Cinco de Mayo isn’t Mexico’s Independence Day (September 16), nor is it National Margarita Day (February 22). Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over the French in 1862, but if you didn’t know that, don’t feel too bad. The important thing to know is come May 5, it’s time to break out the mezcal and let the fiesta begin.
The beauty of Cinco de Mayo is, unlike most commercial holidays, you aren’t expected to spend the day with your family. Instead, you’re expected to spend 24 straight hours gorging on Mexican cuisine and washing it all down with tequila, mezcal, Margaritas, Palomas, raicilla—pretty much anything made from agave, with maybe a few Tecates thrown in for good measure. And there’s no place better to celebrate Cinco de Mayo (outside of Mexico, of course) than the ultimate party city: good ol’ New York. To celebrate this year’s Cinco in proper fashion, we charted a map of the best festive Mexican bars and restaurants in and around the Big Apple. From mezcalerias to cocktail lounges, here are the nine best spots to celebrate Cinco in New York City.