So today is Cinco De Mayo and up to last week I had no idea what it was. Yes its the 5th of May and it’s a big celebration around here, or an excuse to have Mexican beer, food and margaritas, but why is it such a big thing here.
To answer my own question I had to do some research to find out exactly why Cinco De Mayo is such a celebration. There are lots of Mexican restaurants and immigrants around the Atlanta area and the rest of the USA so I can imagine their influence had something to do with it. But I had to find out was it like July 4th here in the US, St Patrick’s Day in Ireland or Bastille Day in France.
So what did I find out. Well Cinco De Mayo commemorates the Mexican armies victory over the French on May 5th 1862 in the Battle of Puebla. A lot of people mistake today for Mexican Independence day, but that falls on September 16th. Mexico was an independent state some 50 years before the Battle of Puebla took place.
Like St Patrick’s Day, Cinco De Mayo can be a bigger celebration in the USA rather than the country that actually owns the day. When I first came to the USA with the Air Corps Pipe Band in 2000 I was surprised at how big St Patrick’s Day was here so I can imagine how some Mexicans think about Cinco De Mayo being such a huge thing here too. Mexico doesn’t really celebrate Cinco De Mayo except for the city of Puebla where for obvious reasons it’s a big thing.
We will have a party at the house on Saturday with a Mexican theme to help celebrate today and I am sure there will be a few beers and margaritas flowing, with this Irishman having a Guinness or 2. Have fun today, be safe and enjoy.
One of the things I particularly don’t like is the ‘fake’ Irish bar, its annoying, commercial and mainly either English or just plastic. Old wood and Guinness doesn’t make your bar Irish, no matter how many road signs from Ireland you stick on the wall. As a marketing tool and a way of getting customers in the door I have no problem with it, everyone wants to make a few dollars here and there.
I am lucky here to have a found a few good Irish bars, one not so great but passable due to its fantastic breakfast and another I still have to try. My favourite has to be Mac Magees on the Square in Decatur. Since I walked in randomly last February it has kind of become my local, and yes its a bit like Cheers theme tune, it is nice when you walk in for the barman to say Hi to you by name, or maybe that means I am there to often. The Guinness is nice and the bar is cosy but not to small. the food is Irish(ish)and tasty. If you like Whiskey, well then it is certainly the place to go to. With the added bonus of actual Irish staff I always feel at home and welcome.
Mac Mcgees has become our ‘go to’ place at times and it was here last Feb that we had a very memorable evening so it holds a special place in our hearts. After our rehearsal dinner we even went to the bar for a few beers and after our wedding Leanne got to pull me my first pint of Guinness as a married couple. I have ventured into Fados in Buckhead a few times and I am not overly impressed but on a Saturday morning it does open early for sports and serves a wonderful breakfast. It is possibly one of the more popular Irish bars in Atlanta and I wouldn’t be totally against going there, but it falls into the bracket of wood and Irish signs and expensive beers. Oh and it charges $20 when the Six Nations Rugby is on TV so I don’t bother and I reckon on St Patrick’s Day it is one of the most popular spots to go for a beer in Atlanta.
Last night I had a pleasure of going to the Olde Blind Dog pub in Brookhaven. As soon as we walked in we were met by a friendly kilt wearing barman who pulled 2 lovely pints of Guinness and they tasted just like home. That was me sold on the place but then we ordered food, again it was excellent and plentiful. |So far so good, it had music playing and he wasn’t just playing Irish stuff but mixing it up a bit, there were only 2 TV’s that I could see, so it was a good spot. The decor was OK, all dark wood and glass with walls decorated to look look like streets in Dublin, no plastic road signs to make the place look Irish here, paint a whole wall like Dublin, good move.
There are still a few other Irish bars i have to try, Rí Rá in Atlanta is one of my places to visit, even though they do have an English soccer jersey in the window, the place comes recommended by a fellow Irishman. We have been in the Marlay in Decatur just once so it would be a bit unfair to comment but it was nice and had a few GAA flags flying. But overall though the Irish bars aren’t bad and over the next few months I hope to visit a few more and see what they are like