By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Obviously, these New York Mardi Gras celebrations won't be as raucous as the real deal. But if you can't make it out to the Big Easy, they're the next best optionand certainly preferable to dejectedly porkin' down a King's Cake all by your lonesome. After a few potent hurricanes, you won't care if this is New Orleans, New York, or Timbuktu.
Ah, blessed debauchery.
Celebrate Mardi Gras
1. Great Jones Café is our pick for the best way to enjoy Fat Tuesday while still avoiding the fratty boobs-for-beads crowd. On this night only, they stock their famous jukeboxe with zydeco, funk and r&b from New Orleans-based artists. The bar's "Cajun Martinis"chilled jalapeno vodka shotsare available for $5, traditional hurricanes are $7, and New Orleans-brewed Abita beer is three bucks a bottle. For those ordering off the traditional New Orleans food menu tonight, there will be a King's Cake special: the person that finds the baby wins a brunch for two at Great Jones.
2. At Great Jones Café's nearby Cajun brother Acme, The Dirty Water Dogs perform all night. There'll be beads and t-shirt giveaways, and a contest for best Mardi Gras costume. The massive 16 oz. hurricanes go for $7.75. And according to the manager, "Just two will set you free."
3. At the Patio, next door to Cajun restaurant Natchez, for $8 they have Sazeracs, hurricanes made with Malibu rum for $7, Abita on draft for $5, and a blues band playing at both the bar and the restaurant. Cover is $5.
1. Post-college favorite T. G. Whitney's has a Fat Tuesday happy hour special, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.: 9 oz. hurricanes for $2, $2 Miller Light on tap, and $2 for their secret, "voodoo shot." After happy hour, the prices double. The bar also informs us that patrons at this time will have an opportunity to meet and mingle with models from Centerfold Stars, also known as "Professional Upscale Adult Entertainment Experts." Um, ok.
2. Jake's Dilemma frequently pulls a large Columbia undergrad and grad contingent, and we imagine they'll all be taking advantage tonight of Jake's half-yards for half price, and "mystery buckets" of beer for $2. The mystery bucket is a random mixture of winter beers, chosen purely at the bartenders discretion. Clearly for those with iron stomachs and 3 p.m. classes.
3. You've got to come up strong when you name a bar The Big Easy, and this establishment doesn't disappoint. It's frat night every night, and Fat Tuesday's the biggest kegger of 'em all. We're looking at all-night rounds of beer pong, $6 hurricanes, $3 Bud, Bud Light, and Abita bottles, and the monster house special, an 84 oz. jungle-juice concoction of fruit juice, fruit, and what the manager just cared to call "booze."