This year, Cinco de Mayo falls on a Friday, which is good news for anyone anticipating a little “end of the working week” fiesta. Getting together for Friday drinks never seems more mouthwatering than when the libations in question are margaritas, ice cold imported Mexican beers, a refreshing agua fresca, and maybe a tequila shot or two to go with some tasty tacos.
But before we dive into the best places to enjoy Cinco de Mayo in Novato, let’s take a moment to explore the fascinating roots of Cinco de Mayo. Contrary to popular belief, this fiesta is not Mexican Independence Day (which actually falls on September 16th). Rather, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the remarkable victory of the Mexican army over the French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. This triumph, against all odds, has become a symbol of Mexican pride and resilience.
Did you know that Cinco de Mayo is actually more widely celebrated in the United States than in Mexico? This is due in part to Mexican-American communities using the holiday as a means to promote and preserve their cultural identity. Today, Cinco de Mayo is a vibrant and unifying event that brings people together to revel in the rich history, traditions, and flavors of Mexico.
You may well have your own favorite local taqueria, but it never hurts to call out some of our local gems. In no particular order, let’s hear it for Mi Pueblo, with their distinctive open air dining options on Grant Avenue. Let’s salute Tommy’s Salsa on S. Novato Blvd, servicing everything from baja-style fish tacos to fully-loaded tortas. Let’s raise a glass to Carmen La Hacienda Taqueria, another Grant Avenue staple, where the margaritas are magical.
That’s not all! Let’s sing along with the music at Las Guitarras on Reichart Ave, with their famous patio fountain (and the promise of music, oysters and more this Cinco). Let’s enjoy the distinctive aesthetics of Maya Palenque on Enfrente Road, where the drinks can be as colorful as the decor. Let’s experience something authentic at Mamita Cocina Mexicana on Ignacio Blvd, where the flavors of Oaxaca and Puebla are front and center. And let’s not forget to say hey for El Rey’s Mexican Bar and Grill on 7th, with a full cocktail bar to tempt you (the clue is in the name).
The party does not stop on Friday though. Keep the celebration going on Saturday, May 6th at the Cinco de Micro Beer Festival, hosted by Trek Winery & Pods Brews! Cinco de Micro is a craft beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages music event. Over 39 craft beers, food trucks, craft non-alcoholic sodas will be lined up. Plus live music by the Sonoma Shakers and the Hots.
Whether you’re happiest enjoying an aqua fresca or crave something a little stronger, you’ve got plenty of options for fresh Mexican cuisine and celebration this Cinco de Mayo. It may not be Mexican Independence Day (that’s September 16th, remember!), but it’s a great time to enjoy the ambience of our independent Mexican businesses.