Where to eat and drink on Cinco de Mayo: Houston's favorite bars and restaurants fire up feisty fiestas
It's time for Houstonians to celebrate the historic day on May 5, 1862. That date marks the Mexican army's pivotal defeat of the French army at the Battle of Puebla, during the Franco-Mexican War. Contrary to popular perception, May 5 is not Mexican Independence Day, but Cinco de Mayo is a time-honored calendar date in the U.S.
And it's a time to party. Here in Houston, that means local bars, clubs, and restaurants will serve up Mexican fare, beer, and mucho margaritas. Here are some favorite spots for a serious Cinco de Mayo celebration. Fiesta safely, Houston.
Legendary River Oaks hot spot/see-and-be-scene hang Armandoskicks things off on Thursday, May 4 with the restaurant's now-legendary, anything-goes, late-night dance party.
The fiesta continues on Cinco de Mayo proper, with one more late-night bash a DJ spinning danceable tunes. Indulge in classic sips or the extravagant River Oaks Rita ($46), made with Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia Tequila, Patron Citronge, fresh lime juice, agave, a house-made “green” salt rim, and a 24-carat gold lime slice.
Tacos A Go Go is spicing things up with irresistible specials and a party on the patio at its Greenway Plaza location. Taco lovers can head to any of the four locations to enjoy $5 elote street corn, $2 Mexican sandy shots, $5 Ranch Water or a bucket of 6 for $25. 7 am.
The five Los Tios bustling locations will serve an all-day happy hour, featuring the famous $5 house margaritas, $6 gold margaritas, plus $1 off beers, plus merch giveaways. Those near the flagship San Felipe location can enjoy a Cinco de Mayo Parking Lot Party from 2 pm to close. Those festivities include a DJ, mariachi, a live donkey for photo opps, food, and more.
Over at Home Run Dugout, enjoy $4 Mexican Beers, $4 Mexican candy shots and $12 margarita flights. Stick around for live music by Los Cool Arrows, starting at 7 pm, and surprise contests with your chance to win a Home Run Dugout gift card. 11 am.
Hilton Americas-Houston will offer a Tacos and Tequila pairing. Enjoy two Blackened Gulf Snapper tacos with avocado crema and charred jalapeño lime slaw and a Classic Margarita with House Tequila for $25. Available at Lobby Bar and 1600 Bar + Grille.
All the Molina’s Cantina locations will have $6.50 Molina’s margaritas during happy hour and mariachis from 6 to 8 pm. To eat, choose from grilled fajitas with beef, chicken, or combo. 11 am.
The Rustic will have live music, drink specials, food features and more! This free event will also feature $5 margaritas (frozen or rocks), $5 Dos Esquis drafts, and $20 Dos Esquis beer buckets. 11 am.
Over at The Union Kitchen's Memorial location, indulge in a mouth-watering three-course dinner for $60, and savor the flavors of Mexico. 11 am.
Chic Montrose Italian steakhouse Marmo will serve up the Margherite ($18), a special, off-menu cocktail featuring Corazón Blanco tequila, cantaloupe, honey, and smoked salt. 11 am.
Axelrad will feature two drinks with Gimmie Gomas, a locally made chamoy. Customers can also enjoy $1 off margaritas all day and enjoy live music starting at 7pm from Mariachi Imperial de America and Andrea Mariachi. Noon.
The party is always brewing at Axelrad. Photo by Jamaal Vince Photography
Authentic Mexican eatery Arnaldo Richards’ Picos— or Picos, as it's commonly known — will celebrate outside in the parking lot underneath a 50-foot tent from noon to 11 pm. Look for a cash bar full of Cinco de Mayo drinks and margaritas, a food station offering street tacos, ballpark nachos, and guacamole and chips for purchase, and more. Tunes come courtesy of two DJs and a mariachi band from 6-7 pm. Be sure to grab the goodies and swag. Noon.
Heights Thai favorite Kin Deewill shake it up with two, award-winning margaritas — with a buy two, get one free special from 5 pm to 6:30 pm. Try a sweet and spicy Tom Kha Margarita ($18), featuring Don Julio Blanco, lime juice, Thai herb-infused syrup inspired by the famous Tom Khaki soup, and a kick of galangal. The Butterfly Pea Margarita ($18) is made with Don Julio Silver, Cointreau, fresh lime, and butterfly tea infused with lemongrass syrup.
La Grange will open early, with DJ Blue Heron Yacht Club providing tunes from 7 pm to midnight. The Montrose hotspot will also serve up a special cocktail, called Millionaire Margarita, for $25. Noon.
Downtown favorite El Big Bad's 13th annual blowout will feature liquid nitrogen frozen margaritas — touted as “the coldest frozen margaritas on the planet” — along with $5 house margaritas all night long. In addition, the night will offer a holiday market, face painting, and DJs. The party continues on May 6 with a charity pub crawl (3-7 pm) that benefits MuXerHTX. 1 pm.
Kirby Ice House will celebrate the festive holiday in style with tequila, margaritas, and Mexican beer buckets all day and night. Partygoers who stop by the Memorial or Eastside locations can also enjoy the mariachi bands that will be onsite. Happy hour specials run from 2-7 pm.
The Heights Social will have festive Cinco de Mayo-themed drinks, a special kitchen menu and featured deals on bottles of tequila. A DJ will join the festivities in the evening. 3 pm.
Warehouse 72 will have chef Jaime Salazar’s special, four-course Tres Generaciones Tequila dinner for $99 a person. Enjoy dishes like aguachile de atun, sopes de pollo ahumado, wagyu carne asada, and tres leches cake for dessert. 3 pm.
Bar Louie is offering $7 Dos Sauza margaritas, plus guests can also enjoy the brand-new Rock & Rita on this special holiday. Pair these refreshing drinks with 50% off bar bites such as the trio dips & chips, chicken quesadillas, and other flavorful options. 4 pm.
Cadillac Bar will have a party DJ, along with a mariachi band so you can enjoy live music all night long and dance the night away. There will also be a taco stand with street tacos, cantina nachos, chips & queso, and chips & salsa. 4 pm.
East End Backyard will have a fiesta with music, food, and drinks. Enjoy tacos, tortas, gorditas, quesadillas, and more from La Esquina Food Truck. Mariachi Houston will also stop by to play some of your favorite classic songs. 4 pm.
Hilton Americas-Houston will have a tacos and tequila pairing at the lobby bar and 1600 Bar + Grille. Enjoy two blackened Gulf snapper tacos with avocado crema and charred jalapeno lime slaw and a classic margarita with house tequila for $25. 4 pm.
Houston Cinema Arts Societyis teaming up with The Storyhive for "Cinco de Hive-o" bash. Join them for an evening of entertainment featuring Folklorico dance by Ballet Folklorico Herencia Mexicana de Houston, a photo booth, and some fantastic raffle prizes. 5 pm.
Urban South HTX will have a celebration, with a DJ, a taco truck, beer releases, a michelada vendor, a Mexican candy vendor, and more. Also, sign up to paint your very own canterito to take home. 5 pm.
Down on Allen Parkway, Flora will celebrate with festive decor, $8 Flora margaritas, and free pours of Santanera Tequila. In addition, its private dining room will become the Frida Patio Bar. 6-10 pm.