Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for "The Fifth of May") is a celebration of the French army's defeat during 1862 Battle of Puebla in Mexico. Closer to home, Long Island bars and Mexican restaurants just love to throw a good party in the name of the day. Here's the scoop on where the bashes will be bueno:
Pancho Villa's : 311 New York Ave., Huntington, 631-549-0022, panchovillalongisland.com
This popular Mexican eatery takes great pride in its rollicking Cinco party, closing off the parking lot for a street-side bash. Expect an outdoor bar, live band and DJ.
Cabana : 1034 W. Beech St., Long Beach, 516-889-1345
Cabana will start its celebration at 4 p.m. with a tent in the parking lot, live music and specials.
Don Quijote : 275 Rte. 25A, Miller Place, 631-928-3864, restaurantdonquijote.com
This quaint, medium-sized restaurant usually sits quietly in a strip mall, but Tuesday the volume gets turned way up as a mariachi band is expected to provide plenty of authentic Mexican music. While the band is scheduled to play, you'll get a chance to enjoy several food and drink specials as well as take part in a little early May karaoke.
Mangoes Mexican Bar & Grill : 401 Central Ave., Bethpage, 516-935-0882, mangosmexican.com
A mariachi band will play at Mangoes, which is celebrating the holiday with raffles, deals on tequila and free jalapeno poppers.
FOR A MELLOW MEAL
Don Ricardo's : 94 E Main St., Babylon, 631-587-0122, donricardos.com
A mariachi band isn't expected Tuesday, but this perennially festive place features a courtyard area protected by a glass roof for rain-or-shine natural lighting. Decked with flowers, foliage and a fish-stocked fountain, you don't really need music to get in a festive mood.
Maria's : 211 Smithtown Blvd., Nesconset, 631-979-7724, marias211.com
Dinner is served starting at 3 p.m., with music from el (as in, "the") mariachi.
Los Compadres : 243 Old Walt Whitman Rd., Huntington Station, 631-351-8384
This casual establishment is equal parts eat-in and take-out. Favorites include sausage taco, chunky corn tortilla, enchiladas, flautas, tamales, tacos, burritos and quesadillas.
Oaxaca : 385 New York Ave., Huntington, 631-547-1232
Homey and warm, Oaxaca is the informal Mexican restaurant you'd like nearby. It's consistently flavorful, always welcoming.
PARTY - PLAIN AND SIMPLE
Pancho's Cantina : 4245 Austin Blvd., Island Park, 516-897-8300, panchostexmex.com
It's a good bet that this tried-and-true establishment (other locations in Great Neck and Bethpage) has got Cinco de Mayo down pat, so expect some serious revelry beginning at 2 p.m. as the party starts with drink specials, giveaways and music set at a particularly high volume.
Viva Loca : 2381 Merrick Rd., Bellmore, 516- 679-5900, vivalocorestaurant.com
Holiday festivities including music and giveaways.
On the Border : 1401 Broadway Mall, Hicksville, 516- 942-4044, ontheborder.com
A DJ, festive decorations and specials.
Crazy Donkey : 1058 Broadhollow Rd., Farmingdale, 631-753-1975, thecrazydonkey.com
The bar and nightclub will treat Tuesday like a Saturday with a free buffet, drink specials and full roster of DJs (including scene favorites Degree and Joey Jammz) spinning. And yes, a mariachi band will manage to squeeze in there somewhere.
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