As March 4 approaches, revelers around the world are gearing up for the all-out bingeing and debauchery known as Mardi Gras, Catholics’ last-ditch chance to indulge before the 40-day period of austerity known as Lent. While Las Vegas’ Fat Tuesday offerings pale in comparison to that most notorious stateside Carnevale spot, New Orleans—perhaps because our city indulges in this kind of unhinged boozing and inhibition loosening on the daily—there are still plenty of options for folks looking to let the good times roll. Read on, and get your beads ready: The fun starts as early as Feb. 28.
Get dressed up for Ghostbar’s Mardi Gras Masquerade on March 4. You’ll receive complimentary admission for showing up in a mask; we’re pretty sure you can take it off inside. (In the Palms, 10 p.m., Palms.com.)
Celebrate early with free king cake, beads and masks at Party Gras in Green Valley Ranch’s Grand Event Center on Feb. 28. Tunes are provided by DJ CO1 and Ashley Red. The couple dressed in the best Big-Easy attire will be crowned Mr. & Mrs.
Mardi Gras and win $1,000 cash. (2300 Paseo Verde Pkwy., 8 p.m., LasVegas.CBSLocal.com/Party-Gras.)
FESTIVALS AND PERFORMANCES
Beignets (the fluffy, French donut pictured above) are reason enough to attend the celebration at Charleston Heights Arts Center on March 1, but in addition to delicious cuisine, the center brings in music from Creole Stomp, plus free masks and beads with admission. ($10 advance/ $15 at the door, 800 S. Brush St., 7 p.m., ArtsLasVegas.org.)
Springs Preserve holds its first annual Mardi Gras Vegas from 4-8 p.m. on March 1. The family-friendly festival includes Southern food and a beer garden, music by Mardi Gras Mambo, fortunetellers and palm readers. You know—if you believe in all that. ($8 adults/ $5 kids, 333 S. Valley View Blvd., 4 p.m., SpringsPreserve.org.)
Golden Nugget launches its Big Easy Festival with the fourth annual Masquerade Ball on March 1 at Gold Diggers. Admission ($15, $25 per couple) includes the party essentials: free beads, doubloons and masks. Festivities continue at the hotel-casino through March 9. (129 Fremont St., 8 p.m., GoldenNugget.com.)
Park on Fremont pours hurricanes ($8 each) and bottomless mimosas ($20) during Jazz Brunch from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday, March 2. Local quartet The Shapiro Project plays on the patio from 1-3 p.m. (506 Fremont St., 11 a.m., ParkOnFremont.com.)
Chef Emeril Lagasse is a New Orleans native (and owns three restaurants there), so we’ll trust his expertise with these NOLA favorites: the Fleur Gin Fizz and Rum Old-Fashioned ($14 each) and a Throwback Sazerac ($15), served at his Table 10, Delmonico and Emeril’s Fish House Strip-side restaurants Feb. 28- March 4. (EmerilsRestaurants.com.)
Bust out your beads and get buzzed at Rockhouse. The “ultra-dive bar” will serve hurricanes for $5 on March 4. Because it’s also Taco Tuesday, you can indulge in the chorizo and mozzarella ($1.50) or flaming shrimp ($2) taco as well. (In the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian, TheRockhouseBar.com.)
PBR Rock Bar offers bourbon street punch ($5) all day on March 4. Small plates of sweet chili shrimp, chipotle chicken sliders and fried pickles will also be available for $7 each. (In the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, PBRRockBar.com.)
You’ll be nursing a ‘fat’ hangover on Wednesday after sipping a Hurricane Punch cocktail at Cabo Wabo Cantina. Bartenders will serve the drink in a 21-oz version of its curved namesake glass. (In the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, CaboWaboCantina.com/Vegas.)