ver in the United States, the Cinco de Mayo is a big thing. Although the occasion speaks of Mexico’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, it has since become a major issue north of the border – many see it as a celebration of Mexican heritage in American culture.
On this side of the Atlantic, things are somewhat more low-key. But as is always the case in London, search and you will find: and in this case, the prize at the end of this mission will be free-flowing tequila, terrific tacos and more than one mariachi band.
Taking place both on May 5th and the days before and after, here is our selection of action, from mezcal master classes to Mexican-inspired dinner clubs.
More than 20 tequila and mezcal producers will meet at Tobacco Dock in Wapping for this one, where they celebrate Mexican culture via agave spirits. There will be cocktails at the bar, from margaritas to micheladas, as well as taught tastings and panel discussions. Each manufacturer will also sell their wares, which means you can take home all the new discoveries. Fans of Dalston’s Hacha Bar should also look for the Mirror Margarita Bar – it serves a range of beers and spirits provided by Hacha.
From £ 20, May 7, Tobacco Dock, E1W 2SF, tobaccodocklondon.com
Pergola Paddington’s rooftop terrace transforms itself into a Tulum-inspired beach club for the summer, complete with palm trees and huts. Drinks come in the form of margaritas, tequila and frozen cocktails, while Corona will suit the beers. On the food front, it will be ceviche and Latin American-inspired grub from Crudo Cevicheria and tacos from Dos Mas. Reservations are accepted, but there is always room for walk-in.
From April 28, 4 Kingdom Street, W2 6PY, pergolapaddington.com/paraiso
There’s a new series of bi-monthly dinner clubs on the way to the (relatively) new King’s Cross-spot Goods Way, and it starts with a two-day Cinco de Mayo celebration. Tequila favorites Casamigos and taco supremos Breddos will take charge of the cases down at Nola’s, an easy-style bar with a five-course menu each evening. Tickets are limited to 20 per night, so be quick if you feel like leaving.
From £ 60, 5.-6. May, 11 Goods Way, King’s Cross, N1C 4DP, designmynight.com
Temper, the mini-chain of restaurants known for its expertise in cooking meat over a roaring flame, is on its way into Cinco de Mayo law; there will be £ 5 margaritas from 6pm. 5pm to close to the Soho and City locations, but the main event will be over in Covent Garden. These cheap cocktails will still be on offer, in addition to five Mexican-inspired dishes and a mariachi band.
May 5, W1F, EC2, WC2, temperrestaurant.com
East London venue Kraft Dalston extends the Cinco de Mayo festivities over an entire week, starting the Monday before and running until the Sunday after. Stop by during that time to sample a variety of Mexican-inspired cocktails, tackle a tequila flight or cool down with a frozen margarita.
May 2-8, 130a Kingsland High Street, E8 2LQ, kraftdalston.com
Lyres Margarita Roadshow
If you avoid alcohol, you do not have to completely eat tequila at Cinco de Mayo. Lyre’s, the non-alcoholic liquor brand, launches a new liquor-free tequila variant and celebrates it with a roaming margarita truck. It rolls into Spitalfields Market on May 5 and hands out non-alcoholic cocktails throughout the day and with the all-time great DJ Fat Tony spinning tracks from 6 p.m. .
From kl. 6 p.m., May 5, Spitalfields Market, lyres.co.uk
And not to forget…
… London’s Mexican restaurants and bars. The capital once had a reputation for rather overwhelming Mexican food, but luckily it has gotten better in recent years. You can find Michelin star dishes at Col. (W1H, kolrestaurant.com), with people like Tenth at Standard Hotel (WC1, decimo.london) and Holy means (SE1, santoremedia.co.uk) both reliably good.
Top class tacos can be enjoyed The shepherd (different places, tacoselpastor.co.uk), Chingada (SE16, lachingada.co.uk), Sonora (E8, sonorataqueria.com), Tacos far (SE1, tacospadre.com) and From 74 (E8, tacosdel74.com), while to get something to drink, head to the agaveria ax bar (E8, hachabar.com) or mezcalito (SW3, mezcalitochelsea.com).