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Fairweather upstairs bar
Fairweather
Bradley Schweit

Where to Drink Margaritas on Cinco de Mayo in San Diego

A baker's dozen of hotspots to sip through.

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Fairweather
| Bradley Schweit

Nothing says Cinco de Mayo quite like an ice cold margarita. According to some, the libation's origins can be traced to late 1930s Mexico when Carlos "Danny" Herrera developed the cocktail at his Tijuana-area restaurant, Rancho La Gloria. The perfect combination of sweet, salty, sour and bitter— from classic to contemporary, top shelf to blended—no Fifth of May Fiesta worth its salted rim would be complete without one of these iconic drinks. Whether you plan to party downtown, or on the coast, our handy map to the must-have margaritas around San Diego will help you do Cinco de Mayo right.

Note: Restaurants are not ranked.

-Keri Bridgwater

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Fairweather

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795 J St
San Diego, CA 92101
Margarita lovers should slide over to East Village, post up at the crisp blue and white tiled bar and take advantage of Anthony Schmidt’s exceptionally curated cocktail menu. Featuring unique, hard-to-find mezcals and tequilas, the Margarita (Blanco tequila, fresh lime, agave, housemade curacao) is a classic crowd pleaser. For an iconic cocktail in the tequila stable, and great margarita alternative, have a dance with El Diablo –– Blanco tequila, fresh lime, ginger and soda topped with a drizzle of cassis make a respectful nod to Trader Vic’s original 1947 creation.

2. Cantina Mayahuel

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2934 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 283-6292
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Educate yourself in all things Agave at this real-deal cantina, which brings a touch of real old Mexico charm to Normal Heights. Boasting one of the biggest tequila selections in San Diego, take your pick from the two hundred plus bottles of añejo, blanco and reposado behind the bar ––from $5 to $50 a shot–– any of which can be made into a delicious margarita. Combined with orange nectar, orange liquor and fresh lime juice they are simple, delicious and perfect for sipping on the sail-shaded patio this Cinco de Mayo.

3. Ponce's Mexican Restaurant

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4050 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 282-4413
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A Kensington mainstay for over thirty years, Ponce’s margarita menu is fourteen beverages strong and features everything from fruit-forward blends to tart takes on the classics. House favorite Viva la Ponce’s (Herradura Añejo, Grand Marnier, Cointreau, sweet and sour, fresh squeezed lime) is a perpetual pleaser. But if elements of roast agave, lime rind, gentle smoke, and rainwater are more your style try the Smokey –– Don Julio Añejo, house-made organic agave nectar mix topped with a Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal floater. In honor of Cinco de Mayo this neighborhood gem will be offering $3 ‘Happy Hour prices’ on all beers, and $2 street tacos (regularly $2.95) for the day.

4. Don Chido

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527 5th Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 232-8226
From the modest Clasico (Olmeca blanco, fresh lime, agave), to the majestic Margarita Lujosa (Don Julio 1942, fresh lime, agave, egg white, Grand Marnier 1880) the sophisticated margarita menu at the Gaslamp’s newest Mexican eatery has something for every price point. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in style on Tuesday with offerings from 11a.m. to 4p.m. including $4 Mexican drafts and $5 house margaritas, alongside mouthwatering tacos (carne, chicken, carnitas) courtesy of Executive Chef Antonio Friscia. *Don Chido will close at 4PM for a private event. 

5. El Zarape

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4642 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92116
(619) 692-1652
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The bar is well-stocked and the drinks list is long at this spacious-yet-charming Normal Heights neighborhood go-to. If you feel like taking ‘South of the Border’ to a whole new level try the Peruvian Margarita - an inspired mix of Pisco Parton, triple sec, organic agave and fresh lime juice served on the rocks with salt. For something a little more avant-garde the Hennchata (homemade horchata topped with Hennessey VS) offers plenty of creative play and a break from the normal margarita menu option mainstays.

6. The Blind Burro

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639 J St.
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 795-7880
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Whether you come here for the top shelf tequila, Mexican-inspired specialty cocktails or mezcal flights, the margaritas at this buzzy Baja-style bar are also some of the most seriously sip-worthy in town. And the Burro’s popular Cantaloupe Margarita –– a thoughtful blend of Espolón reposado tequila, lime, Aperol, Monin Rock Melon Syrup and sage –– goes down great every time. Holiday happenings on the fifth include bottomless Cadillac Margaritas, $3 Tecate cans, Taco Tuesday prices, a DJ from 6-10p.m. plus an appearance from Churro the Burro.

