Traditionally, Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday, is your last chance to enjoy all of the foods that are forbidden during the four-week ritual fasting of Lent. It is also your last chance to really kick up your heels. Here are the best spots around Los Angeles to let the good times roll!
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2023
Mardi Gras comes early to Hermosa. Come celebrate with the New Orleans blues-soul of Alligator Beach at Patrick Malloy’s Sports Pub. The free show starts at 7PM. Be forewarned…this band also plays “Groove is in the Heart” and that will be stuck in your head for days afterward.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2023
The Plant-base LA, Vegans From Mars, along with Disneyland Vegan, invite you to celebrate a free, plant-based Mardi Gras–kind of a Less-fat Tueaday. From 12 Noon until 5PM, more than 30 of the best local vendors will be bringing delicious vegan food and sweets, including pizza, tamales, and vegan sushi, as well as cruelty-free apparel, jewelry, and home goods. And what would Mardi Gras be without craft beer, a live jazz band (from 1PM – 3 PM), and beads…well “sustainable throws.” Those plastic beads ARE famously terrible for the environment. But we are so curious…
SATURDAY & SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18-19 & Fat Tuesday, FEBRUARY 21
The Original Farmers Market at 3rd and Fairfax will once again be hosting their Annual Mardi Gras Celebration this year. Enjoy Zydeco and Blues bands, kids crafts and a beignet pop-up tent. On Saturday, the Dog Bakery will once again host its annual “Mutti Gras Pet Parade and Costume Contest” for furry four-legged friends. I assume they mean dogs, because I don’t recommend trying to get a feathered mask on a cat for so many reasons. The Farmer’s Market is home to The Gumbo Pot, a fantastic Cajun/Creole kitchen. I recommend the Blackened catfish Sandwich, Red Beans and Rice and the Fried Chicken Salad.
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18 & 19, 2023
One of our favorite hometown spots, Ragin’ Cajun Café on PCH in Redondo beach will be clearing out their parking lot and setting up a stage for this free two-day concert. Following the great Hermosa Beach tradition of tribute bands, you can rock out to “Like Zeppelin,” The Who Show, Nat Benatar and the ACDC Experience. If that’s not enough music for you, head across the street to the RB Moose Lodge for Dondo, the Mecolodiacs and Carnage Asada at 4PM on Sunday.
In addition to the usual menu, Rajin Cajun will be preparing a crawfish boil. As always, they will have my favorite beer, the hard-to-find Abita Amber on tap and famous New Orleans cocktails like Hurricanes and Hand Grenades. If you don’t go for the boil, I recommend the Fried Catfish Bites, Bayou Bisque, Shrimp Po’Boy, and Pork Chops and Gravy.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2023
Come party at our favorite Westside dive bar from 8 PM – 1 AM on Fat Tuesday! The Damn Well Please Organ Trio, who formerly presided over many awesome Liquid Kitty Mardi Gras parties, will be playing down home swamp music at Harvelle’s starting at 9PM. Order a Hurricane, grab some food from Soul Fusion Twist, snack on King Cake and catch yourself some beads! $5 online, $10 at the door. 2 Drink Minimum.
Risky Business, a new speakeasy in Burbank, invite you to celebrate Fat Tuesday with hundreds of pounds of crawfish live from Louisiana, Sazeracs, Hurricanes, Absinthe, Abita Mardi Gras Bock, Beignets, Chicory Coffee, and King Cake. Hang out on the spacious patio or in the cozy bar. They cater to all with Mocktails, Raw Probiotic Juices, and Gluten Free and Keto Libations. There is also black light billiards, so really do a thorough job with that lint brush! We haven’t been there ourselves, yet, and there are some hipster trappings like Kombucha on Tap, but it does look like a great time!
Harold and Belle’s, a white tablecloth Creole-style restaurant, is still run with pride by the third generation of the Legaux family. This year they will once again be hosting a Mardi Gras event. From 11:30AM til 11PM, they will be offering a special menu and live music. Seating is first come first serve with a 90-minute limit on the tables. $20 entry fee after 2PM also gets you a specialty cocktail. I recommend the catfish.
Mom’s BBQ House on Vanowen was our go-to place for many years for gumbo back when Genevia, the “mom” in “Mom’s” was presiding over the kitchen. Her sons rebranded it as “Mom’s Haus,” revamped the menu to lean more heavily Cajun, and have apparently gotten a liquor license since last we visited. On Fat Tuesday, you are invited to “indulge in delicious Louisiana cuisine, including gumbo and jambalaya, while sipping on complimentary daiquiris. Dance the night away to the beats of live music and DJs,.” And don’t forget to dress up in your most festive attire as there will be prizes given for the best costumes. Bring a jacket, because it’s a pretty small cafe, so they will probably be spilling out onto the big patio. 9PM – 2AM $25.
LA’s home to Drag Brunches and Bear Night, Micky’s, brings a sexy Mardi Gras party for boys who like boys. Hosted by Tony Moore, with music by Mr. Canady, Hump Events brings you Go Go dancers and drink specials – what more could you ask for? How about a costume contest? There will be prizes, so glam it up! I am envisioning lots of feathers. 9PM – 2AM. No cover. Get on the guestlist (click here)
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2023
El Cid is always a good time. The old-world ambiance and comfortable patio are like a hidden treasure on Sunset. Although this round-up is exclusively New Orleans-style Mardi Gras events as opposed to Carnaval, we feel we need to make an exception for this one. The 2nd Annual Carnaval-Mardi Gras mashup promises to be an extravagant and wild costume ball (Why did I just hear that in Stefon’s voice?). The night will celebrate the music of Latin America, the Caribbean, Brazil, and New Orleans. Live performances include a Brazilian Samba Show Spectacular. Tons of confetti, beads, and cash prizes for the best costumes. 10PM – 2AM. Free admission before 10:30pm or free with costume. They are kindly holding this event on Ash Wednesday instead of Fat Tuesday so you can keep the party going! At least wipe the ashes of your forehead, heathen!
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2023
Enjoy some “Swampy Jazz” and “Dirty Blues” from D.on Darox & The Melody Joy Bakers at Ventura’s Midtown Mardi Gras Madness! “Step right up, folks! Come one, come all to the most electrifying event of the year! This is not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill event. This is a foot-stompin’, knee-slappin’, soul-shakin’ extravaganza that you won’t soon forget!” 8PM – 11PM. $10 presale $15 at the door
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2023
Long Beach is a city known for its festivals, and Mardi Gras is no exception. Boasting what is probably the only truly New Orleans-style Second Line parade in LA, the festival will be taking over Shoreline Village and Rainbow Harbor on Saturday, February 25, 2023.
This free event will feature live Zydeco music, bead throws, a stiltwalker, Samba Dancers, Hula Hoop dancers, Contortionist, Accordion player, and costumed characters.face painting, two DJ’s, from 1-5 pm dance to live Zydeco music by Zydeco Mudbugs, and at 2:30, get your second line on with Mardi Gras revelers parade (starting at Rainbow Harbor and ending at Shoreline Village)! Dress up, dance, and wave your handkerchief in the air!
You can pay to park in the Aquarium of the Pacific Parking/Queensway Bay Garage, 99 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802 or the Pike Parking Garage, 65 South Cedar Ave, Long Beach, CA 90802. Parking will sell out so please use an alternative source of transportation and carpool.