Whoop, whoop! March Madness is here. I plan to plant myself in my favorite bar, or on my favorite couch. There I will cheer on the [team name redacted for diplomatic reasons], or curse my bracket picks. Bring me a beer and a burger, and I'll be just fine.
Where do you go to cheer on your team? I'm guessing at the no-brainer spots: Satisfaction (905 W. Main St., Suite 37, Durham, 682-7397, www.satisfactionrestaurant.com) for the Blue Devils, Top of the Hill (100 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, 929-8676, www.topofthehillrestaurant.com) for the Tar Heels, and Amedeo's (3905 Western Blvd., Raleigh, 851-0473, www.amedeosrestaurant.com) for the Wolfpack. Correct? Are there others? Wake Forest fans, where do you congregate? (Other than in Winston-Salem, I mean.) Clue me in.
But not everyone is a roundball fan. So I present Martini Madness, my compilation of martini specials in the Triangle. (As many as I could find, anyway.) It's good any month of the year.
Bistro 64 (103 Edinburgh South Drive, Cary, 380-1322, www.Bistro64.com) might be the most martini-mad restaurant out there. The bistro has a menu of 64 martinis. There's the classic, of course, but also plenty of creative ones: the bloody marytini, the Carolina Hurricanes Martini (two kinds of rum, Amaretto, pineapple, grapefruit, orange and lime juice, shaken with passion) and dessert offerings like the Vanilla Coke Floatini.
At Bistro 64, every Monday is Martini Monday, with half-price martinis costing less than $5 each. And they have their own Martini Club on Facebook. If you join, they'll send you a coupon for a free martini.
On Wednesdays, take your 'tini-loving self over to Alivia's Durham Bistro (900 W. Main St., 682-8978, www.aliviasdurhambistro.com), which offers $5 martinis those nights, and Shiki Sushi (207 W. Hwy 54, Durham, 484-4108, www.shikisushionline.com) has a $5.50 special on its martinis.
In Raleigh, both Michael Dean's (6004 Falls of Neuse Road, 790-9992, www.michaeldeans.com) and Amra's (106 Glenwood Ave., 828-8488, amrasraleigh.com) have Ladies' Night on Thursdays. The 'tinis at Michael Deans are $4.99 these nights, and at Amra's, one penny more.
Then, of course, there's Blue Martini (116 N. West St., Raleigh, 899-6464, www.bluemartiniraleigh.com), which was voted Best Martini in the Indy's 2008 edition of Best of the Triangle. (Voting is open now for the 2009 edition.) Not surprisingly, this spot has several martini specials throughout the week: half-price martinis on Mondays, $5 cosmopolitans (there are several—who knew?) on Wednesdays, and $5 "fruit-named martinis"—including, I suppose, the lemon drop, the bananas jafari, and the caramel apple—on Sundays.
Carolina Brewery (460 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, 942-1800, www.carolinabrewery.com) is known for its beer, not its martinis, but recently a new creation crept onto the menu: the Psycho T Martini, named in honor of Tar Heel Tyler Hansbrough. The Psycho T'ini is made with Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka and lemonade. Carolina Brewery's Matt Clements called it "an adult Arnold Palmer."
Know about a fun food happening in the Triangle? Send it to Now Serving at firstname.lastname@example.org.