Your Complete Guide to the Chicago Blues Scene
Can’t make it to New Orleans?
Celebrate Mardi Gras 2012 in Chicagoland
Laissez les bon temps rouler!
Mardi Gras, literally “Fat Tuesday,” falls on February 21 this year and is the last day of feasting, drinking and dancing before Lent kicks in on Ash Wednesday, when we are supposed to give up our physically lustful ways and be good until Easter. Now, we all know that blues fans aren’t known for their self-control or their denial of earthly desires, so we here at Chicago Blues Guide want help our loyal readers with some recommendations on where to celebrate Fat Tuesday in Chicagoland, if they cannot make it to the official festivities in the Big Easy.
Mardi Gras has become much more than a New Orleans tradition, however, and is celebrated anywhere that people carry the spirit of the Crescent City in their hearts. So grab some hurricanes, eat something smothered in hot sauce, turn up the blues, zydeco, R&B or whatever you like, and join the party. And don’t forget to bring home some beads.
Events are listed in alphabetical order by venue.
Brookfield Mardi Gras Fest/Pub Crawl
Sponsored by the Brookfield Bar Owners Association.
Feb. 18th, 7 pm to 12 mid.
Free trolleys will transport fest goers between 12 different Brookfield Bars and restaurants. All bars will have live bands, Mardi Gras drinks and beads. Some venues offer Cajun and Creole cuisine. Salt Creek Wine Bar will feature blues band Dawn O’Keefe Williams &The Lucky Dogs.
420 ½ W. Diversey, Chicago, IL – Tel: 773-549-9090
Feb. 21: Mardi Gras party with Hurricane Gumbo
This Lincoln Park sports bar will throw its 11th annual Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball. The party package for $20 includes a New Orleans style buffet. The price also includes hurricanes and all draft beers. Hurricane Gumbo, an eight-piece band that combines zydeco, R&B, jazz and funk to produce a sound that can only be called Louisiana party music, will perform. Get ready to catch some beads! The party goes from 8 – 11 p.m.
6615 Roosevelt Road, Berwyn, IL -- Tel: 708-788-2118
Feb. 20: Jambalaya Cookoff with Roddie Romero & The Hub City AllStars
Feb. 21: Mardi Gras Party, Roy Rubenstein’s Chicago Red Hot 6 and Dag Juhlin’s Expo 76.
FitzGerald’s hosts its 17th annual Jambalaya Cookoff on Fat Monday. Patrons can taste the competing cooks’ entries, which will be judged by a celebrity panel. Grammy nominated Louisiana band Roddie Romero & The Hub City AllStars will perform following the cookoff. The party starts at 7:30 pm. $15 cover.
Fat Tuesday, Feb. 21, will feature two bands, starting at 6:30 p.m., along with beads, coins, New Orleans food and drink specials. No cover.
44 Yorktown Convenience Center, Lombard, IL – Tel: 630-495-2700
Feb. 21: Mojo & The Bayou Gypsies
Mardi Gras packages and reservations are required for this Fat Tuesday feast. Prices range from $29 - $99 and include various amounts of New Orleans style cuisine, drinks, CDs and of course beads for all.
600 N. Michigan at Rush St. (2nd Floor), Chicago, IL – Tel: 312-280-7774
224 S. Main Street, Naperville, IL – Tel: 630-717-0777
Feb. 18: Brother John at Rush Street location
Professor John at Naperville location
This well-known Cajun eatery is owned by Chef Jimmy Bannos, where every day is Mardi Gras. Heaven on Seven has locations in Chicago and Naperville, while the original lunch diner is still in Chicago’s historic Garland building, 111 N. Wabash on the 7th floor.
510 Lockport St., Plainfield, IL --Tel: 815-230-2790
Every day is Mardi Gras at this suburban French Quarter-themed restaurant and nightclub. Daily menu items include po’ boys, jambalaya, gumbo, crawfish etouffee, alligator fricassee, Caribbean cuisine and more. Two bars will serve hurricanes, planters punch, Abita and Dixie beers and more. Body painting, elaborate costumes, giveaways and beads, beads, beads!
21 E. Hubbard St., Chicago, IL – Tel: 312-527-2722
1900 E. Higgins Rd., Schaumburg, IL – Tel: 847-517-2722
Feb 19: Matt Steadman (Blues) at Chicago venue, 7 – 10 pm
Feb. 21: Fabulous Fish Heads Blues Band at Chicago venue, 7-10 pm
The Cash Box Kings at Schaumburg venue, 6 pm – 9 pm
Shaw’s, located in downtown Chicago and in the NW suburbs, will let the good times roll with live blues, specialty New Orleans items like crawfish po’ boys, Cajun and Creole dishes, blackened redfish, jambalaya, gumbo and much more. Hurricanes and half-priced oysters will also be offered.