With February comes the celebrated New Orleans staple of Mardi Gras, and even though we’re a few states north of Louisiana, the distance between DC and the festivities seems non-existent given the number of local bars offering a slice of the Southeast region. On Tap traveled to a few locations boasting New Orleans-style libations, so you’re not without a venue come February 28.

Tom Latterell
General Manager, Big Chief

On Tap: How did you decide which New Orleans-style cocktails to feature on your menu?
Tom Latterell: Honestly, it’s about finding a balance between authenticity and speed, because look at this place. It’s massive. Trying to make real New Orleans cocktails in a place like this is a challenge. On a casual Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we’re all about Hurricanes and Sazeracs. Most of the time, it’s stuff like the Hand Grenades and
slushy-style drinks, which are still very New Orleans.

OT: Do you think it’s hard to capture an authentic feel so far away from New Orleans? And how do people respond to the one you have?
TL: As long as you keep people happy, it’s all good. That’s the kind of culture we’ve drawn from New Orleans.

OT: Are there any DC twists you plan to put on Big Chief’s Mardi Gras celebration?
TL: There’s no particular flair that we have to add. We’re here to be an authentic representation of what [Mardi Gras] is like in DC.

OT: What is the ratio of Brooklyn to New Orleans influences at Big Chief? Where are they similar and where are they different?
TL:  Both cities are full of creators, and people that want to stand behind what’s happened, and what’s going to happen. It’s not necessarily a physical reputation. It’s an attitude.

OT: And are there any plans to add a kitchen in the future, or will you stick with BYOF?
TL: Adding a kitchen is something I think about, but at this point I don’t know.

Big Chief: 2002 Fenwick St. NE, DC; www.bigchiefdc.com

Tom’s Pick
Rye whiskey
Peychaud’s Bitters