It's ultra tempting to spend Cinco de Mayo at your local cantina, downing margarita after margarita, pretending like you know what the holiday is about. Here's the thing: it's not Mexican Independence Day (seriously!) AND it's also the worst day possible to down margarita after margarita at a cantina because EVERYONE ELSE HAS THAT SAME IDEA. With that in mind, here are LA's top eight places to avoid no matter what for Cinco de Mayo:
It's the frattiest, trashiest Mexican bar in LA! Which means sometimes it's super fun, and today, there is no possible way you're even getting a single drink. Nope.
It's dark, it's full of Mexican wrestling masks, and it makes, arguably, the best margarita in town. Which is why you're going to wait at least an hour before stepping inside. Avoid, and go back May 6th.
By far the most well-known Mexican restaurant in the Valley. Which means every office drone from Encino to Studio City'll be there by 5pm. Need an after-work drink yourself? Boneyard Bistro's got 'em, and great BBQ, and there will be no ridiculous people in sombreros.
"Sexy" name + delicious guacamole + low-cut shirts + Sunset Strip + Cinco de Mayo = NO WAY IN HELL.
Venice/Marina Del Rey (if you want to get technical)
Even on a regular weekend, it's like, "yeah, the salsa is good, but maybe not." So yeah, definitely no. Ayayay.
The only thing these sort-of-Mexican-themed beach bars actually contribute to any sort of Cinco culture is: A) the word "Baja" in the name, and B) they occasionally play Pitbull, who occasionally raps in Spanish. And is not Mexican.
The argument would be "it's massive, so we're definitely not going to have a wait." The counterargument would be, "yes, but the patio is ultra tiny, and that's literally the only place worth waiting for. And also, unless you mix those two salsas together, you're either getting something super sweet or too spicy. Also, lets just go on Thursday."
El Compadre is best known as the greatest Mexican restaurant open after last call in Hollywood, which means you've probably never been there at the beginning of a night. Cinco de Mayo is not the time to reverse that trend.
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Jeff Miller would seriously rather do anything else than drink in a Mexican bar on Cinco de Mayo or an Irish Bar on St. Patricks Day. ANYTHING ELSE. Challenge him at @jeffmillerla on Instagram or @ThrillistLA on Twitter.