Detroit's Mexicantown is, in our opinion, one of the best neighborhoods the city has to offer. In terms of authentic cultural establishments, this district offers traditional restaurants, including bakeries, shops, and food markets. You can hear a live mariachi band perform on the weekend, dance the salsa, and shop for the best guacamole you've ever tasted, as well as pinatas, sugar skulls, and Katrina dolls.
With Cinco de Mayo upon us, we're sure to see a shit ton of cultural appropriation as Americans take yet another ethnic holiday and turn it into a reason to day drink and litter. So, if you want to legitimately celebrate the Mexican army's unlikely defeat of French forces at the 1862 Battle of Puebla, we suggest you leave the fake mustache at home and head to Southwest Detroit and any one of the authentic establishments therein.
Located across the street from Clark Park and next door to Mexicantown Bakery, Armando's is worthy of special praise for a few reasons. First, it's open late on the weekends. You can eat and drink until 4 a.m. every Friday and Saturday night, which is a big plus if you're a night owl in search of some albondigas en caldo.
Second, this place has a stunning patio that's ideal for sipping frosty margs and refreshing mojitos during the summer months. Its ideal location across from the tree-filled Clark Park gives the patio some extra oomph. The weather is forecasted to be a touch crisp this Cinco de Mayo, but many warm evenings are to come.
Inside, Armando's is decorated pretty much exactly like any other even quasi-Mexican restaurant. It's nothing fancy, but it does the job.
Behind the bar they have a large selection of tequilas, as one would expect, including Patron, 1800, Herradura, and Sauza. They also serve Mexican beers like Dos Equis, Tecate, Modelo, Carta Blanca, and Corona. They mix up margaritas on ice, a tasty and stealthy tequila sunrise, an "Oso Blanco" made with Rumchata and Jack Daniels, and a number of other traditional cocktails, both Mexican and otherwise. Every day of the week offers a $3 drink special, too, which makes this a cheap place to get hammered on Cinco de Mayo or any other day of the year, really.
Don't drink alcohol? You can still sip a frosty beverage while enjoying that patio this summer. Armando's serves traditional Mexican "fresh waters" like Horchata, Jamaica, and Tamarindo.
Armando's will spend Cinco de Mayo much like they do any other day — serving up tacos, botanas, and Mexican sandwiches alongside strawberry margaritas and tall drafts of cold beer. Of course, they'll also have a mariachi band performing during lunch and a radio station broadcasting there for much of the afternoon. Other than that, it's just another day in the life for Armando's.