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Trina's Starlight Lounge to replace the Abbey

From the Globe's Dishing blog:

"Trina's Starlite Lounge: That's what the former Abbey Lounge will become. In the summer, owners Josh Childs and Trina and Beau Sturm will open a space inspired by the '40s and '50s, serving affordable, Southern-influenced food and cocktails.

The Inman Square lounge comes with an affordable-bar pedigree: Childs is co-owner of Silvertone, and Trina and Beau Sturm are involved with City Bar and Highland Kitchen, respectively."

That sounds damned promising!

http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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  1. Who knew Cambridge would become a go-to spot for Southern cuisine.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Bob Dobalina

      I think the Southern Democrats have been squatting on former NASA land in East Cambridge since LBJ.... Magnolia's, Jake and Earls RIP, Hungry Mother, now Trina's and what else have been within a mile of JFK's NASA project and can be accessed w/o going near Harvard yard. Porterhouse Cafe must have been a decoy since was across town.

      1. re: itaunas

        Let's not forget the Cajun Yankee

    2. Oh, so that's where this place is going. I was assuming it would go where Magnolia's was (but as they say, never assume).

      1. Yet another incarnation of the old local! I grew up a block from there. Back then (1950s - '60s) it was the Abbeyfeale Cafe, a real old-time Irish dive bar. Impressive that it's stayed a boozerie of one sort or another all these years.

        And a bit sad that for the first time in the better part of a century (maybe even longer - who knows?) it's not going to have "Abbey" in its name any more.

        1. Edit: Wow! I just googled the Abbeyfeale for the heck of it and found this photo taken there in 1974.

           
          7 Replies
          1. re: BobB

            That photo is amazing! You can practically smell the 'Gansett, Lucky Strike non-filters, and Brylcream.

            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

            1. re: MC Slim JB

              It was taken by a pro named Jerry Berndt, and appears on this site http://www.we-make-money-not-art.com/... along with other great old Boston shots.

              1. re: BobB

                Great photo indeed! I know the owners and just forwarded it to them in hopes that they include it in the decor!!

                  1. re: BobB

                    I don't know why that particular image doesn't have a copyright mark on it at the website linked above - it does here:
                    http://nickyakehurst.com/photographer...
                    There's also contact information there to purchase a copy of the photo. There are other great photos from the Abbeyfeale, and some nice ones from The Littlest Bar as well.

                    1. re: Allstonian

                      It doens't need to have a copyright mark on it to be protected by a copyright.

                      1. re: Allstonian

                        The Blue Sands! Fond memories of my misspent youth. His photos are great.

            2. This is great news! They are taking the space next door (formerly a wine bar) as well, I assume?

              I live right down the street, so I will have to keep tabs on their progress. Speaking of progress, the "new" Kirkland should be opening soon....

              1 Reply
              1. re: pickledtink

                Wait, really? I walk by the Kirkland Cafe every day and haven't seen anyone working on it in probably over a year? Many many many months in any case.

                I love this idea of the Starlight Lounge! Welcome!

                1. re: CityPork

                  I saw that, too! No "Trina" in sight, though.

                  1. re: CityPork

                    Beau showed me the place a couple weeks ago...it's coming together nicely.
                    The kitchen is where the stage used to be, and they will be keeping the old "kitchen" (in between the two bars) for dishwashing and things.

                    1. re: CityPork

                      Anybody know the staffing situation? I live very close by and would love to get involved at the start.

                    2. Hey Everyone - I heard from Beau that the Starlite is opening Friday. Thought I'd post an update! I intend to check it out, and will hopefully report back!

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Jeda

                        Great news! I was just wondering this afternoon when it would open. I will look forward to trying it.

                        1. re: hckybg

                          I just walked by and there were people inside having drinks and such. Perhaps it is a private party, but exciting nonetheless!

                          1. re: n.cole

                            It's open! I stopped by and talked to the hostess, who said that their grand opening is Friday but they are very much open already. It was very busy and looked great. Beautiful shiny wood floors and a nice, smiling staff.

                            1. re: hckybg

                              Yeah...just got home from there.
                              I had many beers and a pretty good double bacon burger w/fries and slaw on it. 7 bones...I'm in.
                              Emma was killing it.

