ver in the United States, Cinco de Mayo is a big deal. Although the occasion evokes Mexico’s victory over the French Empire in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, it has since become a bigger affair north of the border – many see it as a celebration of heritage. Mexican within American culture.
On this side of the Atlantic, things are rather discreet. But as is always the case in London, seek and you shall find: and in this case, the prize at the end of this quest will be smooth tequila, terrific tacos and more than one mariachi band.
Taking place both on May 5 itself and the days before and after, here’s our pick of the action, from mezcal masterclasses to Mexican-inspired supper clubs.
More than 20 tequila and mezcal producers will gather on Tobacco Dock in Wapping for this one, celebrating Mexican culture through agave spirits. There will be cocktails at the bar, from margaritas to micheladas, as well as tutored tastings and panel discussions. Each producer will also sell their products, which means that you can take home any new discoveries. Fans of Dalston’s Hacha Bar should also seek out the Mirror Margarita Bar – it serves a range of beers and spirits supplied by Hacha.
From £20, May 7, Tobacco Dock, E1W 2SF, tobaccodocklondon.com
The rooftop Pergola Paddington transforms into a Tulum-inspired beach club for the summer, complete with palm trees and cabanas. Drinks come in the form of margaritas, tequila, and frozen cocktails, while Corona will take care of beers. On the food side, it will be ceviche and Latin American-inspired food from Crudo Cevicheria and tacos from Dos Mas. Reservations are taken, but space is still reserved for walk-ins.
From April 28, 4 Kingdom Street, W2 6PY, pergolapaddington.com/paraiso
There’s a new round of bi-monthly supper clubs coming to the (relatively) new King’s Cross Goods Way spot, and it’s kicking off with a two-day celebration of Cinco de Mayo. Tequila favorites Casamigos and taco supremos Breddos will take over the proceedings at Nola’s, a speakeasy-style bar with a five-course menu each night. Tickets are limited to 20 per night, so hurry if you feel like going.
From £60, May 5-6, 11 Goods Way, King’s Cross, N1C 4DP, designmynight.com
Temper, the mini restaurant chain known for its expertise in cooking meats over a roaring flame, is getting into the Cinco de Mayo act; there will be £5 margaritas from 5pm until closing at its Soho and City spots, but the main event will end in Covent Garden. These discounted 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 spot Kraft Dalston will extend the Cinco de Mayo festivities over an entire week, starting the previous Monday and continuing until the following Sunday. Drop by during this time to sample an array of Mexican-inspired cocktails, brave a tequila flight, or cool down with an icy margarita.
May 2-8, 130a Kingsland High Street, E8 2LQ, kraftdalston.com
Lyra Margarita Roadshow
If you avoid alcohol, you don’t have to completely avoid tequila on Cinco de Mayo. Lyre’s, the non-alcoholic spirits brand, is launching a new non-alcoholic tequila variant and celebrating the fact with a traveling margarita truck. It will roll into Spitalfields Market on May 5, handing out mocktails all day and featuring DJ Fat Tony teetotal tracks from 6pm, before heading to Liverpool Street, Old Street, Covent Garden, Soho, Clapham and Chelsea at the weekend.
From 6 p.m., May 5, Spitalfields Market, lyres.co.uk
And without forgetting…
…Mexican restaurants and bars in London. The capital once had a reputation for quite disappointing Mexican cuisine, but thankfully that has improved in recent years. You can find Michelin-starred dishes at Kol (W1H, kolrestaurant.com), with people like Decimo at the Standard Hotel (WC1, decimo.london) and Saint Remedio (SE1, santoremedio.com) both reliable.
Top notch tacos can be gobbled up at Pastor (various locations, tacoselpastor.co.uk), The Chingada (SE16, lachingada.co.uk), Sound (E8, sonorataqueria.com), Padre Tacos (SE1, tacospadre.com) and Delete 74 (E8, tacosdel74.com), while for a drink, head to the agavera Hacha Bar (E8, hachabar.com) or mezcalito (SW3, mezcalitochelsea.com).