7. En Fuego

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1342 Camino Del Mar
Del Mar, CA 92014
(858) 792-6551
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Tequila has been poured and margaritas have been mixed at this historic Spanish tiled cantina since the 1930s. With its charming original structure and convivial atmosphere, today returning regulars sip on the owners’ namesake “Bubba’s Margarita” (Hornitos, Sweet and Sour, splash of orange juice, Grand Marnier float) on the below ground patio while enjoying bites from the Mexican Riviera-inspired menu. Stop by on Tuesday for $4 margaritas, food and drink specials, and more from 11:30a.m.

8. Barrio Star

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2706 5th Ave
San Diego, CA 92103
(619) 501-7827
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The award-winning Roasted Jalapeno Blackberry Margarita may have put Chef Izabel Cruz’s colorful cantina on the map, but the Strawberry & Toasted Coconut (blanco tequila, muddled strawberry, coconut milk, fresh lime, agave, toasted coconut flakes) is a close contender to the Barrio Star crown. While the Bonita Skinny –a low-calorie mix of Milagro blanco tequila, fresh lime and touch of agave– is perfect for gym bunnies. Stop by on Tuesday and say feliz aniversario to this neighborhood gem, which celebrates its fifth anniversary on Cinco de Mayo. Open from 11a.m. – 10p.m., with special Taco Tuesday pricing and $6 and $8 margaritas all day there will also be a photo booth and fun props to make this double celebration one to remember.

9. Casa de Reyes

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2754 Calhoun St
San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 220-5040
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No mention of margaritas would be complete without a nod to Old Town, and with its historic park setting Casa de Reyes has to be one of San Diego’s most charming places to enjoy an al fresco margarita. Featuring only 100 percent Blue Agave Tequila, from Margatinis to El Maestros, an afternoon could easily be spent under the tree-shaded patio sipping your way through the specialty menu and watching the world go by. Starting 11 a.m. on Saturday May 2, the 32nd Annual Cinco de Mayo Fiesta will see three days filled with live music, food and fun.

10. Pony Room

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5921 Valencia Cir
Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067
Gallop on over to Rancho Santa Fe and stay gold at The Pony Room this Cinco de Mayo. In honor of the Mexican fiesta the resorts equestrian-themed bar will be serving up their La Piñata ‘seasonal sipper’ all month long. Made with Ilegal Mezcal Joven, serrano-infused tequila, charred pineapple, lime, cilantro, a solid dose of smoke and a touch of sweet heat give this little number some serious ‘giddy up’. Holiday food specials, plus tequila shots and margarita pitcher offerings will also be available on the day.

11. El Camino

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2400 India St
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 685-3881
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Spice up your life with a Pineapple Jalapeño Margarita at Little Italy’s hip Mexican hotspot - the perfect balance of ‘sweet and heat’ this menu standout features muddled jalapeños and fresh cut pineapple. For those that like to share the El Capitan and Mexican Mule Fishbowls do not disappoint. This buzzy bar never needs much of an excuse to party, and Cinco de Mayo is no exception. Opening at 3.pm. enjoy $6 Corralejo margaritas, $3 sangrias, $6 shots ($8 reposado, $9 añejo), food specials plus lively beats from DJ Kanye Asada, Saul Q and more this Tuesday.

12. Las Olas

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2655 S Coast Highway 101
Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA 92007
(760) 942-1860
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With prime North County digs just a hop skip and a jump from Cardiff State Beach there might be no finer margarita-sipping locale than Las Olas. Popular for its locally sourced produce, the margaritas here are also perfectly on point. Grab some chips and salsa, watch the sun dip into the Pacific and work your way through their specialty margarita menu. Can’t decide? Try a generously sized 4-glass tasting flight; if something a little spicy is more your speed give the Pineapple Chili Margarita a whirl.

13. Puesto

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789 W Harbor Dr
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 233-8880
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The Puesto Perfect, the namesake margarita at this bright and breezy ode to modern Mexico is made with Frida Kahlo tequila, lime and agave; if you’re in the market for something a little different, try a Paloma instead –– Mexico’s most popular tequila-based beverage is a refreshing blend of housemade pink grapefruit soda and tequila blanco. Puesto's Cinco de Mayo party, dubbed Cincoteca, is scheduled to run from 4 to 10 p.m. Admission is free to the party, which will spill out into the courtyard of the complex and include stations featuring $2 tacos, beers and Margaritas, plus a churro bar by Donut Bar and live music from several Latin bands.

