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Posted at 2:16 PM ET, 03/ 8/2011

The quick guide to Mardi Gras

By Fritz Hahn and Justin Rude

The floats in Clarendon's Mardi Gras parade are great for kids of all ages. (Joel Richardson for The Washington Post)

Hopefully you've seen our list of the area's best Mardi Gras events. Here's a quick guide for those who are still making up their minds about what to do tonight: (And once you're out on the town, feel free to submit your own photos of the scene.)

Best event you could actually bring the kids to: The Clarendon Mardi Gras parade has something for everyone. Local businesses sponsor floats that drive up Wilson Boulevard between Court House and Clarendon Metro stations. There's music, bead tossing, dancers -- and after-parties at most neighborhood bars, including Iota, Whitlow's and Liberty Tavern. (The latter also has drink specials all day and night.)

Best for beads: If you're looking for bacchanalia, check out the long-running Bourbon Street Bash at Rumors. There's a bead contest with prizes for those who "earn" the most, $1 beers from 4 to 5 p.m., $5 Hurricanes all night, a Cajun wing-eating contest and live funk music.

Best for Cajun cuisine: Transporting Sazeracs, packed jambalaya and outsize entrees of blackened fish and perfectly cooked beef fillet make Acadiana an area go-to for Crescent City fare, but for blue collar classics like the the po boy, look to Bardia's New Orleans Cafe in Adams Morgan or the Cajun Experience in Leesburg. For something sweet, Bayou Bakery in Clarendon has you covered with gravity-defying beignets.

Best for happy hour: Looking for something that's a little classier than $1 beers? From 3:30 to close, Acadiana pours its takes on classic Southern cocktails for $5 each, including the rum-soaked Category Five (the bar's version of a Hurricane) and the deceptively strong Louisiana Tea, which tastes like sweet tea. Draft beers cost $4 each.

Best for traditional cocktails: There's a party going down at the Passenger tonight. They already serve one of the best Sazeracs in town, and tonight's menu also features a Vieux Carre -- an incendiary New Orleans classic that mixes whiskey, cognac, vermouth, Benedictine and two types of bitters.

Best for cheap drinks: Would you guess it was McFadden's? Deals include $1 Bud Lights all day and night ($3 if you want a 24-ounce "special edition Mardi Gras can"), $5 bombs and $3 imported beers. When the crowd of students and kickballers isn't drinking, they'll be wolfing down $5 burgers or shrimp and wing baskets.

Best for Cajun music and dancing: Sure, lots of places will have jazz tonight, but for a pure dance party, our choice is the swampy sound of Leroy Thomas and the Zydeco Roadrunners at Glen Echo's historic Spanish Ballroom. If you show up early, you'll even get a free dance lesson.

By Fritz Hahn and Justin Rude  | March 8, 2011; 2:16 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Restaurants  
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For anyone interested in the international food scene within the DC area I recommend checking out this article

Posted by: Bradleam | March 8, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

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