By Marcherie Davis

Cinco de Mayo is meant to celebrate the Mexican army’s defeat of the French forces in the Battle of Puebla, but here in Chicago the day has become more a celebration of Mexican pride. Want to take part in some Cinco de Mayo revelry? When it comes to May 5 in Chicago, there’s no better way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than with the Mexican national spirit, tequila, and a good, old-fashioned fiesta.

Photo Credit: La Cantina Grill via Facebook

La Cantina Grill
1911 S. Michigan
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 842-1911

Hours: Mon to Thurs – 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fri – 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Sat – 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., Sun – 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

This Cinco de Mayo, if you want to enjoy an authentic Mexican experience in Chicago, La Cantina Grill is a great place to start. This quaint restaurant has an authentic feel, and the scents from the kitchen will make diners at La Cantina feel as though they’re dining south of the border. Visitors will enjoy the musical sounds unique to Mexico while sipping on delicious margaritas, which are served by the glass or pitcher full. La Cantina also boasts an extensive Tequila repertoire. This is a great place to celebrate this Mexican holiday without having to take a trip down south.

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Cocula Restaurant
5241 S Pulaski Road
Chicago, IL 60632
(773) 582-2900

Hours: Mon to Thurs, Sun – 8 a.m. to 12 a.m., Fri to Sat – 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Cocula is the bona fide Mexican restaurant complete with traditional Mexican music, including mariachi tunes, great authentic decor, and of course, authentic Mexican dishes and drinks. In fact, the name of the restaurant stems from mariachi music’s birthplace, Cocula, which has been known as “La Cuna del Mariachi,” or the cradle of mariachi, since the 1800s. With six Chicago-area locations, Cocula boasts a full bar which includes margaritas available in various sizes including half and full pitchers, as well as various flavors. The restaurant offers a limited variety of popular tequilas and imported Mexican beer. This place is the right amount of party and laid back vibe for the typical Cinco de Mayo reveler.

Photo Credit: Blue Agave Tequila Bar & Restaurant via Facebook

Blue Agave Tequila Bar & Restaurant
1050 N State St.
Chicago, IL 60610

Hours: Daily 11:30 a.m. – 2 a.m.

Blue Agave is a near North side restaurant that serves up traditional Mexican cuisine alongside an extensive reserve of tequilas. Before heading out this holiday, join Blue Agave’s email club for a $10 gift card. There’s no better way to kick off your Cinco de Mayo than with a free shot of tequila, on the house. For Cinco de Mayo, there can never be too much of a variety of tequila, and in this area Blue Agave doesn’t miss a beat. The tequila list includes over 20 different brands, all of which come in the Silver, Resposado, or Anejo varieties. With regular tequila tastings every Friday, this place is a tequila lover’s dream. That fact mixed with the colorful sombreros, maracas, Latin music and friendly, authentic feel make Blue Agave the perfect place to party this Cinco de mayo.

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El Mariachi Tequila Bar & Grill
3420 N Broadway
Chicago, IL 60657

Hours: Daily – 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.

El Mariachi, which prides itself on a bar that boasts a repertoir of over 150 various tequilas and top notch margaritas, is a great option to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. The rustic looking decor, dim lighting and traditional music create the perfect ambiance in which to enjoy your choice of festive cocktail while taking in the genuine atmosphere. One of the only Mexican places that prepares its guacamole for diners right at their tables, this is the perfect place for a low key Cinco de Mayo celebration. If you’re looking for something less intimate and want to invite a group of friends, be sure to look into booking on of El Mariachi’s party rooms.

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Zocalo Restaurant & Tequila Bar
358 W Ontario
Chicago, IL 60654

Hours: Sun to Thurs – 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m., Fri to Sat – 11:30 a.m. – 12 a.m.

Zocalo may be known for its food, but the bar is a tequila aficionado’s haven. With such options as the “Los Supremos,” which includes three ultra premium tequilas for comparison tasting, Zocalo is a great way to pass your Cinco de Mayo evening. Boasting over 120 tequilas, and the drink menu is filled with various cocktails where the vast majority of the cocktails feature tequila as the main spirit incorporated into the drink. The bar and dining area mixes a rustic feel with wooden ceiling beams and hardwood floors with modern influences, bright colors and an authentic feel. Zocalo is definitely a place to truly savor a good tequila or tequila infused cocktail. Raise a glass for Cinco de Mayo.

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Marcherie Davis is a freelance writer who enjoys arts, culture, and most genres of music. In addition to CBS Local, she writes for and Gapers Block. She is also a single parent who enjoys occasionally dabbling in crafts such as crochet and knitting. Her work can be found at