Commonly mistaken for Mexican Independence Day, Cinco de Mayo actually started in California as a way to commemorate Mexico’s defeat of the French army on May 5, 1862. Much bigger in the United States than in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo, or the fifth of May, is recognized throughout the country and is now a celebration of Mexican heritage and culture. For some of the best margaritas and Mexican food you can find, visit the bars listed below.
Cantina Dos Segundos
931 N. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123
Start your day off right at Cantina Dos Segundos for a Mexican brunch, offered daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Just make sure you arrive early, since this Northern Liberties Mexican restaurant has a strict no reservations policy. For the late night crew, the kitchen stays open until 1 a.m. every day and you won’t leave disappointed with its selection of enchiladas, burritos and tacos. The bar has a ton of tequila and, since there are so many to try, Cantina Dos Segundos makes its easy by providing a variety of tequila flights.
3945 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Iron Chef Jose Garcia’s Distrito serves some delicious Mexican tapas in University City. Based off of the cuisine, culture and street food of Mexico City’s federal district (known as the “Distrito Federal”), Distrito restaurant is vibrant, colorful and unique. In fact, the walls are covered in bright pinks and greens and 600 Luchra Libres (wrestling masks) hang from the ceiling. Distrito has over 100 different types of tequila and makes an awesome margarita. If you’re lucky, you’ll score a seat in its Mexican taxi cab, but any seat at Distrito makes for a fun experience.
121 S. 13th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
El Vez is Steven Starr’s Midtown Village venture into innovative and mouth-watering Mexican-American fare. If you like guacamole, this is where you want to be. El Vez serves at least six different varieties, like the “Indian Red Lopez” with crab, cilantro and salsa roja. El Vez is also known for its many margaritas, which are served with fresh lime juice and come in either a glass or pitcher. You also can’t go wrong with the sangrias. Make sure this is a Cinco de Mayo you remember by snapping a few pictures in the photo booth located at the back of the bar.
Related: Top Mariachi Bands In Philadelphia
2538 Welsh Road
Philadelphia, PA 19152
As the name might suggest, Las Margaritas is known for its gigantic margaritas. Try a house margarita with classic flavoring (lime, strawberry, peach) or be adventurous and try a café margarita (made with coffee) or a Chambord margarita (Tequila, triple sec, lime juice, special mix, Chambord). Serving Northeast Philadelphia since 2003, the food and atmosphere is as authentic as one can get. The servings are huge and the menu is extensive, offering up a ton of burritos, tacos and all of the classic Mexican fare. Las Margaritas has drink and food specials daily and May 5 will be no different.
2401 E. Norris St.
Philadelphia, PA 19125
This Fishtown Mexican restaurant and bar was inspired by LA taco trucks and the tacos here are some of the best you can get in Philly. Besides tacos, Loco Pez also serves savory burritos, enchiladas and quesadillas with classic fillings, like carne asada and al pastor. On the beverage side, Loco Pez has more than 25 types of tequilas and makes some killer cocktails. It also has a large selection of Mexican and local beer. Don’t leave your cash at home – it’s the only form of payment accepted.
Kelly Neilson is a freelance writer living and working in Philadelphia. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.