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The Royal
The Royal
R. Lopez

Where to Party on Cinco De Mayo This Year

Mark the date with tequila and more

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The Royal
| R. Lopez

Love it or hate it, Cinco de Mayo has become ingrained in bar and restaurant culture. People love an excuse to raise a glass to our southern neighbors and maybe even don a sombrero.

But the annual celebration doesn’t always have to be simplified to the lowest common denominator of cheap beer, tacos and tequila shots. There are certainly plenty of options around D.C. for that kind of a party. Some places, though, are thinking of some more creative ways to honor the Mexican holiday.

Opportunities this year include tasting small-batch mezcals, homemade sangrita and, of course, enjoying a well-made margarita or two. Here are several standout events to put on the radar this Thursday and throughout the weekend.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. BLT Steak DC

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1625 I Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20006
(202) 689-8999
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Head bartender James Nelson has created a special $30 drink menu featuring three tequilas each paired with a housemade sangrita. Sangrita — not sangria — is a fruity and spicy Mexican aperitif meant to be taken alongside a shot of tequila. Blanco tequila is matched with a traditional tomato-based sangrita, reposado gets one with a cucumber twist and the anejo is served with a pomegranate sangrita.

2. Del Campo

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777 I St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 289-7377
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If partying on a Thursday isn’t enticing, make plans to hit the rooftop at Del Campo for its Seis de Mayo celebration from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are $35 and include a cash bar and bites like carnitas and chorizo chilaquiles. An all-night open bar option is available for $30.
Eater.com

3. El Centro D.F. Georgetown

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1218 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
Richard Sandoval's El Centro is featuring a $20 Mexican buffet beginning at 4 p.m. on Thursday. Dishes range from pork fajitas to mushroom empanadas and shrimp ceviche tostadas. Wash it all down with $6 frozen or fruity house margaritas and $5 Mexican beers.

4. El Rey

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919 U St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 506-6418
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Festivities at the hip El Rey start at noon with a mariachi band, ice luge and drink specials. Drinks will be on sale as well, such as $6 margaritas and $6 shots of Sauza blue tequila.

5. Espita Mezcaleria

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1250 9th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 621-9695
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Cinco de Mayo doesn’t have to be just about mass-produced beer and cheap tequila. This year, lively Shaw newcomer Espita Mezcaleria is focusing on quality, lesser-known libations. The special menu includes two offerings from Cerveza Allende and a spotlight on Fidencio mezcals. The beers will be $5, and for $10 include a 1 ounce mezcal pour.

6. Hawthorne

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1336 U St NW
Washington, D.C.
(202) 853-9194
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Lines seem constant at Hawthorne, a new U street destination. The restaurant is throwing a "Cinco de Rooftop" party from 5 p.m. to close. Food and drink specials will be available on all four floors and include $4 chicken tacos, $10 chips and guacamole, $7.50 margaritas and $5 Tecate tall boys.
Official

7. Petworth Citizen & Reading Room

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829 Upshur St NW
Washington, D.C. 20011
For a more laid-back evening, try Petworth Citizen’s informative Lexicon cocktail series, which highlights traditional cocktails recreated from vintage recipes. The next installment runs Thursday from 7 p.m. to midnight and appropriately puts margaritas in the spotlight. The history lesson is free; the drinks are not.

8. Surfside

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2444 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
(202) 337-0004
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The Glover Park rooftop will be spinning Cinco de Mayo tunes all day Thursday starting at noon. Specials will include half-off discounts on margarita pitchers as well as on the bar’s new frozen rum-based cocktail, the Surfside Riptide.

9. The Royal

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501 Florida Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 332-7777
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The Royal is putting a cap on the weekend with its Nueve de Mayo celebration on Monday, May 9. Expect festive mezcal cocktails, arepas, frozen drinks and a tequila-filled pinata. The evening runs from 9 p.m. to close.

