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Where to Celebrate Mardi Gras 2016

promoted-media-optimized_54e9091eed78fWhether or not you plan on giving anything up for Lent (and let’s be honest, you know you’re not), it’s probably not going to stop you from taking part in Mardi Gras — the full-on festival of eating, drinking and general debauchery, preceding the solemn fasting season.  So in order to save you wasting time planning (so you can get on to the all important business of celebrating), we’ve comprised essential directory of Fat Tuesday-appropriate spots for February 9th — from the East Village’s Acadia-inspired King Bee and the French Quarter-esque Ninth Ward to Brooklyn’s atmospheric absinthe den, Maison Premiere

King Bee

King Bee
424 E 9th St
East Village,New York 10009
(646) 755-8088

It may have taken over the space of one of our Mardi Gras reliables — the New Orleans-inspired Exchange Alley — but you can still laissez les bons temps rouler at the East Village’s King Bee.  That’s because the prepossessing restaurant specializes in Acadian cuisine (a mash-up of Louisiana and French-Canadian influences), including Duck and Farro Boudin, Gumbo s’Herbes, Crawfish Dip, Ployes (buckwheat pancakes) with sorghum butter, and Pork Cracklings with peanuts and cane caramel, as well as traditional Doberge Cake, layered with chocolate and lemon, or Gâteau de Sirop for dessert.

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Ducks Eatery

Ducks Eatery
351 E 12th St
East Village,New York 10003
(212) 432-3825

Owner Will Horowitz received way more attention for the pastrami sandwiches at his nouveau Jewish deli, Harry & Ida’s this year, but his original restaurant should definitely be your destination for Mardi Gras, offering contemporary spins on N’awlin’s favorites, like Okra sprinkled with lime and sesame and Red Beans n’ Rice with smoked lamb breast, as well as some purely classic dishes, like Crawfish Boils, Collard Greens and Bacon, and puffy Beignets, dusted with powdered sugar and served with dark chocolate espresso sauce.

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Maison Premiere

Maison Premiere
298 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn,New York 11211
(347) 335-0446

Nothing screams New Orleans in New York quite like Maison Premiere; an utterly sexy oyster house and cocktail den.  You’re greeted by a striking replica of the absinthe fountain from the Olde Absinthe House in the French Quarter the second you walk through the door, which is employed in almost 30 different drips, from the Vieux Pontarlier to the La Muse Verte.  There’s also an impressive roster of Green Fairy tipples (like the “Maison Absinthe Colada” or “Arsenic and Old Lace”), not to mention one of the city’s most sizable selection of oysters, including Moonstone, Imperial Eagle, Shooting Point Salts and Katama Bay.

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Bo’s

Bo’s
6 W 24th St.
Flatiron District,New York 10010
(212) 234-2373

Todd Mitgang’s Bo’s is celebrating Fat Tuesday with drink specials (think Sazeracs and Hurricanes topped with housemade grenadine and 151 rum), live music from Dr. Zsa’s Powdered Zydeco Band, and of course, plenty of Big Easy eats, such as Crispy Alligator Tails with chili aioli, Grilled Pink Snapper Po’Boy’s with fried green tomatoes, and Sweet and Savory Beignets, either spiced with cinnamon and served with molasses ice cream, or studded with maple bacon.

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Loosie’s Kitchen

Loosie’s Kitchen
91 S 6th St
Williamsburg,New York 11249
No Phone

Williamsburg’s sultry, subterranean, NOLA-inspired piano bar recently opened an adjunct restaurant lush with live plants, wrought iron windows and white washed brick, specializing in Louisiana-style small plates.  So for a low-key Mardi Gras, tuck into Seared Octopus and Grilled Okra Salad, Blackened Catfish with corn macque choux, and Crispy Blue Corn Shrimp Po’Boys at one of the intimate, marble two-tops, along with quality cocktails, such as “The Bamboo Sazerac,” a “Francese 78” with verjus and peach shrub, and a banana-infused “Hurry-Cane.”

Fort Defiance

Fort Defiance
365 Van Brunt Street
Brooklyn,New York 11231
(347) 453-6672

This beloved Red Hook hangout may have become best known for its kitschy Tiki Thursdays, but don’t forget that owner St. John Frizell spent years living in New Orleans.  Which means the Big Easy seeps into the menu in a considerable number of ways — from the Muffuletta (modeled after Central Grocery’s) served with Zapp’s potato chips, to the Creole Red Beans on Toast, delivered with a side of andouille, to the pitch perfect cocktails (he was mentored by Aubrey Saunders), like a classic Sazerac and a Bourbon Milk Punch.

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Bourbon Street Bar and Grill

Bourbon Street Bar and Grill
346 W 46th Street
Midtown West,New York 10036
(212) 245-2030

It’s Mardi Gras all year round at this Times Square homage to the Crescent City — located in a converted, multi-level townhouse featuring chandeliers fashioned from colored beads, wrought iron gas lamps, and an outdoor patio with a retractable roof, as well as happy hours featuring $5 Hurricanes and $12 Po’Boys, and of course, a committedly Creole menu, including Chicken and Andouille Gumbo, Alligator Sausage Po’Boys, Crawfish Etoufee and Blackened Catfish with hush puppies.

Ninth Ward

Ninth Ward
180 2nd Avenue
East Village,New York 10003
(212) 979-9273

Instead of bead-throwing on Bourbon Street, this bar celebrates the more macabre aspect of Louisiana culture, evoking the occult-obsessed French Quarter with hurricane shutters, a patio flanked by an imposing stone fountain, and cloistered booths shrouded in musty, velveteen curtains; perfect for coiling up with a “Marie Laveau” (a tequila, grapefruit and lime concoction, named for the voodoo queen), along with a Shrimp Po’Boy, classic Gumbo, or fresh Fried Okra, paired with a pot of buttermilk ranch.

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