Houston's Top 10 Mardi Gras Bars

10. THE CREOLE BAR AND GRILL All the college kids from both TSU and U of H Main hang out at the Creole for some killer Louisiana food and equally killer Louisiana imbibing. With a huge patio and sweet jazz playing most days, it may not offer the crushing madness of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but we have a feeling that some days that patio becomes a bit of the Big Easy deep in the heart of Texas.

3811 Ennis, 832-203-7337

9. WOODROWS HEIGHTS Sure, this is a Woodrow's location, but it's Woodrows Heights, located in the old Mardi Gras Bar & Grill location. They've even kept the Creole theme, so it's totally still one of the best places to celebrate Mardi Gras if you're stuck in Houston. We're positive the bartenders know how to mix up a mean Hurricane, and you can still grab some beads without hanging off some Bourbon Street balcony. Whether or not anyone complies with the hallowed Mardi Gras bead rules, though -- that's is on you, buddy.

1200 Durham, 713-864-5600, woodrowsheights.com

8. CAFE 4212 Cafe 4212 may not be a jazz and blues bar in New Orleans, but it's a jazz and blues bar in Houston that features plenty of fine musicians from New Orleans, which is good enough for us. 4212 also offers a fine Saturday zydeco matinee (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) if you're into that, but if you happen to miss that, this cozy lounge is still a great place to celebrate your own little Mardi Gras.

4212 Almeda, 713-522-4212, cafe4212.com

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7. JAX GRILL Know what's awesomely Louisiana-ish? Jax Grill's Zydeco Friday Nights, where a live zydeco band draws a packed house of folks trying to outdo each other on the dance floor. Add stout drinks and great food to the sweet Louisiana music, and really, how much more would you need in order to pretend you're in the midst of Mardi Gras?

1613 Shepherd, 713-861-5529, jaxgrillhouston

6. RED CAT JAZZ CAFE The Red Cat's wobbly tables, tiny dance floor and fantastic jazz make it feel just like a little hole-in-the-wall bar tucked away somewhere in the French Quarter. Nothing wrong with that. Perhaps they'll even make you a milk punch if you ask nicely.

711 Franklin, 713-226-7870, redcatjazz.net

5. CLAYTON'S RESTAURANT & CLUB With all the zydeco and line-dancing, we could hang at Clayton's all day long, especially during Mardi Gras season. Perhaps you should think about joining us, because it's guaranteed to be an awesome time. We'll bring the king cake if you'll bring the Bourbon Street hand grenades.

198 N. Sam Houston Pkwy., 281-999-1500, claytonsclub.com

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4. VOODOO QUEEN We're pretty sure Voodoo Queen can pull off Mardi Gras in its own hip kind of way, so perhaps you should join in this Fat Tuesday if you're longing for the busy streets of New Orleans. Something about the unassuming vibe reminds us of some local haunts in Nola, like this divey little bar on St. Peters called the Red Eye. With Voodoo Queen's glowing drinks and mismatched chairs, you'll feel just like you've been lifted off of the streets of the French Quarter and plopped down in Second Ward.

322 Milby

3. SWAMPY'S CAJUN SHACK Technically, Swampy's is outside of the metro area, but what could feel more backwoods than going halfway to Richmond for the hodge-podge of fried foods and po-boys at Swampy's? Add lots of Abita beer to wash it all down, and you'll have no trouble absorbing the Louisiana flavor. If you're looking for a low-key, Cajun kind of Mardi Gras, Swampy's hits the spot quite well.

26440 F.M. 1093, 832-222-9005

2. MOJEAUX'S LOUISIANA DRINKERY Something about Mojeaux's makes it feel a bit like a messy New Orleans home rather than a bar, but there's nothing wrong with that. It's cluttered, kitschy, and most of all Abita-heavy, and since when is that a bad thing? And even if the Turbo Dogs don't tickle your Mardi Gras fancy, the mad list of Bourbon Street-themed cocktails like the Bloody Mojeaux will. Just go, and bring us some sweet blinky-beads, please.

2024 Rusk, 713-222-6656

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1. THE BIG EASY SOCIAL & PLEASURE CLUB Everything about The Big Easy screams Mardi Gras, down to the color scheme. The old stage houses some of the best zydeco and blues players this side of the Texas-Louisiana border, and nary a day goes by that the dance floor here stands empty. Sunday nights, when the rubboards start to sing their tinny song, even the staunchest anti-dancer is lured to the floor to bust a move. Trust us.

5731 Kirby, 713-523-9999, thebigeasyblues.com


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