1. Fairweather

795 J St, San Diego, CA 92101
Margarita lovers should slide over to East Village, post up at the crisp blue and white tiled bar and take advantage of Anthony Schmidt’s exceptionally curated cocktail menu. Featuring unique, hard-to-find mezcals and tequilas, the Margarita (Blanco tequila, fresh lime, agave, housemade curacao) is a classic crowd pleaser. For an iconic cocktail in the tequila stable, and great margarita alternative, have a dance with El Diablo –– Blanco tequila, fresh lime, ginger and soda topped with a drizzle of cassis make a respectful nod to Trader Vic’s original 1947 creation.
795 J St
San Diego, CA 92101

2. Cantina Mayahuel

2934 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
Educate yourself in all things Agave at this real-deal cantina, which brings a touch of real old Mexico charm to Normal Heights. Boasting one of the biggest tequila selections in San Diego, take your pick from the two hundred plus bottles of añejo, blanco and reposado behind the bar ––from $5 to $50 a shot–– any of which can be made into a delicious margarita. Combined with orange nectar, orange liquor and fresh lime juice they are simple, delicious and perfect for sipping on the sail-shaded patio this Cinco de Mayo.
2934 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116

3. Ponce's Mexican Restaurant

4050 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
A Kensington mainstay for over thirty years, Ponce’s margarita menu is fourteen beverages strong and features everything from fruit-forward blends to tart takes on the classics. House favorite Viva la Ponce’s (Herradura Añejo, Grand Marnier, Cointreau, sweet and sour, fresh squeezed lime) is a perpetual pleaser. But if elements of roast agave, lime rind, gentle smoke, and rainwater are more your style try the Smokey –– Don Julio Añejo, house-made organic agave nectar mix topped with a Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal floater. In honor of Cinco de Mayo this neighborhood gem will be offering $3 ‘Happy Hour prices’ on all beers, and $2 street tacos (regularly $2.95) for the day.
4050 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116

4. Don Chido

527 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
From the modest Clasico (Olmeca blanco, fresh lime, agave), to the majestic Margarita Lujosa (Don Julio 1942, fresh lime, agave, egg white, Grand Marnier 1880) the sophisticated margarita menu at the Gaslamp’s newest Mexican eatery has something for every price point. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in style on Tuesday with offerings from 11a.m. to 4p.m. including $4 Mexican drafts and $5 house margaritas, alongside mouthwatering tacos (carne, chicken, carnitas) courtesy of Executive Chef Antonio Friscia. *Don Chido will close at 4PM for a private event. 
527 5th Ave
San Diego, CA 92101

5. El Zarape

4642 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92116
The bar is well-stocked and the drinks list is long at this spacious-yet-charming Normal Heights neighborhood go-to. If you feel like taking ‘South of the Border’ to a whole new level try the Peruvian Margarita - an inspired mix of Pisco Parton, triple sec, organic agave and fresh lime juice served on the rocks with salt. For something a little more avant-garde the Hennchata (homemade horchata topped with Hennessey VS) offers plenty of creative play and a break from the normal margarita menu option mainstays.
4642 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92116

6. The Blind Burro

639 J St., San Diego, CA 92101
Whether you come here for the top shelf tequila, Mexican-inspired specialty cocktails or mezcal flights, the margaritas at this buzzy Baja-style bar are also some of the most seriously sip-worthy in town. And the Burro’s popular Cantaloupe Margarita –– a thoughtful blend of Espolón reposado tequila, lime, Aperol, Monin Rock Melon Syrup and sage –– goes down great every time. Holiday happenings on the fifth include bottomless Cadillac Margaritas, $3 Tecate cans, Taco Tuesday prices, a DJ from 6-10p.m. plus an appearance from Churro the Burro.
639 J St.
San Diego, CA 92101

