Increase Your Bar Biz with Mardi Gras

Published 03/01/2022

What is Mardi Gras?

Mardi Gras (which is French for Fat Tuesday) always falls on the day before Ash Wednesday. It is generally celebrated as a period of feasting on rich or fatty foods before Lent, particularly in ethnic French communities around the country and the world. Highlights of the festivities include wearing costumes and masks, which are usually heavily accented in purples, greens, and golds.

The largest and longest Mardi Gras celebration here in the U. S. is held in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. The carnival atmosphere lasts about two weeks, with the final five days leading up to Fat Tuesday being the liveliest. There are parades daily, masquerade balls, and numerous displays of performance art. Mardi Gras participants and spectators alike have also been known to indulge in heavy drinking, body painting, and wearing little to no clothing in public.

The great thing about Mardi Gras is that you can celebrate one day (Fat Tuesday) or for many days (up to two weeks) leading up to the big day, if your budget and logistics permit it. Here are some ideas you can mix and match or stretch into the period of time you choose:

Offer a different rich or fatty food special every night using popular Louisiana dishes such as jambalaya, gumbo, po’ boys, or cajun style shrimp and chicken entrees. Bonus if you serve New Orleans style beignets for dessert!

Serve famous New Orleans cocktails such as the French 75, the Roffignac, and the Hurricane. Dress them up with Mardi Gras garnishes or decorations. You can find terrific rainbow umbrella picks in Mardi Gras colors online. Color is key!

Decorate your place for Mardi Gras with fabric buntings, tablecloths, and runners (lots of great options are available online).

On Fat Tuesday itself, encourage your customers to wear costumes and masks. Order a few boxes of Mardi Gras hats, masks, and beads and pass them out at the door.

Ask your DJ to incorporate Mardi Gras music into the night’s playlist. Ragtime, New Orleans jazz, and zydeco will spread the Mardi Gras vibe and keep the dance floor moving.

Hire a strolling carnival performer or two to entertain your patrons. Indoor entertainers can include face painters, magicians, and fortune tellers. If you have outdoor space, jugglers, acrobats and contortionists, unicyclists, and stilt walkers will surely keep everyone’s attention.