Who says you have to be in New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras? There are plenty of DC restaurants, bars and clubs that participate in Mardi Gras activities — whether its delicious New Orleans-inspired foods, festive music, an endless string of beads or drink specials. Check out one of these best bets for Mardi Gras fun in Washington, D.C.
Hours: Lunch: Mon to Fri – 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.; Dinner: Mon to Thur – 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Fri to Sat – 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Step off the crowded streets of DC and into Central, where the spirit of Mardi Gras comes to life. With festive decorations, and delicious foods prepared by French-born Chef Michel Richard, guests will enjoy a special Mardi Gras menu and cocktails, live jazz music and lots of beads. Central is known for its extensive wine list, casual dining in a stylish earth-toned environment and comfortable seating. Central is an award winning establishment worth of your Mardi Gras festivities.
Hours: Mon – Thur, Sun – 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Fri to Sat – 11:30 a.m. to 3 a.m.
Celebrate Mardi Gras in style at the 11th annual Bourbon Street Bash at Rumors. The bash features authentic New Orleans cuisine, like gumbo, jambalaya and red beans and rice, as well as drink specials, face painting, beads, festive decorations, DJs, live music, dancing and plenty of contests, including a Female Best Beads contest. Rumors features two full-service bars, half a dozen television sets, room to dance and indoor and outdoor seating. After the party ends, enjoy daily food specials as well as happy hour and other specials.
Related: Best Soul Food in the DC Area.
Hours: Mon – Frid – 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Sat – Sun – 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Why wait until the end of February to celebrate all that’s Mardi Gras? At Fat Tuesdays in Fairfax, Mardi Gras is celebrated every day. Pick any day of the week and enjoy some hot and spicy Creole-style cooking, like fried catfish, crawfish etouffee and po boy sandwiches, festive decorations like beads and brasseries, live music and old fashioned southern hospitality. Special events at Fat Tuesdays include a half-priced raw bar on Tuesdays, karaoke nights on Thursdays and live local bands on Fridays and Saturdays.
Washington Hilton and Towers
Hours: Event starts at 7:30 p.m.
The Louisiana State Society of Washington, D.C., along with members of the Mystick Krewe of Louisiana, Inc., hosts its annual Washington Mardi Gras Ball at the Washington Hilton and Towers. This black or white tie event celebrates the 200th anniversary of Louisiana’s statehood with the appropriately-named theme, “200 Years with Oysters and Beers.” For years, many high-powered Washingtonians have attended this prestigious event, including many influential congressmen and women, broadcast journalist Walter Cronkite, former Supreme Court justices and presidents. Attendance to the ball is restricted to members of the Louisiana State Society.
Hours: Tues – Thur – 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Fri – Sat – 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sun – 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Bayou brings the Big Easy to you all year round. Enjoy hand-crafted New Orleans cocktails, cuisines and live music from local and national touring artists. Bayou provides daily food and drink specials, including $2 po boy sliders and beers, plus Bayou’s two-level establishment features plenty of room for dining and dancing. After the Mardi Gras festivities end, be sure to swing by and experience live music Friday and Saturday nights.
Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.