!) all night long. The party starts at 4 p.m. and goes until close. Make a reservation here.
Go to the bar at 5:30 for happy hour and creative (and tasty) tequila drinks and then head to the restaurant for a sophisticated Cinco de Mayo dinner (the ceviche and goat tacos are not to be missed).
Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant
Tommy’s is known for two things: 1.) The best margaritas in SF and 2.) An extensive tequila selection. Those are the only reasons you need to head all the way to the Outer Richmond to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
It’s the 10th annual Cinco de Mayo celebration at TRES, so get ready for an all-day party that starts at 11 a.m. The Fog City Wrestlers will be battling it out in a ring all day and the outdoor patio will be open and serving food from the TRES taco truck. Starting at 6 p.m., there will be live Mariachi bands, stilt walkers, and aerialists, along with a DJ. And yes, of course, there will be plenty of drink specials and a photo booth so you can remember it all the next day.
Uno Dos Tacos
There’ll be a lively party going down on Uno Dos Tacos’ patio with pitcher of margaritas, buckets of cervaza, photos booths, and giveaways. Oh, and happy hour goes ALL DAY LONG, so you can get started as soon as it opens at 7 a.m.
West of Pecos
A Southwestern-inspired restaurant and bar known for its killer queso and cocktails, West of Pecos has been a popular destination to celebrate Cinco de Mayo over the past few years. What makes it even better? A mechanical bull. Yes, you read that right, a mechanical bull. Grab your friends and head over for what could be the best ride Cinco de Mayo in San Francisco has to offer. Make a reservation here.