Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of the underdog, marking the day in 1862 when the small and ill-equipped Mexican Army rose up and did a number on the French at the Battle of Puebla. For once, this was a battle the English weren’t involved in (typically, we were right in the middle of the war until two years before, when we noticed the French had some pretty grim demands for the Juarez government so we upped sticks and left), but that makes this celebration of Mexican culture all the more exciting. A war that wasn’t us! Let’s get the beers in.
So get your Mexican game on and visit some of the finest South American joints in London on May 5…
Unit 1, Brixton Village, 48 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8PR
Jalisco is a proper, family-run restaurant that has been serving up tacos in Brixton for the best part of a decade, so you know you’ll be getting the real deal here. On May 5, they’ll be dishing out their famous tacos on a two-for-£5 deal and two margaritas will set you back a tenner. Add that to an afternoon of live music and you’ve got yourselves a party.
May 5, 12-10pm
4 Kingdom St, London W2 6PY
Pergola Paddington is being transformed for 2022 into a Mexican party oasis, inspired by the bohemian essence of Tulum. That means palm trees, tropical plants, beach furniture and cabanas... oh, and plenty of Mexican cocktails. Margaritas, frozen cocktails, lots of tequila and ice-cold Coronas to wash it all down with. Latin-inspired food comes courtesy of Crudo Cevicheria and Dos May Tacos and tropical, tribal dance music will fill the air. As you can probably tell, that's not a photograph up there - Pergola Paraiso wasn't open at the time of writing, but is due to fling open its doors on Bank Holiday weekend, which means you can be one of the first to visit London's coolest new terrace and celebrate Cinco de Mayo in a Mexican-themed party palace. How's that for a double whammy?
30a Kingsland High Street, London E8 2LQ
Kraft aren’t hanging around with their celebrations - they’ll be offering Mexican cocktails, frozen margaritas and flights of tequila for a whole week starting Mon 2, which means you can sneak a Bank Holiday session in before going bank to work in a haze of tequila and STILL have time for a repeat visit later in the week.
May 2 - 8
2 Farmer Street, London W8 7SN
Having opened in the summer of 2021, this will be the first Cinco De Mayo for Japanese-Mexican fusion restaurant, Los Mochis, and they’re going all-out with a day-long fiesta to celebrate.
Sure, it’s not entirely traditional Mexican food, but if Miso Black Cod Tacos or Gringo Lobster doesn’t pique your interest, then you might just be dead inside.
On fiesta day they’ll be serving up specials including spicy salmon and sort shell crab tacos, while Tommy’s Margaritas and Pink Hot Chilli Palomas will be half price.
Tobacco Dock, E1W 2SF
Tequila has long been the drink most associated with Mexico by us gringos, but there’s a new pretender in town, and Mezcal has been quietly growing in popularity over the last few years. Technically speaking, tequila is a type of mezcal, much like bourbon is a type of whiskey, but where tequila can only be made from blue agave, there are no rules when it comes to mezcal and you’ll find plenty of wildly different varieties to try here. More than 20 tequila and mezcal producers have been invited to Tobacco Dock, where you’ll be able to meet the makers and sample their wares. There’s also a cocktail bar and Mirror Margarita bar, so you certainly won’t go thirsty.
Casamigos x Breddos supperclub
Nola’s, 11 Goods Way, King’s Cross, N1C 4DP
Goods Way in Kings Cross is putting together a series of supper clubs by the good and the great of London’s culinary scene and they’re kicking things off with two nights of Mexican celebrations. Tequila experts Casamigos are bringing the liquids and taco maestros Breddos supply the sustenance - a match made in heaven. For £60, you’ll be served a five-course menu with drinks in the speakeasy surroundings of Nola’s bar.
At the time of writing this article, there were still tickets available but with only 20 per night, they won’t be around for long - grab them while you can!
May 5-6, £60
5 Mercer Walk, Mercers Yard, WC2H 9FA
OK, so Temper’s not a Mexican restaurant, but meat cooked over flames is a winner in every language, and their Cinco de Mayo celebrations have a Mariachi band, which instantly makes it worthy of a visit. There’ll be five special, Mexican dishes and £5 Margaritas, so grab yourself a cocktail, head for the terrace and imagine you’re in the heart of Mexico City.
Tables won’t hang around forever, so get yourself booked in to be on the safe side.
378 Kingsland Rd, London E8 4AA
12-14 Market Row, London SW9 8LD
London’s only Agaveria (that’s posh for ‘tequila and mescal bar’) couldn’t possibly be left out of Cinco de Mayo celebrations, and thankfully they’re going to town with it. You can always rely on a place with 25, ever-changing agave spirits alongside a cocktail menu that has seen them win Cocktail of the Year at the CLASS Bar Awards, and their collaboration with kitchen partner, Maiz Azul means your food and drink are on point.
This year, Hacha has gone one step further and enlisted illustrator Kate Hazell to create a bespoke piece of Mexican art inspired by Cinco de Mayo. Each piece of art will come with a limited edition bottle of Pear & Fiery Ginger Mirror Margarita, created by Hacha for the occasion. There’s only 50 available, so get yourself down to one of their bars ASAP to grab yours.