10. The Wharf

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1100 Maine Ave SW
Washington, D.C. 20024
(202) 314-5759
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Weather forced The Wharf development-in-progress to reschedule its Cinco de Mayo event to Saturday, May 7 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Expect food trucks including El Sol and beer stations slinging cold Mexican lagers. The marquee event is a running of the chihuahuas to determine the fastest pooch in the area, with proceeds benefiting Rural Dog Rescue.
Official

1. BLT Steak DC

1625 I Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20006
Head bartender James Nelson has created a special $30 drink menu featuring three tequilas each paired with a housemade sangrita. Sangrita — not sangria — is a fruity and spicy Mexican aperitif meant to be taken alongside a shot of tequila. Blanco tequila is matched with a traditional tomato-based sangrita, reposado gets one with a cucumber twist and the anejo is served with a pomegranate sangrita.
1625 I Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20006

2. Del Campo

777 I St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Eater.com
If partying on a Thursday isn’t enticing, make plans to hit the rooftop at Del Campo for its Seis de Mayo celebration from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are $35 and include a cash bar and bites like carnitas and chorizo chilaquiles. An all-night open bar option is available for $30.
777 I St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

3. El Centro D.F. Georgetown

1218 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20007
Richard Sandoval's El Centro is featuring a $20 Mexican buffet beginning at 4 p.m. on Thursday. Dishes range from pork fajitas to mushroom empanadas and shrimp ceviche tostadas. Wash it all down with $6 frozen or fruity house margaritas and $5 Mexican beers.
1218 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20007

4. El Rey

919 U St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Festivities at the hip El Rey start at noon with a mariachi band, ice luge and drink specials. Drinks will be on sale as well, such as $6 margaritas and $6 shots of Sauza blue tequila.
919 U St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

5. Espita Mezcaleria

1250 9th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Cinco de Mayo doesn’t have to be just about mass-produced beer and cheap tequila. This year, lively Shaw newcomer Espita Mezcaleria is focusing on quality, lesser-known libations. The special menu includes two offerings from Cerveza Allende and a spotlight on Fidencio mezcals. The beers will be $5, and for $10 include a 1 ounce mezcal pour.
1250 9th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

6. Hawthorne

1336 U St NW, Washington, D.C.
Official
Lines seem constant at Hawthorne, a new U street destination. The restaurant is throwing a "Cinco de Rooftop" party from 5 p.m. to close. Food and drink specials will be available on all four floors and include $4 chicken tacos, $10 chips and guacamole, $7.50 margaritas and $5 Tecate tall boys.
1336 U St NW
Washington, D.C.

7. Petworth Citizen & Reading Room

829 Upshur St NW, Washington, D.C. 20011
For a more laid-back evening, try Petworth Citizen’s informative Lexicon cocktail series, which highlights traditional cocktails recreated from vintage recipes. The next installment runs Thursday from 7 p.m. to midnight and appropriately puts margaritas in the spotlight. The history lesson is free; the drinks are not.
829 Upshur St NW
Washington, D.C. 20011

8. Surfside

2444 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20007
The Glover Park rooftop will be spinning Cinco de Mayo tunes all day Thursday starting at noon. Specials will include half-off discounts on margarita pitchers as well as on the bar’s new frozen rum-based cocktail, the Surfside Riptide.
2444 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20007

9. The Royal

501 Florida Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
The Royal is putting a cap on the weekend with its Nueve de Mayo celebration on Monday, May 9. Expect festive mezcal cocktails, arepas, frozen drinks and a tequila-filled pinata. The evening runs from 9 p.m. to close.
501 Florida Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

10. The Wharf

1100 Maine Ave SW, Washington, D.C. 20024
Official
Weather forced The Wharf development-in-progress to reschedule its Cinco de Mayo event to Saturday, May 7 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Expect food trucks including El Sol and beer stations slinging cold Mexican lagers. The marquee event is a running of the chihuahuas to determine the fastest pooch in the area, with proceeds benefiting Rural Dog Rescue.
1100 Maine Ave SW
Washington, D.C. 20024

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