Cinco de Mayo is almost upon us, offering up a daylong smorgasbord of margaritas, tacos and other celebratory Mexican fare. Still looking for a place to get liquored up on Monday? Peruse this list of party ideas, and prepare your call-out-sick excuse for Tuesday, when the tequila exacts its vicious revenge.
JOE ALLEN: Victor Flores, executive chef of this famed Hell's Kitchen eatery, hails from tiny southern Mexican town Tixtla Gerrero. And to celebrate this day of freedom, Flores is whipping up a special menu packed with his favorite Mexican cocktails and dishes. Try a $12 Mezcalita de Pina, a mezcal & pineapple margarita made with chili, lime, salt, or a $12 glass of white sangria made with apples, oranges and muscat grapes. Small plates like ceviche campechano ($15), made with leche de tigre, shrimp, crab meat, oysters and clams, are also on deck, along with entrees like Pescado Tikin Xic ($20), grilled spiced-rubbed mahi mahi served with refried beans, green rice, pickled onion, avocado and a crispy tortilla. Make your reservation through the restaurant.
BODEGA NEGRA: This popular Mexican restaurant, located in Dream Downtown in Chelsea, will be serving up some specialty margaritas and funky dishes for Cinco de Mayo—try a frozen guava margarita ($13) made with mezcal, Maestro Dobel Tequila and guave puree, and Peking duck tacos ($15). Cinco de Mayo also coincides with their weekly "Loco Mondays" dinner party, which kicks off at 10 p.m. and includes live music and entertainment.
EMPELLÓN: Empellón is hosting Cinco de Mayo celebrations at both its East Village restaurant and West Village tacqueria, so you've got a few options for feasting and boozing. Empellón Cocina will offer a 3-course dinner menu culling from some of its classic dishes. The $55-per-person dinner includes UNLIMITED wine, beer and margaritas, so you'll be tottering down 1st Ave in a tequila haze in no time. Empellón Tacqueria is offering the same $55 unlimited deal on Monday, and on Sunday they're pregaming Cinco de Mayo with a special two-course brunch menu that also includes an open bar—you can make a reservation for brunch online.
LOURO: This West Village spot's taking a break will be holding a Tacos & Tequila pop-up from 5 p.m. to midnight, serving creative tacos and drink deals all night. Tacos run 3 for $5, and include offbeat fillings like crispy pig’s ear, goat and lamb's tongue, along with usual suspects like short rib and rock shrimp. Classic, pomegranate and jalapeño margaritas are $8 per glass, $25 by pitcher, or you can treat your whole table to a 15 taco and pitcher of margarita deal for $35; there will also be Mexican beers available for $4 to $6, and tequila shots for $5 to $6.
TEQUILA PARK: Hudson Hotel rooftop lounge Tequila Park is opening for the season this week, and to celebrate its springtime grand opening, they're throwing a Cinco de Mayo party. Starting at 6 p.m., the bar will be handing out Mexi-Cola cocktails, Raspberry Jalapeño Margaritas and a wide a variety of creative tacos, like Kimchi Shrimp, fried oyster po' boy and Pork Carnitas, to name a few. There will also be live mariachi music; RSVP through Tequila Park.
W NEW YORK DOWNTOWN: FiDi spot the W New York-Downtown is tossing an added twist into its Cinco de Mayo celebrations by giving a lucky drinker a trip to Mexico. Stop by Monday night and order $12 vendado, made with mezcal, lime juice, kiwi and peppermint—the drink comes served with a mini Piñata, and one of those bad boys harbors a two-night stay in the W Mexico City within its ruffled papier-mâchéd shell.