2/08/2013 05:11:00 PM

10 Fun Spots To Celebrate Mardi Gras by the Bay

The Bay ain’t Bourbon Street, that won’t stop us from enjoying a little Fat Tuesday fun with beads, beignets and Abita beer. Here are our favorite picks for where to celebrate Mardi Gras.

Town Hall: The gang are at it again throwing their annual Fat Tuesday fete which includes an unlimited amount of N’awlins fare (oysters, gumbo, jalapeno cornbread), Big Easy booze (Abita beer, Hurricanes) and live music by funky D’Amphibians. They’ll be plenty of beads, feather boas and samba dancers to add to the fun (starts at 6 PM, $60 per person for advance tickets (not inclusive of tax), a limited number of tickets will be sold at the door for $75 per person, plus  Advance ticket purchases; 342 Howard St; 415-908-3900 or purchase tickets online).

The Front Porch: Like last year, this lower Bernal Heights spot will be tossing throw beads and hosting a Mardi Gras party on its namesake front porch where guests can partake in a stand and peel casual shrimp boil (featuring the works--shrimp, corn, andouille sausage, potatoes). Inside, chef Mark Markus will be cranking out New Orleans a la carte specials such as jambalaya, crawfish etouffe and gumbo. And because of the restaurant’s enjoys a close relationship with Abita Brewing Company, there will be four different Abita brews on tap along with a selection of rare and special bottles from the brewery’s cellar. (Shrimp boil starts at 5pm until the food runs out, approximately $20 per person, depending on market price, reservations not required, reservations accepted for the dining room from 5:30-10:30 PM, 65a 29th St; 415-695-7800)

Boxing Room: There’s only standing room at the bar and walk-in spots left for the evening bash at Louisiana native Justin Simoneaux’s Hayes Valley Boxing Room, so if you prefer to sit, the restaurant invites guests to come by at lunch and promises to throw beads at you too. Otherwise, crowd in later that night for a crawfish boil with all the fixings, Abita’s special release Mardi Gras Block in tap and live New Orleans jazz with the Charles Unger Experience (begins at 5 PM, 399 Grove St; 415-430-6590). 

Brenda’s French Soul: New Orleans native Brenda Buenviaje’s will partying all day long (8 AM- 10 PM) at her Civic Center spot dishing up her regular Creole creations along with some specials such as BBQ shrimp, King Cake beignets and hurricanes. They’ll also be live music that evening from 6-8:30 PM (652 Polk St; 345-8100).

Cajun Pacific: The city’s tinest Cajun will be roaring at its Outer Sunset perch where it will be serving its regular NOLA-inspired a la carte menu—think gumbo, New Orleans BBQ shrimp, crawfish pasta and bread pudding with whiskey sauce. Get there early because doors opens at 5:30 PM and its first-come, first-serve (4542 Irving St; 415-504-6652). 

Chenery Park: It's going to be a wild night at this Glen Park hangout that will be simultaneously be hosting its usually scheduled Family Night and a very grown-up Mardi Gras party this coming Tuesday evening. They'll be no regular menu, just the kid's one and a New Orleans-inspired a la carte menu with fried okra, peel-n-eat shrimp and oyster po' boys and a full-on party atmosphere with staff in costume, balloons and celebratory drinks (683 Chenery Park; 415-337-8537).

The Elite Café: Every day feels like Mardi Gras at this Big Easy-inspired Art Deco Upper Fillmore joint but you better believe that they’ll be kicking it into high gear on Fat Tuesday. The kitchen will be serving the regular a la carte dinner menu, the bartenders will be mixing their signature Sazerac cocktail and $4 pints of Abita beer all night. 25% of the proceeds will go towards Hurricane Sandy relief efforts (2049 Fillmore St; 415-673-5483).

Farmstead: Long Meadow Ranch Winery and Farmstead will be hosting a three-year anniversary with a Fat Tuesday masquerade dinner party up in St. Helena replete with New Orleans-inspired food, wine, live music and party favors. Chef Stephen Barber will be crafting a special menu that includes items such as crispy fried boudin, Cajun popcorn with fried catfish tails and shrimp and crawfish etouffée. (The regular menu will not be available this night). Costume and/or masks mandatory (begins at 5PM, food and drink priced a la carte; 738 Main St. St Helena; to reserve, call 707-963-9181 or go online). 

Picán: This Southern-inspired spot in Oakland’s Uptown is still hammering out the details for its Mardi Gras celebration so call the restaurant or check out its website over the weekend. Last year involved a Zydeco band, Mardi Gras cocktails and lots of beads and masks (2295 Broadway, Oakland; 510-834-1000).

Calafia: New Orleans will come to Silicon Valley next Tuesday when chef Charlie Ayers adds special Fat Tuesday-inspired dishes to the regular menu - think Crescent City BBQ shrimp with cornbread, pan-fried oysters with French toast, blackened red fish and red beans and rice - available during lunch and dinner. The restaurant will also be passing out beads (855 El Camino Real, Palo Alto; 650-322-9200).

Masquerade Ball and Free Concert in the Fillmore: The Fillmore District will be hosting its free annual neighborhood-wide Fat Tuesday party that kicks off with a free blues concert from 5-7 PM in the Fillmore Plaza featuring Bobbie “Spider” Webb & the Smooth Blues Band, and will be followed by a traditional New Orleans procession band and live music at the various clubs. Celebrants are invited to stop by participating venues such as 1300 Fillmore, Gussie’s Chicken and Waffles, Yoshi’s Jazz Club, Rassela’s and Bruno’s Pizzeria, that will be offering discounts on Nawlin’s-inspired libations and noshes. Later that night, there will also be a Masquerade Ball replete with food, live Zydeco music, raffles and drinks, at the West Bay Conference Center (Free for the concert and procession, $10 wristband required for the pub crawl; $35/person or $60 per couple for the Masquerade Ball; go here for the complete line up of activities).


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