March Madness always gets the blood boiling. The people at Bambara Kitchen & Bar in Cambridge know that all too well.
In the spirit of good competition, and of college kids who haven’t quite mastered their fade-aways, Bambara invites you to come fade away with them March 26th, at their 2nd annual Mary Madness. The bracket-style Bloody Mary competition pits (don’t worry, no olives) 10 local mixologists against one another, and takes place from 1-4 p.m. Thus allowing you to get nice and lubed up before the 6 p.m. Elite Eight matchups.
Guests sample four-ounce Mary mixtures from each bartender, and pass judgment on a bracket-style score sheet. So even if you don’t have a stake in the basketball, you’re hardly inconsequential to the drinking — which is all anyone can ask.
Participating restaurants are as follows:ArtBar, Bambara Kitchen & Bar, Catalyst, Firebrand Saints, Highball Lounge, JW’s Tavern Road, Townsman, Toro and Trina’s Starlite Lounge.
We spoke with Bambara GM Amanda McBride, who gave us the lowdown on the competition.
Who is the team to beat, and who are the newcomers?
Last year’s winner was the Double Dragon Bloody Mary from the team at Banyan in the South End. We’re really looking forward to having the folks from Trina’s Starlite Lounge back — their specialty is vegetable-infused vodka that they use to make the “mud” for their mix. New to this year’s competition is Townsman, Toro and JW’s.
What kind of food will Chef Bazirgan have in store for us on gameday?
David Bazirgan recently joined the team at Bambara as our Executive Chef — his inaugural menu launched in early fall. With influences from his Armenian heritage, he offers a new, American-style menu, combined with a refined, market-driven approach to highlight seasonal ingredients. On game day he’ll be creating a seasonal Slider, Croque Madames and Pork Belly Bao Buns.
“Mary Madness”: Is the atmosphere as electric as the name?
Everyone really gets into the competitive spirit of the event. We create a bracket-style scorecard that allows for guests to vote for their favorites and take notes as they go from table to table. The winner gets a trophy — which is a bit over the top — but the bartenders really get into it.
If you go:
Mar. 26th, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The Hotel Marlowe
25 Edwin H. Land Blvd., Cambridge
$30, Tickets here