You may not be heading to New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras, but who needs to when there are so many parties in Chicago you’ll have more beads than you can shake a hurricane glass at? Here are some of our top picks for celebrating Mardi Gras in Chicago.
Celebrate in Heaven
Heaven on Seven, that is. Chicago’s original cajun classic restaurant is serving up a Fat Tuesday Feast, complete with Whole Roasted Pork Shank on Red Beans & Rice with Ham Broth, Seared Pork Tenderloin on Dirty Rice with a Pork Debris Sauce, and Fried Oysters and Slab Bacon with a Black Pepper Meunière Sauce to name a few. There will also be a live band, TONS of decorations, and fun that only Chef Bannos can cook up. Call 312-263-6443 for reservations. 111 N Wabash Ave, 7th Floor.
Early to Bead
Get the party started a little early with Level 257 and C2E2 this Saturday with the Mardi Gras Masquerade. When a party is hosted by the biggest pop culture convention in the Midwest you know it’s going to be over the top. Grand Marshall PAC-MAN™ will lead the masquerade parade to dancing, bowling, gaming, and cocktails. Cosplay and costumes are encouraged but not required. However, as an incentive to dress up the best costume will win one 3-Day Ticket to C2E2 2016 on March 18-20. Tickets are $20 and include dancing, entertainment, bowling, gameplay, competitions, video game tournaments, passed appetizers, and one complimentary drink.
Eat all the Crawfish
Nothing says New Orleans like a crawfish boil. If you can’t be there, you may as well get all those little “suckers” you can. For $35 you can eat all the crawfish and wash them down with $5 Hurricanes, $7 Sazeracs and $7 Boulevardiers at Benchmark (1510 N Wells St). The event’s from 5 to 8pm and there’s also a raffle.
Eat all the Shrimp
If your crustacean of choice is of the shrimp variety, head to Frontier for their Frontier Fat Tuesday Shrimp Boil. Also $35, their event starts at 6pm and includes live music and a complimentary King Cake (plastic baby not guaranteed). Their quenchers include $4 Abitas, $5 Hurricanes, and $6 Sazeracs. You can also get red beans & rice for $10 and shrimp po’boys for $13.
Fat Tuesday Fitzgerald’s-Style
Fitzgerald’s in Berwyn is known for its impressive roster of live music, its great sound, and more importantly, its great parties. This party starts on Fat Tuesday, February 9, with live jazz in the sidebar from Roy Rubenstein’s Chicago Hot 6. At 7:30 move into the club for some Mardi Gras-themed live storytelling, followed by a dance party with Nelson Street Revival featuring Cathy Richardson. Tom “Festival” Cimms’ will be back selling his Louisiana specialties including jambalaya, gumbo and Andouille sausage po-boys. Tickets are $15.
Get a Taste of the Big Easy
Division Ale House (1942 W Division St) is celebrating Fat Tuesday with New Orleans’ specialties like Cajun Gumbo with housemade Andouille sausage, gulf shrimp, lump crab, spicy Cajun sauce and fresh okra; and a Spicy Fried Shrimp Po’ Boy on toasted French bread with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and Sriracha mayo. There are drink specials (of course) including $6 Hurricane cocktails and $6 Abita Purple Haze and Abita Wrought Iron IPA drafts. Be there at 8pm to test your Mardi Gras and New Orleans’ knowledge with Whaddayaknow Free Team Trivia.
Division Bourbon Street
The famed Rush & Division entertainment corridor channels Bourbon Street for one night. On February 9 you can hit up The Lodge Tavern, She-nannigans, the recently opened Coconutz Chicago, The Hangge-Uppe, Mother’s Too, and The Original Mother’s from 8:00 p.m. to midnight, free of charge. There will be a roving brass band, stilt-walkers, and $7 20oz Guinness draughts. Collect a custom beaded necklace from each spot and you could win $500 cash. Get all the details on Bourbon Street on Division Street, including some awesome $5 cocktails at Coconutz.
For more events check out our Chicago events calendar.
Photo credit: mike gnuckx