Francamente, no one in San Antonio needs a list to find margaritas on Cinco de Mayo. Everyone is mixing up tequila and lime drinks to celebrate. The holiday has spiraled out from its military roots, initially commemorating victory over France in the Battle of Puebla in 1862, and most currently representing some United States rendition of Mexican joy.
Texans have a unique privilege as some of Mexico’s closest U.S. neighbors; an opportunity to interact with actual Mexican and Mexican-American culture on a daily basis, and absolute Mexican camp on May 5.
The following are six San Antonio spots getting in the Cinco de Mayo spirit with parties and specials that go beyond a margarita happy hour. Whether this year it feels like a tamales holiday or a burgers and beer holiday, locals have another fun opportunity to learn about and celebrate our Mexican friends and family.
If a trip to the Pacific Coast feels a little out of reach, one coastal restaurant in town offers an all-day getaway. Costa Pacifica is augmenting its usual seaside fare with special food and drink options to celebrate, including margaritas, beer, and shots of Milagro tequila (priced at $3.99 for happy hour). There will be three hours of live music sets starting at 4 pm, then an hour of Mariachi Oro y Plata, and karaoke until 10 pm. The restaurant even has a page on the website to discuss the history of the holiday.
Live music at a local restaurant is standard for Cinco de Mayo, but live music is always bigger on the big stage at The Rustic. Its annual event will include $20 Modelo beer buckets, tacos by Joe Leo, mariachi and other live music. It’ll be decked out in colorful decor, and promises photo ops, including mini beer burros who will be visiting and making the rounds like two adorable waiters. Happy hour starts at 3 pm and runs until 6 pm, with festivities until around 9 pm.
An Austin contribution to the San Antonio food scene and over-the-top burgers, Hopdoddy, is bringing back a “fan favorite” Mexican burger for the month of May, starting on Wednesday, May 4. The Bidi Bidi Burger is a cross between a burger and a tostada (layered with entire intact tostadas the size of the burger itself). That’s topped with two cheeses (pepper jack by Tillamook, and cotija), a black bean spread, pico de gallo and shredded lettuce, and seasoned with chipotle aioli, guacamole crema and cilantro.
If you didn’t get enough of the constant circus that is Market Square during Fiesta, head back for special Cinco de Mayo programming. This time the market is open Saturday and Sunday, with live bands and mariachi (in past years, a competition), and a Folklorico dance performance. Then, of course, there will be the usual working artist and food booths, who will surely be in the holiday spirit. Sometimes the best holiday plans are about seeing places you’re used to … just a little different.
Tony’s Siesta is not messing around this Cinco de Mayo, with its 5 Days of Cinco party. The first day, May 1, was a pig roast collaboration with four barbecuers. Other events include the Blood In Blood Out Trivia Night and karaoke, Industry Night, Cholo STAR WARS Loteria y Costume Party, and on May 5 … who knows? Head over to their Instagram or Facebook for more information on daily events as they come out. Tony’s is known for great cocktails and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.
Chicken N Pickle
One of the great things about this holiday is the absence of one agreed-upon traditional activity. If your Cinco de Mayo includes pickleball, it sounds like you’re really doing it right. Chicken N Pickle will host a street taco cookout on May 5, with all bites coming fresh off the grill: chicken tinga, carnitas, burnt ends tacos, and elote cups. Margaritas will be made with Una Vida tequila. Book a court ahead of time at chickennpickle.com. The venue has events most days, from trivia nights to watch parties for big sports games.