Kicking off Mardi Gras with Twelfth Night in Soulard

Saturday, January 6th, is Twelfth Night in Soulard.  This is a celebration that quickly kicks away any winter blahs trying to set in.

It is the twelfth (and last) day of the Christmas season, and the beginning of the Mardi Gras, or the carnival season, AKA the pre-lenten season.

From Twelfth Night, January 6th, until Fat Tuesday, February 13th, it’s the reason for a season to eat, drink and be merry in anticipation of Ash Wednesday! The annual St. Louis Mardi Gras celebration started with a group of friends in 1980 at the Soulard home of Hilary Clements.  This group really liked to party.  So much so that Clements opened a bar at 1017 Russell and called it Hilary’s, which later became the home of the now-shuttered Johnny’s.

The fun has grown to festivities attended by tens of thousands over the whole five and a half weeks. But it all starts on Saturday night, Twelfth Night.  The Mardi Gras Inc. Board of Directors meet, and people from the community come to petition the board that Soulard should have another Mardi Gras celebration. After much deliberation, debate and discussion (15 minutes) there is a vote.

And it always somehow comes out the same. Yes, another Mardi Gras!

About 7 p.m., Revelers walk to several food and drink establishments, including 1860 Saloon.  They then walk to Soulard Market Park, for the coronation of the 2018 King Rex, the person to oversee the festival until Fat Tuesday. Other popular events during this time include Taste of Soulard on Saturday, February 3 and Sunday, Feb 4.

That’s when we serve thousands of our Famous Crab Cakes.  The Pet Parade on the 4th is as popular as the following Saturday Mardi Gras Parade! For more info, go to

Every day there is live music in the Saloon by musicians entertaining with blues, R&B, Motown and Classic Rock.  In addition to the Saloon, the 1860’s Game Room next door is a great gathering spot for playing pool, darts, shuffle board and more.

The Hardshell Café has a wonderful New Orleans garden atmosphere. Monday through Friday, 3 to 6 p.m., there are great Happy Hour Specials on locally brewed beer, drinks and select appetizers. Visit the website for directions to our Soulard neighborhood spot, the menu, music schedule, and more, Also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@1860soulard) Call 314-231-1860 or email to inquire about room rental and/or group reservations.