The exterior of Mary's Rec Room is beguiling. Black windows dressed with dramatic, long red drapes and no signage. Is it a bordello? Perhaps it's the secret headquarters of the Priori of Sion? Or maybe Andersonville
's emerging red light district? No silly, it's just another GLBT bar adding to the growing scene of the party hearty hood.
At approximately 5 p.m. on a Sunday the place is jammed like Saturday night on the Vegas strip. You'll find ladies with baseball caps from the bar's softball league downing beers, and plenty of guys in skinny jeans working the scene at the bar.
In addition to being a place for drinks, socializing and pick-ups, Mary's Rec Room functions as a sports bar of sorts, with six TVs flickering the games. Yet the sounds penetrating the crowded room come not from the TVs but from loud chatter and a blaring cover of "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" on the stereo. A kitschy, campy factor also finds expression in the flamboyant purple and red walls, and framed photographs of Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.
The concept of the venue emerged from owners Ashley and Brandon Wright, twin brothers, who also operate Hamburger Mary's and Mary's Attic next door. Brandon Wright's home-brewed beers, a late-night Nibbly Bits menu, and preponderance of flashy martinis such as the Dolly Parton ($9) - served with two big melons of Barardi Grand Melon and watermelon pucker; triple sec, and cranberry - score hits with the local crowd.
Mary's weekend mimosa brunch attracts a crowd with tongue-in-cheek, yet substantial plates such as trucker breakfast - two eggs, griddlecakes, bacon, potatoes or fruit - for $9. Nibbly bits such as mac-and-cheese fritters ($6) and Maxwell St. Minis (kielbasa sausage, grilled onions, and yellow mustard, $6) are no less offbeat and cholesterol laden.
Overall, the Rec Room, like its name suggests, is perfect for recreation.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Marla Seidell