Attention, metro Detroit revelers: Today is Cinco de Mayo and we’ve got the goods on where you can party in true south-of-the-border style.
Cinco de Mayo (which means fifth of May in Spanish) commemorates a Mexican victory against the French nearly 150 years ago. In came during a war that Mexico eventually lost, so it’s not too surprising that most Mexicans don’t even observe the holiday.
• Metromix: Cinco de Mayo celebration guide
But here in metro Detroit and other U.S. cities, the day offers an opportunity to celebrate the heritage of Mexican Americans.
Here’s a rundown of some favorite hot spots:
Head south: What better place to pay homage to our neighbors to the south than South Bar. The downtown Birmingham venue is hosting its sixth annual Fiesta Danza, complete with Mexican entertainment.
“It’s always about the party,” says Chris French, a.k.a. DJ iMix. “We want to make sure that people come out and have a really great time.”
French, along with DJs Donovan Tate, Godfather, Victor V and Ray G, will keep partiers dancing to everything from Latin and salsa to Top 40 dance and house hits. There will be free salsa-dancing lessons, a mariachi band, food and drink specials, a margarita-drinking contest, prizes and more. And there’s no cover.
If you do spend some cash on a few cervezas, some of that money is going to a good cause. Ten percent of the night’s proceeds will go to benefit Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan.
“This year is extra special because people can have a good time and support Make-A-Wish,” says French. “It’s going to be a little different, a little more authentic. It will really set off a different flavor.”
9 tonight, South Bar, 210 S. Old Woodward, Birmingham. 248-593-8133. No cover.
Fun at the Bosco: Nick Haddad, better known as DJ Captn20, has performed at Cinco de Mayo parties for the past eight years.
“It’s a great time of year to party to some good Latin house and salsa music,” he says.
Haddad can usually be found at the Bosco in Ferndale as part of the lounge’s ongoing Honey Hole Thursdays. But tonight’s event will have a Mexican twist, with a fiesta buffet courtesy of Diablo’s Mexican Cantina of Ferndale, and drink specials including $2 Coronas and $5 margaritas.
Of course, DJ Captn20 and Jared Sykes will be on hand spinning Latin-infused beats all evening. Haddad says he’s looking forward to the Cinco de Mayo edition.
“It’s always hot and full of people really getting into the spirit of the holiday and dancing all night. And, of course, there will be plenty of tequila flowing.”
9 tonight, the Bosco, 22930 Woodward, Ferndale. 248-542-8818. No cover.
Party in the parking lot: An obvious Cinco de Mayo destination in the D is Mexicantown. Many southwest Detroit eateries will be celebrating today, including Armando’s, El Zocalo and El Rancho.
Los Galanes will once again host its annual Cinco de Mayo festival, though the set-up will be a little different this year.
From 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., the restaurant will transform its parking lot into the biggest party in town, with lots of live music and dancing. Guests can graze the fajita and taco bar, sip specially priced Coronas and margaritas, or stroll though the Mexican sidewalk sale, where local vendors will display their wares along Vernor Avenue.
For the past eight years, the restaurant has gone all-out for the holiday, blocking off the street to accommodate the throngs of revelers. Because of budget cuts, however, the City of Detroit won’t permit Los Galanes to put up barricades. Despite the scaled-back space, owner and manager James Galan said he expects the party to be just as popular as ever.
“I think a lot of people would be upset if we didn’t do something out there,” he says. “It’s a celebration of liberty and freedom.”
Deanna Sanchez of Dearborn Heights is looking forward to the festival.
“I try to promote this event every year because Los Galanes in Mexicantown is my fave place and they put it on every year,” she said.
11 a.m. today, Los Galanes, 3362 Bagley, Detroit. 313-554-4444. No cover.