Deals & Events

Mardi Gras - Where the Parties Are

By Olga Boikess  |  February 28, 2014
Credit: courtesy Bayou Bakery

Ok, so you’d like to be in Louisiana on Fat Tuesday, March 4, celebrating Mardi Gras with great food, music and several drinks. But if that's not in the cards, cheer up: There are plenty of les bon temps rolling close to home. Get behind the brass band leading a parade from Dupont Circle to the West End or head to Clarendon for a bayou-themed block party and the neighborhood’s annual Mardi Gras march. Or put on your dancing shoes for a zydeco session at a vintage ballroom. To top it off, first rate restaurants are hosting galas with New Orleans-themed food, drink and live jazzy beats.

Acadiana: It’s party-time at this classy Mount Vernon showcase for Louisiana eating and drinking. A New Orleans-style band will set the tone while guests cruise raw bar and seafood stations with stops for shrimp & grits and etouffee and nibble on passed specialties and desserts. Cocktails, beer and a bourbon tasting and martini bar are part of the package. (6-10 PM; $100)

901 New York Ave NW; 202-408-8848

Bayou: The Yamomanem Horns will head up a parade from DuPont Circle to this Big Easy outpost in the West End, where an all-you-can eat spread will feature faves like jambalaya, fried chicken, po' boys and boudin ($25) and $5 hurricanes all night. Zack Smith & the Dixie Power Trio will play New Orleans blues, rock and zydeco starting at 7 PM, and Second Line Band will follow with New Orleans funk. Music and dancing goes until midnight. Ready to party earlier in the day? A jug band will play hillbilly music at lunch. (Meet for the parade at 4 PM)

2519 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 202-223-6941.

Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar and Eatery: Big Easy native David Guas is setting up a party tent outside his Courthouse digs for N’Awlins-style eats and drinks, Rappahannock River oysters and Abita on tap. Around 8 PM guests can line up to follow his Boogie Float IV to the Clarendon parade. Wear costumes to win prizes. Guests must buy a ticket to enter. (5-10 PM; food ticket for 3 dishes, $30; drink ticket for three cocktails, $25; beer ticket for 3 Abita drafts, $15; kids 12 and under eat free)

1515 North Courthouse Road Arlington, VA; 703-243-2410.

Central: Chef/owner Michel Richard may hail from France, but he’s not one to ignore a chance to party. His Penn Quarter destination will be dishing up Cajun-style menu items like turtle soup, jambalaya, beef cheeks Creole and bourbon raisin bread pudding, with beignets for the table. Iconic cocktails like the Sazerac, Vieux Carre and Hurricane will heighten spirits, while a swingy, jazz quartet will have toes tapping. Expect servers in feathered masquerade, and lots of beads and doubloons. (5-10:30 PM; music starts at 7 PM)

1001 Pennsylvania Ave NW; 202-626-0015

Mintwood Place: This popular Adams Morgan destination will be shaking up Ramos Fizzes, Sazeracs, Hurricanes, and Absinthe Suissesses at the bar, while chef/owner Cedric Maupillier presents his take on oysters Rockefeller, jambalaya, shrimp ‘n’ grits and blackened fish, available a la carte as well as on a three-course prix fixe ($35), along with the regular menu. Nicky and the BoomBooms will set a lively beat. (Music from 6:30-9:30 PM)

1813 Columbia Rd NW; 202-234-6732.

Spanish Ballroom: Louisiana natives Leroy Thomas and the Zydeco Roadrunners will pump out irresistible dance music in Glen Echo Park’s classy, vintage ballroom. (Dance lesson, 7:30; 8-11 PM; $18)

7300 MacArthur Blvd, Glen Echo, MD..