Cinco de Mayo was first celebrated in Mexico and California in 1863 to commemorate the national army’s victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5 of the previous year. Interestingly enough, the day now receives more attention in the U.S. than in Mexico, with Americans nationwide celebrating with margaritas, mojitos, and tequila. Connecticut residents who want to join the Cinco de Mayo festivities should visit one of these fine Mexican bars.
La Boca
337 Main St.
Middletown, CT 06457
(860) 347-4777

Expect a happening Cinco de Mayo party at La Boca, one of the top Mexican restaurant and bars in central Connecticut. Its quality is due in large part to its acclaimed and experienced head chef Dan Sergi, formerly of New Haven’s Basta Trattoria and Middletown’s Esca. He has won over regulars with his baja fish tacos, crab and bacon quesadillas, and bourbon chipolte sweet potato empanadas. They go great with one of La Boca’s signature cocktails or with one of the two dozen craft beers it pours.

Hot Tamale
39 New Haven Road
Seymour, CT 06483
(203) 881-9982

Hot Tamale always throws the liveliest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the Naugatuck Valley, with live music and food and drink specials all day. Its margaritas are always a big hit with patrons, and it also offers a number of Mexican beers, including Dos Equis, Tecate, and Negro Modelo. Hot Tamale’s menu is filled with fun items like Mexican lasagna with its layers of tortillas, beef and peppers, and ricotta cheese covered with ranchero and tomatillo sauce. Or try the pinata burrito bursting with steak, chorizo, tomatoes, jalapenos and onions.

C.O. Jones
969 State St.
New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 773-3344

This intimate, wood-paneled tequila lounge is one of New Haven’s small gems. C.O. Jones offers a staggering number of tequilas, which are also an invaluable component of its bold frozen margaritas. Not only does its happy hour include a complimentary vegetarian burrito bar, it will also provide your first order of tortilla chips and salsa free of charge. After that dig in to one of its unique tacos, with choices like roasted duck, sweet potato, fried squid, and banana leaf braised steak.

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Agave Grill
100 Allyn St.
Hartford, CT 06103
(860) 882-1557

The best Mexican bar in the capital, it is a tossup as to whether Agave impresses more with its margaritas or tequilas. The former are prepared with its house sour mix and come in eighteen varieties, while the latter include some select brands like Casa Dragones that are hard to find in other area bars. Agave also distinguishes itself with its popular guacamole made at your table and its line of tacos and enchiladas that include fillings like chorizo sausage and BBQ pork. Make sure you end your celebration with its deep-fried banana chimichanga.

Scorpion Bar
350 Trolley Line Blvd.
Mashantucket, CT 06338
(860) 312-5201

To celebrate Cinco de Mayo in style, don your sharpest clothes and head to Foxwoods’ Scorpion Bar. With its unique bone-like chandeliers and decorative crosses, you’ll feel like you’ve entered a funky upscale cantina in Mexico City. The numerous tequilas are available from slightly aged to aged over a year. There is an impressive selection of margaritas and specialty cocktails, and even a couple of bowls for parties of four. And be sure to try one of Scorpion’s creative burritos or tacos, whether it’s with beef, chicken, pork or steak.

Related: Top Margaritas In Connecticut

Joshua Palmes is a freelance writer covering all things Connecticut. His work can be found on