Cinco de Mayo is known throughout the United States as an excuse to drink. However, in Mexico, the holiday actually commemorates the army’s surprise victory over the battle-hardened French. Las Vegas is more than happy to join the celebration with restaurants and tequila bars up and down the Strip. Expect the festivities to be bigger than ever in 2023 with lots of Mexican-themed bars, restaurants and specials to check out. Cinco de Mayo falls on a Friday this year, offering the perfect excuse for a long holiday weekend
Virgin Hotels Las Vegas
Casa Calavera at Virgin Hotels is one of the best places in Las Vegas for a mix of style, sizzle and Mexican culture. The restaurant has a Day of the Dead theme with skulls and murals featured throughout the dining room. Of course, there will be plenty of tacos and tequila to enjoy on Cinco de Mayo. The Mi Casa Su Casa happy hour runs 3-6 p.m. and includes $7 bites, $20 buckets of beer and discounts on Patron Silver cocktails. A live mariachi band performs 8-9 p.m.
China Poblano by Jose Andres servers a unique combination of Mexican and Asian cuisine in the same dining room. The restaurant is presenting a Tequila Mezcal Festival menu April 24-May 7, which happens to perfectly coincide with Cinco de Mayo. Come by for specials like shrimp empanadas, queso with avocado and seared bread, the Pina Poblano (a cocktail of Volcan tequila, pineapple, poblano, lime and sal de gusano) for $18 or a limited-edition flight of 400 Conejos Mmzcal Flight for $18
Rhumbar Tropical Ultra Lounge
A true piece of Baja California’s heritage, the original Hussong’s Cantina in the Mexican town of Ensenada claims to be the birthplace of the Margarita. So you could argue Hussong’s is the best place to get a strong, authentic version of the cocktail. Feel free to try a fun variation. The bartenders mix versions with blackberries, jalapeños and cucumber to enhance the natural flavor of the tequila. The Mangonero is a sweet-and-spicy combination of muddled mangoes, habanero peppers and lime.
Famous for Spring Break parties in Mexico and the Caribbean, Señor Frog’s celebrates a strong fiesta spirit at the Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas. Cinco de Mayo is the perfect time to check it out with dancing and beer-chugging contests. Ask for a seat on the outdoor deck overlooking the Strip. Sign up in advance for a one-hour open bar for $35, available between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Trustworthy Brewing Co.
Enjoy Cinco de Mayo with great beer at the Trustworthy Brewing Co. inside the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian. Anyone who orders a 24 oz. Michelada (made with gigil rice pilsner, clamato and spices with a cayenne rim) receives a free order of chips and guacamole.
Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville
Featuring three levels of tiki bars, tropical drinks and Jimmy Buffet classics playing loud on the sound system, Margaritaville is a Parrothead’s dream. The centrally located Volcano Bar is named in honor of a tall “volcano” that erupts hourly, spilling margarita mix into two 300-gallon blenders. According to the Flamingo, “a virgin is sacrificed to the blender gods” as part of the ritual.
Diablo’s Cantina has $10 Casamigos tequila cocktail specials May 4-6, including Margarita variations and Ranch Water. The Mexican restaurant will also have deals on $5 Dos Equis bottles and drafts, $7 Casamigos Blanco shots and a $38 Surf & Turf of filet mignon and shrimp al mojo de ajo. A window will be serving street tacos to those on the go 3-10 p.m. on May 5-6. A live mariachi band performs 6-7:30 p.m. on May 5.
The best spot for agave spirits on Fremont Street is Lucky Day. The bar has an exceptional rotating collection of tequila and mezcal. Eight different flights give you plenty of opportunities to try unique small-batch selections. The space has lots of charm with an elaborate overhead light fixture that changes color throughout the evening. Otherwise, munch on house-made tortilla chips, guacamole and salsa with a seat on the patio overlooking the party crowds of Fremont East.
Cabo Wabo Cantina
Cabo Wabo has great Mexican food, a superb tequila collection and a large outdoor patio overlooking the Strip at the Miracle Mile Shops. The restaurant is traditionally a busy spot for Cinco de Mayo and throws a fiesta all weekend long from Thursday to Sunday, so ask about the latest holiday specials. Of course, there will be plenty of Cabo Wabo tequila (made famous by Sammy Hagar), whether served straight as a shot or part of a Mexican-inspired cocktail.