Beads and beignets, jambalaya and jazz: Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday — that rip-roaring celebration that concludes Carnival season and precedes Ash Wednesday — is nearly upon us.
As the Cajun French saying goes: Laissez les bons temps rouler, or let the good times roll.
New Orleans is undeniably the Mardi Gras capital of the U.S., but Boston knows how to throw a party, too. Join the festivities over the next few days at these spirited bars and restaurants serving slices of king cake, pouring New Orleans-centric drinks, and bringing jazz and funk to the city.
Friday, Feb. 21
Cheeky Monkey Brewing Co.
Lansdowne Street just might be the closest thing Boston has to Bourbon Street. Head to the raucous stretch of bars near Fenway for a Mardi Gras party at Cheeky Monkey Brewing, where food specials, craft beer, and beads will be available in abundance from noon to 2 a.m. (3 Lansdowne St., Boston)
This Southie social hub started celebrating Mardi Gras on Thursday, and won’t stop serving Cajun cuisine and New Orleans specialties until Tuesday night. In between Hurricane shots and Sazerac jello shots (try one and you’ll receive the requisite Mardi Gras beads), one-man-band Jason Cardinal will provide live music on Friday night from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., while Stu Sinclair will take over the tunes on Saturday and Sunday. (40 W. 3rd St., Boston)
Saturday, Feb. 22
Dorchester Brewing Co.
The recently revamped brewery has a full day’s lineup scheduled for Saturday’s Mardi Gras celebration, kicking off at 11:30 a.m. when in-house restaurant M & M BBQ starts serving smoked chicken and sausage jambalaya alongside its full menu. DJ’s European Market will pop up with paczkis at 2 p.m., while live jazz music by Sammy D and the Late Risers begins at 3 p.m. Stick around for a Mardi Gras-themed set from DJ Dialogue at 7 p.m. (1250 Massachusetts Ave., Boston)
Sunday, Feb. 23
The Porch Southern Fare and Juke Joint
With Southern roots and a party vibe, did you ever doubt that The Porch was going to get in on the Mardi Gras spirit? On Sunday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., guests can purchase tickets for street food stations serving classic NOLA bites (beignets, gumbo, king cake, and more), while stilt walkers, jugglers, and an aerial bartender pouring tequila and DTOs (Daiquiri Time Outs) will bring the entertainment. And, of course, there will be music, including the Hot Tamale Brass Band. (175 Rivers Edge Drive, Medford)
Monday, Feb. 24
More into Lundi Gras (Fat Monday) than Mardi Gras? Stop by Fool’s Errand in the Fenway, where guest bartender Alicia Castenell from Little Donkey will take over the bar. She’ll craft New Orleans classics, like the Hurricane and the French 75. (1377 Boylston St., Boston)
Tuesday, Feb. 25
Beat Brew Hall
It’s finally Fat Tuesday! Start the festivities at Beat Brew Hall in Cambridge, where a special food and drink menu, which is still in the works, will be on hand as guests dance to funk and jazz from the BT New Orleans Second-Line Band. The revelry takes place from 5 p.m. to midnight. (13A Brattle St., Cambridge)
Buttermilk & Bourbon
It’s a given that chef Jason Santos, a lover of all things New Orleans, will ring in Mardi Gras at his Southern restaurant Buttermilk & Bourbon. From 5 p.m. to midnight, come through for crawfish, beignets topped with ground Red Hots and cinnamon sugar, as well as king cake ice cream cones with cake batter soft serve; green, gold, and purple sprinkles; and a plastic baby on top for good luck. (160 Commonwealth Ave., Boston)
If a late-night fête isn’t how you envision celebrating Mardi Gras, try a lunchtime stop at Pauli’s in the North End, where the muffuletta, one of NOLA’s most iconic dishes, will take on both burger and sandwich form. The burger is topped with provolone cheese, mortadella, ham, and genoa salami, and served on an Italian roll, while the sandwich is made with mortadella, imported ham, genoa salami, and provolone. Both are topped with Pauli’s homemade muffuletta olive salad: pickled vegetables, vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, black pepper, Kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, basil, and parsley. (65 Salem St., Boston)
New Orleans is known for its eat-’em-while-they’re-hot crawfish boils, a spread that Fenway barbecue spot Sweet Cheeks will highlight Tuesday. Starting at 5 p.m., guests can order a $45 Fat Tuesday crawfish boil, featuring Louisiana-sourced crawfish, Gulf shrimp, andouille sausage, potatoes, and corn on the cob, plus a cup of gumbo and a slice of king cake from pastry chef Dee Steffen Chinn. (1381 Boylston St., Boston)
South Street Diner
This 24-hour local haunt will channel Bourbon Street on Tuesday with a Louisiana-inspired menu featuring all the classics: crawfish boils, alligator sausage, fried frog’s legs, shrimp po’ boys, and king cake shipped directly from New Orleans’s famous Gambino’s Bakery. From 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., beads will be doled out, an all-you-can-eat jambalaya feast will be offered for $6, and the Voodoo Punch will flow. (178 Kneeland St., Boston)