Now that spring has sprung and the weather is slowly getting warmer, you may find yourself once again looking for things to do in NYC. The good news is, Cinco de Mayo is coming! This means that there will be an endless amount of choices for you to make regarding this one, single day. There are a variety of things to do, whether you want to party hard or simply show your support for Mexico and acknowledge the Battle of Puebla, there’s something for everyone!
A Step Above a Siesta
For those of you who want to take it easy and simply enjoy a few cocktails in swanky surroundings, these suggestions are for you.
Bodega Negra is a tequila bar and restaurant, located at the Dream Downtown on West 16th street. Built to look like a tequila warehouse, it is not only notable for its great selection of tequila, but also for the killer food. A great place to people watch with friends or an even better location to impress your date.
Designed to look like a street in Mexico, Tacombi Nolita delivers staples with a subtle twist (the twist mostly being that they’re delicious).
Photo Credit: Tacombi Nolita
For those looking for “Cinco de Mayo Food”, this should be a stop on your list. The heritage of this restaurant is represented by a VW van, out of which they now make some of the food. Cocktails are basic, stick to cerveza and you’ll blend in with this cool crowd.
Agave boasts a wide selection of tequilas (some would say an overwhelming amount. This place is for tequila aficionados and the people that love them. The food on offer lives up to the hype: not the most affordable place in town, but nothing that will break the bank. Frankly the food is worth it; try the Costillas and you won’t be sorry.
If you’re on the hunt for light Cinco de Mayo food, dig into the tapas at Boqueria. Bring a few friends and try as much as possible. One of the few places offering Rose and seasonal sangrias. Though the cocktail list is brief, the endless food options make up for it. Also, not a bad place to see and be seen.
For serious tequila drinkers who are looking to create a one-man Cinco de Mayo party, look no further than La Biblioteca.
Photo Credit: La Biblioteca
This tequila bar and lounge boasts 400 bottles to choose from and a “Reverse Happy Hour” on Tuesday nights starting at 9:30. Fingers crossed for Cinco de Mayo falling on a Tuesday in ensuing years! A swank place to show off your tequila knowledge or to acquire new information; after all, this isn’t called La Biblioteca for nothing.
Tradition, Family, and Friends
Some people like to actually immerse themselves in Mexican culture and recognize the historical significance of Cinco De Mayo. Sure, it’s no tequila bar or yacht party, but it’s a damn good time. If you are one of the more serious types reading this guide, you should check out the Festival 5 de Mayo in Spanish Harlem.
Two stages, live music, authentic food and a celebration of folklore. This party gets started at 10am and doesn’t clear out until 6pm. Thousands of people are drawn to this free festival every year. Join this daylong Cinco de Mayo party on 116th street.
All Out Barn-Burners
If you are like most people, on Cinco de Mayo, you want to party like it’s 1862 at all the bars in New York. Unfortunately, you will have to pace yourself and make a few hard choices. What follows is a list of hard core Cinco de Mayo parties where you can drink and dance until you retreat like the French Army.
The Power 105 Cinco de Mayo Yacht Party is no joke: Set sail at 11:30pm and return around 3:30am. Thankfully, this holiday falls on a Friday, so no work hangovers necessary! If you’re a fan of Power 105, their DJ’s will be spinning into the early morning hours. On top of all this, ticket options include a drink, bottle service, or bottle and hookah service. Sure, Hookah’s are not Mexican, but neither is a bottle of Grey Goose (which is on offer). If you want to keep it real, stick to the Patron.
If you like to get your partying done earlier in the day (beauty rest is important!), then check out Hot 97’s Daytime Yacht Party. This bash starts as soon as you get out of work (6:30pm) and ends at 11pm. Ticket options are the same as the Power 105 party, so expect hookahs. Again, Grey Goose and Patron are on offer. Since you’ll be locked into this party for hours, it wouldn’t hurt to stake out some territory and spring for a table.
If you prefer to party on dry land, there are plenty of bars in New York to choose from. One of them is Haven Rooftop. Their annual Cinco de Mayo party offers $5 tequila shots, Micheladas, and frozen Margaritas all night long. Reserve a table for your comfort or prepare to stand your ground at the bar.
Mad Dog & Beans Mexican Cantina is offering FREE tequila & cerveza tastings from 4-9pm.
Photo credit: Time Out New York
They claim to be the Cinco de Mayo headquarters; head over and investigate their claim. They also have giveaways going on all night long. A good reason to hang out and test their beverage offerings. Guaranteed to be a wild night.
Often, the endless amount of New York bars can be overwhelming. Having to narrow down your choices is made easier if it is a special event (like Cinco de Mayo). Knowing which hot spots are the best for guzzling tequila or dancing the night away makes life a little easier. The above list is a great place to start when researching your Cinco de Mayo party options. Whether you’re a laid-back person with a taste for fine spirits, someone who enjoys cultural traditions, or you just want to party your ass off, there is something on the above list for everyone. No matter how you end up celebrating Cinco de Mayo, take a cue from the Mexican Army and remember that quality is always better than quantity.
Interested in some history on Cinco de Mayo? Check out this video!