One of the liveliest and most colorful food- and drink-filled holidays of the year is almost here, and all over Chicago, restaurants and bars are gearing up to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. From cocktail specials to full-blown parties, here’s where to toast the Mexican-inspired holiday in style.
Tanta and Arbella: These two River North sister spots are teaming up for the ultimate Cinco de Mayo event this year. The best part? It’s all for a good cause, with proceeds from the festivities going towards the Farmer and Landscaper Advocacy Project (FLAP), with the mission of improving working conditions for migrant and seasonal workers in Illinois. All day long on May 5, both spots will be featuring drink specials. Tanta’s is called the Corazón Valiente, which has Tanta’s special blend Barrel Patron Reposado, Zucca, lime and blood orange syrup. 50% of proceeds from the cocktail go towards FLAP. Meanwhile, Arbella will open its doors early at 3:00 p.m. to serve $12 watermelon margaritas on draft, plus $5 Modelos. 100% of proceeds from these two go to FLAP.
Bistronomic: A French restaurant may not seem the most obvious destination for Cinco de Mayo celebrations, but Bistronomic has proven quite adept at holidays of all kinds. This includes their upcoming Cinco specials, wherein chef Martial Noguier fuses Mexican cuisine with French inspirations for a special three-course menu utilizing ingredients and produce from Green City Market. Dishes include scallop ceviche, English pea vichyssoise, duck mole, poisson du jour vera cruz-style and tres leches profiteroles. The three-course dinner menu costs $39 per person, available from 5:00 p.m. until 10:30 p.m.
Beatrix: Two words for you: taco bar. Two more words for you: chilaquiles bar. Both Beatrix locations are honoring Cinco de Mayo properly with an array of brunchy comfort food. The taco and chilaquiles bars will run through 3:00 p.m., along with special pineapple-habanero margaritas.
Sable Kitchen & Bar: If ever there was a place with a knack for pairing cocktails and food, it’s Sable Kitchen & Bar. This is especially evident with their Cinco de Mayo special, which combines a Mexican dish and drink featuring the combined talents of chef Shane Graybeal and bartender Pito Rodriguez. Available on Sable’s 2+2 menu, which features two small plates paired with two cocktails for $35, the special features mole-braised chicken thigh taco with pickled pineapple and cilantro crema paired with the Mojo Manor, a vibrabt spiced pineapple cocktail with Don Q Cristal, lime and housemade mojo tincture. The other pairing is frijole charros, otherwise known as rancher’s style beans and rice. This comes with the mezcal- and tequila-based Oaxaca Old Fashioned. This special will be available May 3 through May 8, and the Mojo Manor is also available on the regular menu.
Tuco and Blondie: There’s a “taco tent” at Tuco and Blondie, so this is pretty much mandatory on Cinco de Mayo. Lakeview’s colorful new Mexican hot spot, is celebrating the holiday with an al fresco party that includes a tent filled with tacos, chips and guacamole. The brunch-style event also features a buffet beginning at 10:00 a.m. with burritos, chilaquiles and enchiladas.