Laissez les bons temps rouler! The long history of Mardi Gras can be traced all the way back to medieval Europe. But, for the purposes of overindulging in everything but history, let’s just say Mardi Gras (French for “Fat Tuesday”) is celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday, when the Lenten fast commences.
On February 13, Milwaukee’s streets may not be bleeding with revelers and floats decorated with all things purple, green and gold a la New Orleans. There may not be an influx of risqué behavior in exchange for those coveted beads. But you can still relish the Mardi Gras experiences waiting for you around Milwaukee.
For ten years in a row, Maxie’s has celebrated Mardi Gras with a mouthwatering menu, and the 11th year will be no different. And at this southern food establishment, the party lasts two days! Enjoy classic NOLA dishes and the dulcet tones of the Extra Crispy Brass Band on Monday, Feb. 12. Then celebrate Fat Tuesday, Feb. 13, with $4 Abita beers, $5 hurricanes, crispy boudin balls, crab-smothered flounder, cornmeal fried skate cheeks, strawberry beignets, king cake slices and much more. Listen to the sounds of Mardi Gras with Matt “MF” from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. and Extra Crispy Brass Band from 6 to 10 p.m. in Maxies’ heated party tent.
6732 W. Fairview
Potawatomi Hotel & Casino will host four days of fun in honor of Mardi Gras from Feb. 10-13. Enjoy Creole delicacies such as gumbo, jambalaya and shrimp po’ boy at The Fire Pit Sports Bar & Grill. Stop by the bar for $6 hurricanes served in a collectible Mardi Gras cup. Each night the celebration will also include a Mardi Gras parade featuring marching bands, showgirls, stilt walkers and jugglers from 5:30–11:30 p.m. on the casino floor. Visit the palm reader, caricature artist and tarot card reader to complete your Mardi Gras experience.
1721 West Canal Street
Party with a purpose on Feb. 13 at the Civic Music Mardi Gras fundraiser. Wear your Mardi Gras mask and enjoy New Orleans-esque music by The All Star SUPERband and Big Style Brass Band while dining on food by On the Bayou. Raffles prizes include gifts from Alliance Française, Lowlands Grand Cafés, Summerfest, Cooper’s Hawk Winery, On The Bayou, Fred Astaire Dance Studio and Inspired. Admission prices are $30 for adults, $20 for college students (21+ with ID) and $10 for students (under 21). Ticket prices cover food, one drink and a raffle ticket.
131 W Seeboth Street
Swing by ABV Social and choose from a lengthy list of whisky and beer while feasting on some Big Easy gumbo. Nostalgic memories of antiquated video games and table shuffleboard await you in their game room.
11200 W Burleigh Street
On Feb. 13 starting at 8 p.m., Milwaukee’s oldest gay bar, This is It, is hosting a masquerade party and you are cordially invited! Create, borrow or buy a mask that will be sure to turn heads, because the finest mask will win a bottle of Southern Comfort. There will also be hurricanes, beads and enough Mardi Gras favors to go around. Bring a date (or not) and stop by the kissing booth for a sweet end to the night.
418 E Wells Street
If you’re looking for something on the jazzier side, celebrate Mardi Gras with Sweet Sheiks on Feb. 13 from 8-11 p.m. The live band delivers a fresh spin on jazz, blues and American classics from the teens, twenties and thirties in true Big Easy fashion. Top off your night with specialty cocktails ranging from the Jazz Estate Bourbon Sour (Old Forrester Bourbon, Giffard Banana Liqueur, walnut liqueur, lemon and egg white) to the Bird Chaser (Rishi Matcha Ginger Buzz infused Koskenkorva Vodka, cranberry liqueur, Yziguari Blanc Vermouth and lime).
2423 N Murray Ave
On Feb. 10 and 13, The Brass Alley will feature its usual fare of creole and Cajun authentic scratch cooking. Fried alligator, jambalaya, crawfish etouffee and gumbo will transport you to Bourbon Street. Start early with $3 Abita taps and hurricanes served all day starting at 11 a.m. DJ Marcus Angel, DJ Pancake and DJ Gee A from 103.7 KISS FM will be mixing up the fun along with fire performers and stilt walkers. And don’t miss out on your chance to win a trip for two to New Orleans. If you’re having Mardi Gras withdrawals after the celebrations are long over, don’t fret: The Brass Alley serves up New Orleans style food seven days a week.
1023 N Old World 3rd Street
Where to Get a King Cake or Paczki in Milwaukee
Bring a slice of New Orleans to the office with a king cake shipped directly from Mardi Gras’ capital at Cannata’s King Cakes, second place People Choice Award winner at the King Cake Festival in 2017. Locally, orders can be placed at Angie’s Bakery, Grebe’s Bakery, or National Bakery. You can also snag the traditional paczki doughnuts at these bakeries.