It’s full-blown Spring in New Orleans right now – good for them! For those among us who can’t make it down to parade through the streets wearing nothing but a few pounds of beads and the glistening sweat of liquid courage, we’ve found the best ways for you to gorge yourself on the food, drink and merriment of Mardi Gras without leaving your neighborhood.
What NOLA afternoon would be complete without that sweet, sweet line-around-the-block worthy beignet? As you won’t be making it to Cafe du Monde this afternoon, Doughnut Plant (379 Grant Street, Lower East Side) will be your supplier. In their benevolence they have risen some Pecan Praline beignets, to be inhaled with chicory coffee. Go. Now.
Sons of Essex
You can celebrate Speakeasy-style at Sons of Essex (133 Essex Street, Lower East Side), they’re hosting a Jazz-Age Mardi Gras tonight complete with flappers, 1920s burlesque dances and circus performances. Hurry to get the last remaining seats at the bar – tickets are available at Lulu’s Dove House.
Enjoy a curated evening at the Third Annual Creole Carnival hosted by self-proclaimed “retro-nouveau” The Salon at The DL (95 Delancy Street, Lower East Side). Bands, burlesque and crawfish abound with a prix-fixe dinner and lots and lots of beads. Come dressed for the part and buy tickets ahead of time.
For those looking for something on the swanky, eccentric side, Mardi Gras at Duane Park (308 Bowery, East Village) features a three-course French Quarter meal accompanied by magicians, dancing girls, a high-capacity hula hooper, et al. Book your seating now, because they’re only offering two chances to get sloshed on Hurricane cocktails while an aerial acrobatist dangles overhead.
Head to Bushwick’s Heavy Woods (50 Wykoff Avenue, Bushwick) to get acquainted with Tchoup Shop. Named for Tchoupitoulas Street in New Orleans, this pop-up party is at on site every day of the week. These guys are legit (chef Simon Glenn is hot off of ten years in the NOLA restaurant business) bringing you authentic New Orleans BBQ and a Louisiana band. Bonus: Heavy Woods is running Mardi Gras drink specials.
You can work off the afternoon’s Po’ Boy at Williamsburg’s own Brooklyn Bowl (61 Wythe Avenue), which gives you an evening of Butler, Bernstein & The Hot 9 with Smith & 9th Ward, wailing out Louisiana jazz and blues as you bowl and booze. Doors are at six, tickets online.
Make a big bowl of Momma T’s Cajun Party Punch, throw on some records, and dance up a storm at Bushwick’s queer-friendly episcopal church Bushwick Abbey (176 St. Nicholas Ave). There will be beads. There will be king cake. Bring your friends and get excited, y’all!
If you’re in the mood for bottomless debauchery, Cook Out NYC hits the Irondale Center (85 South Oxford Street, Fort Greene) for all you can eat, drink and see spirits, craft beer, gumbo and burlesque. They offer a VIP option in addition to general admission with balcony access, a raw bar and fancier booze if you find yourself thinking you’re the King of Mardi Gras.
The Way Station
For the truly devoted celebrators, Prospect Heights’ The Way Station (683 Washington Avenue, Prospect Heights) hosts its Fourth Annual Mardi Gras Extravaganza with Abita beer specials, bands including the Nevermind Orchestra, the world’s only Nirvana brass cover band, beads and, if you’re brave (read: drunk) enough to hit the streets, a second line parade down Washington Avenue.
Slush and freezing temperatures be damned, if you want to paint yourself purple, don a carnival mask and go dancing through the streets of New York, tonight’s your night.