Cinco de Mayo is a celebration that deserves a margarita or two. The history of Cinco de Mayo is alive and well on this holiday, when the amazing defeat of French forces was pulled off by the smaller Mexican militia at the Battle of Puebla. What better way to commemorate than to immerse yourself in the merriment that has come to define the holiday, as well as Mexican influence of Minnesotan culture? Check out these Mexican and Mexican-influenced bars for the real party on Cinco de Mayo.
2539 Nicollet Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Named for the legend of Pancho Villa, a Robin Hood-like character and a national hero from the Mexican revolution, the bar and restaurant seems an obvious choice for Cinco de Mayo celebrations. The extensive list of margaritas, from the Pancho’s Horse made with Jimador, Jarritos grapefruit soda and lime juice to the Villa’s Pistol made with 1800, melon liqueor, pineapple juice and lemon/lime soda, are all worth trying, and the bar’s lively atmosphere will keep the party going late into the night.
1070 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Classic Mexican fare is featured in an upscale setting at Masa. Sure, it’s a sleek spot from the D’Amico family in downtown Minneapolis, certainly not the first thing you would think of when talking about Cinco de Mayo, but you will forget all about that once you try some of the top-shelf margaritas, especially the Tradicional. As the name implies, it is a classic margarita, but it’s not your average sweet and sour, splash of triple sec and Cuervo margarita. Made with fresh citrus and house-made sour, it’s exactly the margarita you want for this holiday.
El Burrito Mercado
175 Cesar Chavez St.
St. Paul, MN 55107
Also one of the best restaurants for Cinco de Mayo, the colorful bar in the back of the building, tucked away from the grocery store, baked goods and deli, is waiting to take you far away from St. Paul. Walk through the obscure doorway and you’ll find yourself in Cancun. You could spend your whole evening in the bar, watching the celebration outside of the front window while sipping on 25-ounce mugs of Pacifico or handcrafted margaritas. This bar, even without the amazing food offered, will be party central on the fifth of May.
36 Dale St. S.
St. Paul, MN 55102
For the best in drink and food specials, La Cucaracha offers classics at reduced prices, and simply some of the best margaritas in town. The bright, lively interior is sure to be packed with revelers eating, drinking and dancing to the live mariachi band. The wide bar has plenty of room for everyone. While far from St. Paul’s major Cinco de Mayo celebration, it’s worth traveling up to Grand Avenue for tasty eats and tequila treats.
429 S. Robert St.
St. Paul, MN 55107
Never heard of this little District del Sol dive? That’s okay. Come Cinco de Mayo, the place will be packed with locals enjoying the holiday and the stiff drinks at the bar. On Robert Street, with downtown St. Paul looming right across the bridge, El Alamo’s unassuming exterior belies the character inside. While St. Paul’s wild Cinco de Mayo party rages on the streets outside, step into the Alamo to get a true taste of the neighborhood.
Related: Best Margaritas In Minnesota
Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at Examiner.com, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.