Washington D.C. 2015 Mardi Gras Events & Happenings:

Valentine’s Day? That was so yesterday, man. President’s Day? Hey, Abe & G-Dub are good in my book. But Tuesday is where the action is.

It’s Mardi Gras! And even if it feels like you couldn’t feel farther apart from the Mardi Gras epicenter in New Orleans — I’m typing this on a night where the frigid District air will drop to well below 0 degrees, knowing full well that it won’t be a whole lot better by Tuesday, either — there are still some fun ways to get in on the action. Here are a few of the highlights around town.

Acadiana – 4 Hour Open Bar

Visit Acadiana for a 4-hour open bar party from 6 to 10pm. For $100, you’ll indulge in free-flowing specialty cocktails, select beers and wines, and a special bourbon tasting and martini bar.

On the food side, enjoy a bounty of carnival fare, such as Mini Muffalettas, Deviled Eggs, Char-Broiled Oysters, Shrimp & Grits, Chicken Gumbo, Jambalaya and a stocked raw bar with oysters, shrimp and crab claws. If you’re not chocolate’d out from the weekend, there will be desserts too.

The entire evening will be set to the tunes of a Live New Orleans-style jazz band. Buy your tickets online here.

Bayou Bakery – 4th Annual Bayou Gras Block Party

Located just a block away from the 16th Clarendon Alliance Annual Mardi Gras Parade, David Guas’ Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery is hosting their own 4th Annual Bayou Gras Block Party, bringing some NOLA to NOVA. Find a huge party tent and festivities from 6 to 9pm.

Try “Krewe de Roux” parade route fare from Muff-a-lottas to Andouille & Shrimp Gumbo and “BB” King Cake by the slice. “Krewe de Booze” N’awlins-style Sips and “Krewe de Brewe” Abita Amber flow all night in complimentary souvenir cups. The Croxton cousins are back to shell out Rappahannock River Oysters at no extra charge and kids 12-and-under eat free. The Bayou Bakery Boogie Float V will cruise in the Parade at 8PM.

A food ticket for your choice of three dishes costs $30, a drink ticket offering three cocktails costs $25, and a beer ticket offering three draft beers costs $15. Buy them online here.

Black Jack – Capital Cocktail Competition

Black Jack is hosting an inaugural Capital Cocktail Competition, benefiting the Black’s Family Foundation. In addition to a chance to sample the auctioned off cocktails, tickets include a welcome cocktail, Mardi Gras-inspired passed bites including freshly shucked Barren Island oysters compliments of Congressional Seafood, BBQ pulled pork sandwiches on Addie’s rolls, crawfish hushpuppies, Black Jack’s signature duck nachos, and shrimp campeche from chef Colleen Conrad. Drink specials and a full bar menu will also be available.

Here’s the breakdown: Eight teams of bartenders will go up against each other in a secret ingredient style challenge. Each bar team will be shown the secret ingredient, given two minutes to plan a cocktail and five minutes to execute two identical drinks. One cocktail will be judged by appearance, flavor and technique/creativity, while the other will be auctioned off to the crowd for charity. Drinks will be scored and a winner will be chosen to move to the next round until the winner is crowned.

The full lineup of participating bartenders & bars include:

  • D.J. Suan & Frank Manganiello, Black Jack/Pearl Dive Oyster Palace
  • Noah Broaddus & Pete Sit, Café Saint Ex/Bar Pilar
  • Torrence Swain & Rachel Vistica, Founding Farmers/Farmers Fishers & Bakers
  • Jo-Jo Valenzuela& Bryan Tetorakis, Gypsy Soul
  • Jason Strich & Mike Saccone, Hank’s on the Hill
  • Trevor Frye & Justin Hampton, Jack Rose
  • Taha Ismail, Mike Isabella Concepts & Scotty Holland, Kapnos
  • Christine Kim & Anthony Marlowe, TICO

Tickets cost $30 and are available for purchase here. The event lasts from 9pm to midnight.

Boqueria – Unlimited Tapas & Sangria

Boqueria is offering a binge-worthy Fat Tuesday celebration — Fiesta de Martes Gordo. Enjoy unlimited tapas and Mardi Gras sangria for $45 per person. The deal is available throughout the entire evening.

Tapas highlights include Pimientos de Padron, blistered Shishito peppers with sea salt; Calabaza Asada, butternut squash with hazelnuts, aged Mahon cheese and sobresada; Coliflor Rustida, Caramelized cauliflower, yogurt, mint, raisins, garlic and pine nuts; Albondigas, lamb meatballs with tomato sauce and sheep’s milk cheese; and more. Find the full menu online here.

Fiola – Venetian Carnevale with Wine Pairings

A special Venetian Carnevale menu is available at Fiola for $60 on Tuesday night. Chef Fabio Trabocchi is offering an authentic 3-course Venetian feast complete with wine pairings.

Begin with Scallops Crudo & Venetian Baccala, with white prosciutto and radicchio Trevisano, then Acquerello Risotto & Branzino with baby artichokes and fresh herbs, and finally a Ricotta Bomboloni and Vanilla Pastry Cream Fritters with burnt caramel gelato.

All of the dishes will also be available a la carte.

La Boum – La Boum does Mardi Gras

L’Enfant Cafe is doing up a special La Boum party night for Mardi Gras. Expect dinner and drinks, along with music and mayhem.

Tickets cost $34.50 per person and do not include beverages. Limited tables are still available here.

McClellan’s Retreat – New Orleans Cocktails

McClellan’s Retreat is offering a range of NOLA and Mardi Gras staples all night long. Visit the bar for a selection of finely crafted, Mardi Gras worthy drinks.

The list includes punch-bowl Hurricanes, made with Light and Dark Rums, Passionfruit, Lime, OJ, Grenadine, Sazeracs, made with Rye, Gomme Syrup, Peychaud’s and Angostura Bitters, Absinthe, the De La Louisiane, with  Rittenhouse, Dolin Sweet, Benedictine, Absinthe, Peychaud’s Bitters, Vieux Carre, with Rittenhouse, Pierre Ferrand, Carpano Antica, Benedictine, Peychaud’s and Angostura Bitters, and last but not least, the Absinthe Frappe. with Absinthe, Simple Syrup, Mint, Soda.