How to celebrate Mardi Gras in Philly

For 2018 Mardi Gras events, click here.

Mardi Gras is known by many names in different cultures, from Fat Tuesday to Fasnacht Day. Either way, it's an excellent reason to go out on a Tuesday. 

Fat Tuesday's

The South Street bar's Mardi Gras celebration has been tamed in recent years but manager Rich Frank still says it's still the bar's busiest day of the year. Fat Tuesday's opens at noon, Q102 will broadcast from 3 to 7 p.m., and the DJs and contests (think T-shirts and gift certificates) will continue throughout the night. And beads: Of course there will be beads. 

Noon-2 a.m. Fat Tuesday's, 431 South St., $10-$20, 215-629-5999, fattuesday.com

Rex 1516

The South Street bar and restaurant serves a killer Hurricane, and has Southern-fried food all year long. But to celebrate Fat Tuesday, it'll be serving up a king cake burger — featuring chopped cheddar, bacon, and bibb lettuce on a king cake roll — to complete you holiday decadence. Wash it all down with a pint of Newbold and a shot of Jim Beam's Devil's Cut. The restaurant is small so make sure to get a reservation.

5-10 p.m. Tuesday, Rex 1516, 1516 South St., 267-319-1366, www.rex1516.com.

Beiler's Doughnuts

The holiday is called “Fat Tuesday” for a reason, and few foods will help you get it like doughnuts can. Around here, the poison to pick is Beiler’s, which opens a University City location just in time for Mardi Gras. This spot features an expanded menu from the Reading Terminal Market location, with Bassetts ice cream, smoothies, and coffee drinks so your doughnut doesn’t have to go down alone. Pure, sugary hedonism.

7 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday, Beiler's Doughnuts, 3900 Chestnut St., 215-351-0735, www.facebook.com/beilersdonuts.

Beck's Cajun Cafe

Camera icon michael klein / Staff 
Beck's Cajun king cake, a cinnamon-and-nut round with the lucky baby Jesus figurine baked inside.

Head to this Reading Terminal mainstay for all your needs related to king cakes, a dessert made from twisted ropes of cinnamon dough and are colored the traditional Mardi Gras colors: purple (justice), green (faith), and gold (power). Traditionally, a baby figurine is inserted into the cake and the person who gets the slice with the figure in it has a year of good luck. A whole king cake at Beck's will run you $37.75. If you're close to to its 30th Street Station location, hit up Beck's for lunch, where you can get a Mardi Gras lunch special. For $10.95, you'll get muffaletta, a king cake slice, Zapp's Chips, an Abita Root Beer, masks and beads.

Tuesday, Beck's Cajun Cafe, Reading Terminal Market, 51 N. 12th St., 215-592-0505; 30th Street Station, 30th and Market, 215-382-2800

South

The North Broad Street jazz club will feature its regular jazz jam, but this time with more of a New Orleans sound. The event will "explore the magic and the mystery" of New Orleans staple the Sazerac. Every Tuesday features a three-course prix fixe; Tuesday's meal will also pay special attention to New Orleans.

4-7 p.m. Happy Hour; 7 p.m. Jazz Jam Tuesday, South, 600 N. Broad St., 215- 600-0220, southrestaurant.net.

Bourbon Blue

This Manayunk spot rings in Mardi Gras with two options: an open-bar package (in two- or three-hour varieties) that includes a buffet and other Mardi Gras trappings, or a flat cover that includes one free drink. 

All day, Tuesday, McGillin's Old Ale House, 2 Rector St., $10-$35, 215-508-3360, www.bourbonblue.com

Science After Hours: Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras doesn’t have to just be about gluttony. As it turns out, you can learn something, too, courtesy of the Franklin Institute’s “Science After Hours” event, which features a Mardi Gras theme this week. New Sound Brass will perform throughout the night, while the institute’s “Hurt So Good” live show will answer questions like how much force it takes to pull off a human limb. 

7-10 p.m. Tuesday, Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th St., $20, 215-448-1200, fi.edu

The Hoppin John Orchestra

Head to the Center City jazz spot for a parade down the street, a set by this NOLA-inspired band, and enjoy drink specials, classic New Orleans cocktails, and special foods like a crawdad cheesesteak.

7 p.m.-midnight, Chris' Jazz Cafe, 1421 Sansom St., $15, 215-568-3131, www.chrisjazzcafe.com.

The Wild Bohemians

Americans have been celebrating Mardi Gras since 1856. And here in Philly, we’ve been celebrating Mardi Gras with the Wild Bohemians since 1984 — a tradition that continues in 2017 at World Cafe Live. Join the band for their 33rd annual Philly Mardi Gras show, where they’ll jam out to everything from Mardi Gras street music to more Dixieland tunes. Tickets run $15, and are available online now.

7 p.m., World Cafe Life, 3025 Walnut St., 215-222-1400, www.WorldCafeLive.com.