With the winter holiday season and New Year’s Day over, there’s still one upcoming celebration that many people look forward to: Mardi Gras. French for “Fat Tuesday,” Mardi Gras is a traditional Christian celebration that takes place just prior to the fasting time of Lent. To celebrate, many Christians indulge in rich foods, strong drinks and voyeurism before buckling down for the religious observation of fasting or sacrificing luxuries and temptations. This year’s Mardi Gras falls on Feb. 12 and while Pittsburgh is not a culturally French city, you can still join in on the Fat Tuesday festivities at these five bars, which host the best Mardi Gras celebrations in the area.
800 Vinial St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Hours: Feb. 21 – 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
If this year’s celebration is anything like those of previous years, Penn Brewery’s 2013 Fat Tuesday party is not to be missed. Penn Brewery is quite possibly the most well-known microbrewery in the Pittsburgh area, with its large selection of appetizers, soups, sandwiches and, of course, beer choices, making it an ideal spot for your Mardi Gras antics. Dine on special Cajun and Creole specials like gumbo, jambalaya and oysters on the half shell while enjoying live entertainment. If you can’t make the party on Fat Tuesday, Penn Brewery often kicks off thoe Mardi Gras dishes and entertainment over the preceding weekend.
Le Mardi Gras
731 Copeland St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
If you think Fat Tuesday is all about celebrating so hard that you need to take a personal day on Wednesday, Le Mardi Gras has got you covered. While this bar bears no resemblance to the French Quarter or anything bayou for that matter, the name makes this smoky, eclectic dive bar worthy of your Fat Tuesday outing. Locals praise this Shadyside gem for its unbelievably stiff drinks, including 20 tap beers, five varieties of squeezed drinks and 12 featured cocktails. Grab a bite to eat before wetting your whistle at Le Mardi Gras as the bar does not serve food. Be sure to bring plenty of cash because the place is cash-only.
Related: Top 5 Taprooms In Pittsburgh
2705 S Water St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
What? You thought Mardi Gras was just a French thing? Think again. The Germans also host a pre-Lent celebration and they go big. Hofbrauhaus, Pittsburgh’s own unique German Hofbrauhaus, will be hosting its usual German twist on the Fat Tuesday bash, replete with German “fashing’ special occasion doughnuts. Naturally, there will also be plenty of beer—more than 15 types, in fact. For a different spin on Mardi Gras this year, look no farther.
1601 E Carson St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
If you crave more of a club experience with your Fat Tuesday drinks, Diesel wants to welcome you to its Mardi Gras festivities. Last year, the club hosted the biggest Mardi Gras bash in the South Side with no cover charge, table service reservations and drink specials with a complimentary glass from 10 p.m. to midnight. This year’s celebration promises not to disappoint. Plus, if you’re in the mood for a party with just your friends, customers praise the club’s private VIP rooms.
Local Bar + Kitchen
1515 E Carson St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Local Bar + Kitchen’s first Mardi Gras celebration was held last February and included a partnership with Diesel that included free covers and happy-hour specials. Because Fat Tuesday drinkers tend to arrive earlier, the kitchen serves up some fantastic like beer-battered crawfish, kielbasa gumbo and fried bologna p-boy that can be paired with the bar’s iconic Yinzerita or a selection of locally brewed beers. Local Bar + Kitchen markets its Mardi Gras as the place “where the bayou meets the ‘burgh,” which is exactly what you can expect at this South Side joint.
Jessica Wasik lives in Pittsburgh where works as a full-time figure skating coach sharing her passion with todays generation of young skaters. A graduate of Robert Morris University with a degree in English Studies, Jessica is also a contributing writer for Allegheny West Magazine. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.