You can repent on Wednesday. Tonight's the night for revelry in the form of New Orleans-style menus, drink specials, a parade in Arlington and, of course, plenty of beads.
- The Clarendon-Courthouse Mardi Gras Parade features 40+ groups, including Batala Washington, the Jim Moyer Circus Club and the D.C. Roller Girls, plus horses, firetrucks, and 25 cases of beads. The parade will roll down Wilson Boulevard from N. Barton to N. Irving streets. 8 p.m.
- Bayou (2519 Pennsylvania Ave. NW) is serving a buffet of Crescent City cuisine and live music , including swing and hot jazz from Laissez Foure, "the funky sounds" of White Loafer, and big brass from Yamomanem. More music TBA. Specials include $5 Hurricanes and $4 Abita drafts on the patio. $25 all you can eat/listen.
- Bayou Bakery (1515 N Courthouse Road, Arlington, Va.) is dishing out beignets, beads, and King Cake by the slice with their regular menu from opening until 5 p.m. After that, choose from three options for their evening bash. The Purple "Brew D'at" card ($21) includes three drinks (Abita Draft, 12 oz. Abita Beer Bottle, Mardi Gras Punch, plus a special Bayou Gras cup. The Green "Drink D'at" card ($10) includes three non-alcoholic drinks. The Gold "Chew D'at" card ($25) includes three items from the Parade Route Menu: seafood jambalaya, chicken and andouille gumbo, two peppa-weenies, and muff-a-lottas, and after three items, turn in your card and get a slice of King Cake or a praline. Rappahannock River Oysters will be shucking all night long for free, and a celebrity Masked Mystery Mixologist will be behind the bar. The Clarendon Mardi Gras Parade starts at 8 p.m. nearby. 5-11 p.m.
- A special Mardi Gras edition of Food & Folklore at Eatonville (2121 14th St. NW) features poet Misty Brown as your guide through Mardi Gras history in the Caribbean and New Orleans. The three-course prix fixe dinner includes Gator Gumbo Shooters, Cajun Chicken Jambalaya, and King Cake Surprise for dessert. 6:30 p.m.; $45; reservations required.
- Grillfish (1200 New Hampshire Ave. NW) throws a Fat Tuesday party with Zydeco music, free beads (that's important) and masquerade masks, and prizes for those who find the "baby" in the King Cake. A New Orleans-inspired menu includes sustainable seafood dishes including jambalaya, and blackened mahi and grits. Drink specials include half-price Hurricanes. Happy hour 4-7 p.m. at the bar.
- Hot N Juicy Crawfish DC (2651 Connecticut Ave. NW) hosts a crawfish-eating contest, a free beer or order of Cajun fries for every pound you order), and an appearance by the Bud Light Girls. 8 p.m. contest; 8-9 p.m. Bud Light Girls.
- Indulge with food and drink specials for Carnaval at Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar (1905 Towne Centre Blvd., Suite 100, Annapolis, Md.). Specials include Chorizo and Black Bean Fritters, Jibarito Short Rib Sliders and Malanga Chicken Croquettes (see full menu here). The restaurant will also feature live music from Latin band Pa Gozar, half off Mojitos and free beads. Specials 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; band 8 p.m.
- Rumors (1900 M St. NW) hosts a Bourbon Street Bash including drink specials (Blue Moon), and a wing-eating competition. 5 p.m.-closing.
- Smith Commons (1245 H St. NE) dishes up New Orleans eats, including a (Peruvian-style) jambalaya, shrimp etouffee, bread pudding with bourbon sauce and a "Hurricane Irene" special cocktail. Stop by the bar, or make a dinner reservation online or by calling 202-396-0038.
- TruOrleans (400 H St. NE) has $3 off all Hurricanes, $4 Russian Standard Cocktails.
- The Ugly Mug (723 8th St. SE) has $4 Abita Turbo Dog drafts and $5 hurricanes. 8 p.m. contest; 8-9 p.m. Bud Light Girls.
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- Explore Black History Sites in Northern Va.