Before you can get into all the Asian street food and booze fun available at the just-opened Night Market in the old Tamarind Bay space, you first have to find the place.
But once you turn the corner under the Night Market logo sign, which leads to the subterranean stairway (which is easy to miss in the dark) and submerge yourself, there’s a distinct sense that everything is going to be alright.
Because in spite of only having a license for beer and wine at the moment—something General Manager Jonathan Bernier says he’s looking to change as soon as possible so that Night Market can expand into a full bar with a focus on Korean Shoju—the business is making the most of it with a cheery suds list, some red and white wine, and sake.
Speaking of sake, you’ll want to settle into a warm corner of the cozy space, or just belly up to the small bar, look the cold weather dead in the eye, and, with a confrontational guffaw, order the Pineapple Sake Slushie ($6.50), made with Coco Rico coconut Asian soda, generous amounts of dry sake, and pineapple juice, then poured into a small tumbler glass.
I took mine down with a side of Asahi beer (and Sichuan fried chicken wings), from the list that includes other Asian beers (think: Hitachino Nest White Ale, Beerlao), all of which supported the overall secret-y vibe, as if I had just discovered a former punk rock stronghold that’s been retrofitted into a Japanese izikaya. The night I went, friends of the management and an after-work nosher flanked me, as did Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Cambridge resident Junot Díaz, who got up from a table next to me, offering a satisfied “It was great man, it was great” to the team as he exited.
Sake slushies, deep-fried crickets, graffiti, and genius writers.
This may be the most Harvard Square-y watering hole to emerge in recent memory.
NIGHT MARKET. NOW OPEN. 48 JFK ST., CAMBRIDGE. 857-285-6948.
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Dan is a freelance journalist and has written for publications including Vice, Esquire, the Daily Beast, Fast Company, Pacific Standard, MEL, Leafly, Thrillist, and DigBoston.