By Gina Ruccione, Food Writer
You’ve had a month to recover from St. Patrick’s Day debauchery in March, and hopefully, no permanent damage was caused. For those of you ready for round two—the madness and mayhem that is Cinco de Mayo—we’ve scoped out local hot spots around Long Beach that will possibly leave you with even more muddled memories, random phone numbers and awkward selfies to post on Facebook.
AGAVES KITCHEN & TEQUILA
Known for Mexican specialties served alongside more than 250 fine tequilas and agave spirits, this is probably your most viable option for a true Cinco de Mayo party. Happy hour will start at 2 p.m. on Tuesday. There will be a DJ and, most importantly, no cover charge. The cocktails are made with fresh fruits and homemade, infused tequilas. I would recommend just about anything on the menu. Trust me, you’re going to want to eat something after downing several of their spicy mango margaritas.
Agaves Kitchen & Tequila, 200 Pine Ave., Suite A, Long Beach, (562) 435-7700.
ALEGRIA COCINA LATINA
A colorful and comfortable spot in downtown Long Beach, Alegria provides a fusion of all the best that Latin American cuisine has to offer. The décor, including twinkling lights on the outdoor patio, is warm and inviting. Known for fruit-infused sangrias, unique signature appetizers and live entertainment, Alegria is one of the more popular spots on Pine Street.
Alegria Cocina Latina, 115 Pine Ave., Long Beach, (562) 436-3388.
In the heart of Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach, Tequila Jacks provides the perfect indoor and outdoor ambience in the marina. The earth-toned dining area is relaxing and the patio overlooks the beautiful harbor. Service is typically quick and attentive. Lucky for you, Cinco de Mayo falls on a Tuesday; Tequila Jack’s Taco Tuesday specials are typically $1.20 for tacos including carne asada, carnitas, chicken, Baja fish, grilled vegetables and bean and cheese. House margaritas and well drinks are practically a steal.
Tequila Jack’s, 407 Shoreline Village Dr., Long Beach, (562) 628-0454.
TACO BEACH CANTINA
A true Mexican cantina atmosphere, Taco Beach on Pine Street is the perfect place to eat authentic Mexican food and enjoy delicious margaritas. The atmosphere is fun and upbeat and they have an outdoor patio, so there will be plenty of people watching. Featuring many imported Mexican beers and tequilas, there will be countless potent potables to chose from. The DJ starts at 8 p.m. and you’ll most likely dance until you drop (or you’re carried out) at 2 a.m.
Taco Beach Cantina, 211 Pine Ave., Long Beach, (562) 983-1337.
Perhaps bar hopping is not your thing, and I don’t blame you. If you’d prefer to opt out of a night that includes stumbling from bar to bar, or one that leaves you at the dead end of a shame spiral the next morning, I’d head to Los Compadres — arguably the best Mexican restaurant in Long Beach. This place always has a line out the door. But, my god, it is worth it. There are no “special” Cinco de Mayo plans, but good luck trying to get a table. You might be able to snag one, if you skip going to the office altogether and just head there in the morning.
Los Compadres, 1144 Pine Ave., Long Beach, (562) 432-0061.
LOLA’S MEXICAN CUISINE
Lola’s is one of my favorite spots in Long Beach. It’s a quaint but festive place to grub, specializing in modern, contemporary Mexican cuisine. They use only the freshest ingredients and organic meats. Expect them to be crowded on Cinco de Mayo, as Taco Tuesdays are typically standing room only. I suspect their mesquite tacos and Pacifico pints will probably be the most popular menu items that evening, but don’t shy away from any of the moles or platillos especiales. They currently only serve beer and wine, but don’t worry, a little bird told me that they will soon be toting a full bar featuring signature craft cocktails. I’ll be waiting with bated breath.
Lola’s Mexican Cuisine, 2030 E. 4th St., Long Beach, (562) 343-5506.
A wise man once told me, “Never drink so much that you can’t remember.” Truer words have never been spoken. That being said, I want you to go out there this Cinco de Mayo, have some fun, make (somewhat) good decisions, and above all, call an Uber.
Gina Ruccione has traveled all over Europe and Asia, and lived in almost every nook of Los Angeles County. You can visit her blog at http://foodfashionfoolishfornication.blogspot.com.