7. En Fuego

1342 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, CA 92014
Tequila has been poured and margaritas have been mixed at this historic Spanish tiled cantina since the 1930s. With its charming original structure and convivial atmosphere, today returning regulars sip on the owners’ namesake “Bubba’s Margarita” (Hornitos, Sweet and Sour, splash of orange juice, Grand Marnier float) on the below ground patio while enjoying bites from the Mexican Riviera-inspired menu. Stop by on Tuesday for $4 margaritas, food and drink specials, and more from 11:30a.m.
1342 Camino Del Mar
Del Mar, CA 92014

8. Barrio Star

2706 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
The award-winning Roasted Jalapeno Blackberry Margarita may have put Chef Izabel Cruz’s colorful cantina on the map, but the Strawberry & Toasted Coconut (blanco tequila, muddled strawberry, coconut milk, fresh lime, agave, toasted coconut flakes) is a close contender to the Barrio Star crown. While the Bonita Skinny –a low-calorie mix of Milagro blanco tequila, fresh lime and touch of agave– is perfect for gym bunnies. Stop by on Tuesday and say feliz aniversario to this neighborhood gem, which celebrates its fifth anniversary on Cinco de Mayo. Open from 11a.m. – 10p.m., with special Taco Tuesday pricing and $6 and $8 margaritas all day there will also be a photo booth and fun props to make this double celebration one to remember.
2706 5th Ave
San Diego, CA 92103

9. Casa de Reyes

2754 Calhoun St, San Diego, CA 92110
No mention of margaritas would be complete without a nod to Old Town, and with its historic park setting Casa de Reyes has to be one of San Diego’s most charming places to enjoy an al fresco margarita. Featuring only 100 percent Blue Agave Tequila, from Margatinis to El Maestros, an afternoon could easily be spent under the tree-shaded patio sipping your way through the specialty menu and watching the world go by. Starting 11 a.m. on Saturday May 2, the 32nd Annual Cinco de Mayo Fiesta will see three days filled with live music, food and fun.
2754 Calhoun St
San Diego, CA 92110

10. Pony Room

5921 Valencia Cir, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067
Gallop on over to Rancho Santa Fe and stay gold at The Pony Room this Cinco de Mayo. In honor of the Mexican fiesta the resorts equestrian-themed bar will be serving up their La Piñata ‘seasonal sipper’ all month long. Made with Ilegal Mezcal Joven, serrano-infused tequila, charred pineapple, lime, cilantro, a solid dose of smoke and a touch of sweet heat give this little number some serious ‘giddy up’. Holiday food specials, plus tequila shots and margarita pitcher offerings will also be available on the day.
5921 Valencia Cir
Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067

11. El Camino

2400 India St, San Diego, CA 92101
Spice up your life with a Pineapple Jalapeño Margarita at Little Italy’s hip Mexican hotspot - the perfect balance of ‘sweet and heat’ this menu standout features muddled jalapeños and fresh cut pineapple. For those that like to share the El Capitan and Mexican Mule Fishbowls do not disappoint. This buzzy bar never needs much of an excuse to party, and Cinco de Mayo is no exception. Opening at 3.pm. enjoy $6 Corralejo margaritas, $3 sangrias, $6 shots ($8 reposado, $9 añejo), food specials plus lively beats from DJ Kanye Asada, Saul Q and more this Tuesday.
2400 India St
San Diego, CA 92101

12. Las Olas

2655 S Coast Highway 101, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA 92007
With prime North County digs just a hop skip and a jump from Cardiff State Beach there might be no finer margarita-sipping locale than Las Olas. Popular for its locally sourced produce, the margaritas here are also perfectly on point. Grab some chips and salsa, watch the sun dip into the Pacific and work your way through their specialty margarita menu. Can’t decide? Try a generously sized 4-glass tasting flight; if something a little spicy is more your speed give the Pineapple Chili Margarita a whirl.
2655 S Coast Highway 101
Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA 92007

13. Puesto

789 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101
The Puesto Perfect, the namesake margarita at this bright and breezy ode to modern Mexico is made with Frida Kahlo tequila, lime and agave; if you’re in the market for something a little different, try a Paloma instead –– Mexico’s most popular tequila-based beverage is a refreshing blend of housemade pink grapefruit soda and tequila blanco. Puesto's Cinco de Mayo party, dubbed Cincoteca, is scheduled to run from 4 to 10 p.m. Admission is free to the party, which will spill out into the courtyard of the complex and include stations featuring $2 tacos, beers and Margaritas, plus a churro bar by Donut Bar and live music from several Latin bands.
789 W Harbor Dr
San Diego, CA 92101

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