Mardi Gras in Boston: Laissez les Bon Temps Rouler!

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Posted February 28, 2014 by Heather Kapplow in Eat & Drink
Mardi Gras beads

I’m not going to lie to you—Boston is not New Orleans. We have exceptional universities, great seafood, and more Irish bars than you can shake a stick at, but we’re a little short on marching bands and plastic beads. However, you can still have a great Mardi Gras in Boston if you keep the party inside!

Go Stag

If you’re single and even remotely sports-minded, Mardi Gras might be the perfect time to explore Boston’s branch of the Single Social Sports Leagues. These folks organize nonprofessional local sports teams in an effort to foster fun, neighborhood-centric peer networking and dating. They also host Boston’s largest Mardi Gras masquerade ball. The tone is “young professional,” with an age range of 21 to 42. Show your Mardi Gras spirit and dress in purple, gold, and green. Tickets include complimentary beads, a buffet, moon pies, and Southern Comfort drinks. There is also a costume contest, so it’s the perfect opportunity to anonymously test the waters of the Single Social Sports Leagues scene.

Traditional Mardi Gras Moon Pie.

Traditional Mardi Gras Moon Pie. Photo Credit: Evan Amos

Make Mardi Gras a Date Night

A romantic option for celebrating Mardi Gras in Boston is a dinner for two that slowly turns into a rousing party. For the seventh year in a row, The Beehive in the South End will serve a special Cajun-inspired a la carte menu alongside its main menu and host trombonist Brian Thomas and his BT Funk second-line New Orleans brass band. There will be Hurricane cocktails, beads, and dancing. Reservations are highly recommended.

Darryl’s Corner Bar, one of Boston’s most venerable jazz institutions, will also host a Mardi Gras blowout. Though their food and drink is always New Orleans inspired, they’ll push it over the edge for Fat Tuesday. Come in costume and you could win a Darryl’s Sunday brunch for four. Even if you don’t, Darryl’s promises “a big, fat time” to saints and sinners alike.

Party With a Purpose

Finally, if you want all the fun of Fat Tuesday but none of the guilt, consider an option that will allow you to drink and dance heartily while doing some good at the same time.

Traditional Mardi Gras King Cake

Traditional Mardi Gras King Cake. Photo Credit: Michelle Schrank

The Boston Young Professionals Association is having a party that focuses heavily on the Mardi Gras King Cake tradition, with 10 percent of the event’s proceeds going to Bridge Over Troubled Waters. Organizers will be giving out masks, beads, and cake. They will also have po’boys and shrimp beignets, which is enough to get me to dig through my closet in search of gold, purple, and green!

Quality Cocktails

James Beard Award Semi-finalist for Outstanding Bar Program in the country, The Hawthorne, is inviting patrons to celebrate (Mar.4 8pm-12:30am) with authentic New Orleans cocktails including Vieux Carré, the Sazerac, and Ramos Gin Fizz. But cocktails are not the only bead-worthy offering at The Hawthorne. The kitchen will serve up crawfish flown in fresh from Louisiana, fried oyster po’ boys, and a six-foot long muffuletta thick with house-cured deli meats. Mickey Bones and the Hot Tamale Brass Band will enhance the party atmosphere.

The Friends of Copley Square are also hosting a Mardi Gras shindig at the Fairmont Copley Plaza. With New Orleans cuisine, Bo Winiker’s Orchestra, the Slippery Sneakers Zydeco Band, and a live auction running through the night, you can dance the night away while making a key Boston landmark a better Boston landmark.

Whatever you do for Mardi Gras in Boston, do something—everybody needs a little carnival in their lives from time to time. Having been snowbound all winter, we New Englanders need it especially. There’s nothing like a little NOLA-inspired hedonism to hasten the warmer weather!

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