WTF IS MARDI GRAS?
It's Mardi Gras, junkies -- and you know what that means! Beads on beads, sassy AF masquerades and a whole lotta drink specials. We've got our NYC, DC and Beantown b*tches covered on where to celebrate tonight -- but before you hit those Hurricanes and pull out that green and purple feathered boa, read up on our fave New Orleans traditions and the history of the world's biggest, baddest block party.
Mardi Gras, aka Fat Tuesday, aka Shrove Tuesday, is the very last day before Catholics and some Protestants start Lent -- forty days of fasting and abstinence before Easter. Mardi Gras is the last day to get all those sins out of your system, whether that means stuffing your face with beignets and beer or flashing the hot AF guy on the parade float in front of you.
THE KING CAKE
It's not a party without cake, and down in the Big Easy, they do cake right. The King Cake is ring-shaped and drenched in purple, green and gold icing. It's been around since the middle ages -- though back then it wasn't nearly so colorful. King Cake is meant to be eaten all throughout January and February, right up until the start of Lent -- which means Mardi Gras is the last day you're supposed to snag that sugar rush.
The tiny baby buried inside? That's a newer tradition, started by a New Orleans bakery back in the 50's. It's supposed to be lucky to get the little figurine in your slice -- and hey, at least it's in your cake and not in ya belly, kween.
Sure, maybe you got that strand of shiny purple beads because you lifted your crop top to show off those killer abs and that bangin’ ((305)) sports bra. But back in the day, purple beads were tossed out to folks who exhibited the trait of "justice." Green was for "faith," and gold, for "power." Back then, the jewelry was made of glass, too -- which might have made it a little more fun to nab 30-plus strands.
WHERE TO DRANK
Without further ado, here are three of the best bar specials and events for our junkies in NYC, DC and Boston:
Bryant Park - Hurricanes and etouffees not your thing? Head to the rink in Winter Village, where they're turning the ice purple, green and gold and blasting the best New Orleans jazz for the holiday.
Treadwell Park - Ariel Italic -- who calls herself "your new third-favorite drag queen" is on deck to host the first-ever Mardi Gras bash at this Lenox Hill beer hall. They're turnin' up the bass on the Triad Brass Band, offering a menu of New Orleans favorites, and keeping six taps flowing with Louisiana's Abita beers. And they'll have a station full of that NOLA favorite: Sazeracs.
Bagatelle - This French-focused Meatpacking District institution is servin' up theatrics, dancers and a feast fit for a king. Rezzies recommended, babes.
Astro Doughnuts - Get your king cake fix at this DC staple, which will be serving these decadent treats in doughnut form (minus the baby) allllll day.
Bayou - Bringing a lil’ NOLA flavor to the District, Bayou will have live music and all the Big Easy classics (jambalaya! po’ boys! hurricanes!) on hand for their annual Mardi Gras blowout.
Vieux Carre - With themed cocktails, beads galore, and a name that literally means “French Quarter”, it’s sure to be a party at Vieux Carre. Plus, the DC hotspot will be raising $$$ for UNITY of Greater New Orleans.
South Street Diner - Each year, this legendary diner goes all out for Mardi Gras with all-you-can-eat jambalaya (yeah, you read that right), voodoo punch, and WTF offerings like alligator sausage.
Buttermilk & Bourbon - Sip on Hand Grenades all night at this newly-opened Bourbon Street-inspired bar. Expect NOLA-inspired murals and some seriously delish Southern food.
The Beehive - Alex Lee Clark and his big band are blastin' all the Big Easy jazz you can handle at this South End spot, where they'll also be serving up food and drink specials. Best of all: no cover!