Philadelphia may be far from Mexico, but this city still has its fair share of Mexican bars and restaurants. See below for some of the best spots to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.
3945 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Iron Chef Jose Garces’ Distrito is known for serving authentic Mexican street food and tapas that can be found in what locals call the “Distrito Federal.” This West Philly joint has a tequila bar and lounge along along with a lively and colorful dining room. Come in May 5 starting at 11:30 a.m. for $5 margaritas, $3 select draft beers, $2 tecates and $5 “Mexican-style” city wides (a shot of tequila and a modelo especial!). The party starts at 6 p.m. featuring a DJ, Corona Girls and giveaways.
121 S. 13th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Stephen Starr’s El Vez is a popular Mexican spot in Midtown Village and is guaranteed to attract a lot of customers on Cinco de Mayo. Make sure you try one of the eatery’s six varieties of guacamole, like the de la hoya, made with roasted garlic, white onion and basil. In truth, everything on the menu is sure to please, from tacos and enchiladas to nachos and salads. El Vez also makes great drinks like margaritas and sangria. Before heading home, make sure to snap a few pictures in the photo booth.
Johnny Manana’s is a colorful Mexican restaurant located in the East Falls section of Philadelphia. Starting at 4 p.m., a live DJ will light up the dance floor and the Corona girls will make an appearance with special giveaways. The party ends at 11 p.m., but you’ll have plenty of time before that to indulge in Johnny Manana’s popular $5 margaritas, which come in many different flavors including classic, pomegranate and mango. The kitchen serves delicious Mexican fare, burritos, fajitas and tacos.
Jose Pistola’s is a Mexican restaurant and bar located in Center City serving great food and drinks. Its menu contains traditional Mexican and Tex-Mex inspired foods, like guacamole, tacos, fish tacos, burritos and salsa. Drink wise, enjoy a good selection of international beers, tequila, margaritas and sangria. This place offers a down-to-earth vibe and a comfortable environment and, since they are open until 2 a.m., most of your night can be spent imbibing in one spot.
McGillin’s Olde Ale House
1310 Drury St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
An Irish pub may not be the first place you think of to head to for Cinco de Mayo, but McGillin’s Olde Ale House is doing it up right with plenty of Cinco de Mayo specials — with an Irish twist. This popular pub, which is known for being the oldest continually operating tavern in Philly after opening in 1860, serves Malibu Bay breezes, specialty cocktails, beers, margaritas, daiquiris and rum runners all day long. Food wise, this joint will serve a rotating list of Irish-Mexican inspired foods including Irish Chimachangas, burgers con queso and Corona battered fish and chips.
Kelly Neilson is a freelance writer living and working in Philadelphia. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.