Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day. It celebrates Mexico's victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War in 1862, but nobody cares about that. In Mexico it's not a big holiday at all, but here in the U.S., it's huge. In LA, it's about partying and partying hard, amigos! Latinos might look at it as “amateur Mexican” night, but there's no denying the hedonistic happiness of the holiday, especially in this city. Here, we highlight some of the best bashes (and most creative “Cinco” wordplay!) in town. Get ready to gorge, grind, and guzzle on Saturday, May 5, and most likely sleep all day on May 6!
Velvet Margarita 14-Year Anniversary
When Velvet Margarita opened its doors 14 years ago on Cinco de Mayo, Cahuenga Boulevard was a relatively chill connector between Hollywood and Sunset, with a few old bars and a big magazine stand being its biggest draws. Today, the corridor is filled with stuff to do, and it's the “corazon” (heart) of Hollywood, with VM its main artery, a place to grab a bite before a night of club crawling, moviegoing or bar-hopping. Hollywood will be happening as always for Cinco de Mayo, but those lucky enough to get into this private party early (if you know the owner, Big Daddy Carlos Adley — and who doesn't? — you're good) will find special reasons for revelry. Adley, along with wife Ava Berman, Danny B, Hermantown, Platform PR and Rueben Diaz, host their annual celebrity poker tournament and there'll be DJs spinning inside and outside the restaurant. Tacos and tequila free until 11 p.m., the cash bar and food open to the public afterward, and dancing and drinking all night in the patio and main floor. Proceeds to benefit the Friends of El Faro Mexican Orphanage. 1612 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood; 8 p.m.-2 a.m. More info here.
Backyard Margarita Festival
Speaking of Cahuenga, the “Cahuenga Block Party” starts early with free margaritas in an outside lot from 2 to 5 p.m. This bash sponsored by DeLeon Tequila (yeah, the one from Entourage), also features a margarita contest between L.A. bartenders (you be the judge) and live music on an outdoor stage from South Central Scanners, Piñata Protest, Gamblers Mark, Chencha, Go-Go Riot and more, plus Sean Cvtter & DJ Prophet and more. Station 1640, 1640 N. Cahuenga Blvd. Hollywood; noon-10 p.m. Tickets and info here.
Celebrating music and culture of Mexico and Latin America, this fiesta features Niña Dioz, Mariachi
El Intocable Fantasma and Sr. Tony live plus DJs Bianca Lexis, Nina Tarr, Ana Calderon, Hoseh,
Bruno Malone, Xãndao, Chico Sonido and Myles Hendrik on the decks. There also will be a photo booth and presentation by Las Fotos Project, Jacqueline Suskin book release (afterparty) and lots of Mezcal El Silencio (sponsor). And 100 percent of the net proceeds to go support dublab's spring membership drive and Las Fotos Project. 21+. 2478 Fletcher Drive, Frogtown; 5 p.m.-1 a.m.; suggested donation $10. More info here; RSVP here.
Curated by Guelaguetza's Fernando Lopez and L.A. Taco, this one gets crazy with DJs, live art, screen printing and of course eating — lots and lots of eating. Free. All ages. LA Plaza de Cultura, 501 N. Main St., downtown. More info here or at hechoinla.com.
Gringo de Mayo
Relámpago Wheelery, a cool cycling shop specializing in repairs and used bikes and featuring hand-built wheels, dynamo lighting and bicivida, throws this fundraiser for Bike!Bike!L.Á. 2018, an international bicycle collective conference. They tout “bands, beer, karaoke and bike fun!” 140 Bimini Place, Koreatown; 7 p.m.-1 a.m. More info here.
Rock & Rodriguez's Cinco de Drinko
Who drinks more: the Irish on St. Paddy's Day or Mexicans on Cinco de Mayo? Truth be told, neither culture really loves the stereotypes these holidays hype, but we try to have fun with it. Irish pub Rock & Reilly's, which becomes Rock & Rodriguez's for the night, is a good place to embrace the drunkery. Tromba Tequila specials, $5 comida and bebida menu, DJs and games are promised. 8911 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. More info here.
Boardner's Cinco de Drinko
Opening at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Boardner's offers food, beer and margarita drink specials from dia to noche.
Themed Movies will screen until the goth crowd comes in for Bar Sinister. 21+. 1652 N. Cherokee Ave. Hollywood. More info here.
La Cita on Cinco
Two words: free tacos. Also DJs Mt. Everest and Paw spin throughout the evening. 21+. 336 S. Hill St., downtown; 2 p.m.-2 a.m. More info here.
Cinco de Mayo Tiki Party
Because when you think about Cinco de Mayo, you think tacos, tequila and tiki! OK, maybe not, but this tropical landmark throws a wild shindig and its outdoor food supplier, Durango's Tacos, offers some of the best street Mexican food in town. “South of the Border” shots all day for $3, “tequila tiki drink specials,” plus a tiki/south of the border costume contest, raffle prizes and more. 21+. 12808 Victory Blvd., North Hollywood; 4 p.m.-2 a.m. More info here.
Slime-o de Mayo
L.A.'s '60s dance favorite Green Slime goes Latin in the third installment of its Noche de Salvajes Spanish retro fiesta. Guest DJs include Tony the Tyger (Fuzz, Flaykes and Shakes compilations) and Alberto Sol along with residents Rick Barzell and Roger Mars. 21+. Short Stop, 1455 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park; 10 p.m.-2 a.m. More info here.
Oscuro de Mayo
Grind gratis at Resident with performances by Dave Parley (Prayers), August Eve, Sister Mantos, FUTURA
and DJs Catholicked Maal and Loud Girls. 21+ 428 S. Hewitt St., downtown; 8 p.m. More info here.
Bici de Mayo
The second annual Bici de Mayo features live music from Latumba, Pedal Strike, AKRID, Enemy Proof and The Rails. Free hard-shell potato tacos by Goose. A piñata is promised, too (let's hope it's one of those Trump ones…) 21+. Cafe Nela, 1906 Cypress Ave., Cypress Park; 8:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. More info here.