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.