First Bite: Trina's Starlite Lounge

By Amy Traverso | Boston Magazine |

The buzz surrounding this fall’s opening of Trina’s Starlite Lounge was so loud that you’d have half expected to find a Michelin-starred restaurant in the space, not just a neighborhood bar. But considering the pedigree of its owners—Josh Childs of Silvertone, J Bellao of Audubon Circle, and the wife-husband team of Trina and Beau Sturm, who hail from City Bar and Highland Kitchen, respectively—perhaps it makes sense. Together, they represent some of the top barkeep talent in the city.

Trina’s is also in a prime Inman Square location, the site of the former Abbey Lounge. In fact, it seems so well suited to the neighborhood’s grad students and skinny jeans–clad hipsters, it’s as if they willed it into being. The vibe is cool and friendly, and the retro interior—all atomic starbursts, vintage cocktail shakers, and pages from old Life magazines—makes it feel like a place where Peggy Olson might have come to meet boys.

The appealing setting, though, is merely a backdrop to the main draw: the truly excellent cocktails made with fresh fruits, herbs, and spices. Our favorites to date include the Samata, with vodka, ginger cognac, lemon juice, green tea, and mint, and the Starlite, with white rum, parfait amour, lemon, and champagne. There are 18 beers, six on tap (although everyone seems to be drinking Miller High Life).

Trina’s calls itself a lounge, and its menu is more ambitious than your typical watering hole’s. But you should treat this as a great bar with good food rather than a gastropub. While the lineup pays homage to such American classics as gravy fries and chili-cheese dogs, some fancier dishes (like a fishy-tasting baked haddock) don’t always hit the mark. Stick with bar standards like chicken and waffles, the pleasantly yeasty-spicy pepperoni roll, and burgers and griddled dogs—just be sure to save room for one last nightcap.

3 Beacon St., Somerville, 617-576-0006, trinastarlitelounge.com.