                      2. Stopped in for a double cheeseburger and an Abbey cocktail and both were great. Several High Life's and a shot of Fernet later and I was a very happy camper.

                        1. Anyone know what their hours are?

                          2 Replies
                            1. re: rknrll

                              There goes my hope of hitting it up saturday for brunch, instead i'm gonna have to wait until late next week. C'est la vie :)

                          1. Whoa whoa whoa... how does this double cheeseburger compare with Green St's?

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: celeriac

                              Haven't been to Green Street - but these are thin patties, also on a pretty soft bun.
                              Doesn't come with fries, just a pickle and lettuce/tomato/onion on the side.

                              I will not be ordering the turkey BLT again...far too much bread and there were literally two little ends of the tomato in it, and very little turkey.

                              The corn chowder was pretty good, as were the crab cakes (though they were a little on the small side (2/$8.))

                              I'll probably stick to the burger and dog offerings for the most part.

                              1. re: rknrll

                                I absolutely loved my cocktail (The Gentleman), but a bell pepper taste that I didn't like dominated the corn chowder and I didn't love it. I hope the menu is something of a place holder because it was not nearly as inspired as the drinks.

                                Great to see the space--I hadn't realized they'd taken the wine bar over also, and the staff were well organized this weekend and super friendly.

                                1. re: dulce de leche

                                  Yeah over the years it became less of a wine bar and more of just a bar to drink at and not have to pay admission to see a show next door. It was the same owners/drinks/drink prices.

                                  Oh I actually want to give the wings at shot...maybe this weekend.

                            2. Drinks we tried: Starlite cocktail, white rum, parfait amor, lemon, bubbles - sweet, but a tasty; all heart cooler, Saint Germain, Campari, white wine - mmmm cough syrup; sienna, vodka, basil syrup, lemon juice, pineapple juice - overwhelming on the basil, but not bad; the modern, cilantro infused gin gimlet, sweet 100 tomato - smelled like furniture polish, but tasted rather light and savory; the gentleman, Buffalo Trace bourbon, Belle de Brillet, lemon juice - brilliant; z’s negroni, pink grapefruit infused gin, Carpano Antica vermouth, Aperol - definitely my favorite, but I'm incredibly predictable in what I like.

                              The blue plate special was meatloaf wrapped in bacon with sweet potato whipped. The meatloaf was above-average-diner good, though there was absolutely no need for the tomato sauce at all. Especially when the tomato sauce met the whipped sweet potatoes. Ouch.

                              The pepperoni roll was not enough like a stromboli for me. Not that it's supposed to be, but I was holding out hope. Really it's just a mini calzone accompanied by a zingy tomato sauce.

                              The corn dog was exactly what it was supposed to be, and the mustard sauce was tasty as heck.

                              But the clear winner of the night was a daring move on our part to combine the cheese fries with the gravy fries to make....gravy cheese fries! The gravy is absurdly delicious and the perfect foil for what some would say are overly salted fries. I really should have just gotten two bowls of these for dinner. Yes, they're that good.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: gini

                                Gini, did you find that the craft/hipster cocktails clashed with the meatloaf?
                                Is there anything resembling light or healthy(er) than the food you mentioned? I get the retro vibe but geez...

                                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                  They have a couple of salads and a veggie burger housemade, all untried by me.

                                  1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                    Bob, I was sipping the cilantro gimlet when the meatloaf arrived, which went perfectly well. They also have a decent wine list and a small beer list, so you could always choose those instead. They have two salads - a chopped and a spinach, a soup and a baked haddock over sweet potatoes and spinach on the menu - all much healthier choices than we decided on.

                                  2. re: gini

                                    I was there last night with Mr. Kitsune and was very excited to try the cocktails. I had both a Z's Negroni and The Modern, as I am a big fan of their more traditional counterparts, the negroni and gimlet. The former was enjoyable and piquant, but I found the latter to be a bit lacking in flavor. My main complaint, really, is that neither drink was particularly strong and seemed heavier on the juice component of each. Mr. Kitsune (who had draft beer) seemed to think the cocktail menu in general seemed a bit "fussy", although I enjoy the use of exotic ingredients.

                                    For food, I had the baked haddock with sauteed spinach and sweet potato hash. Aside from the hash, which was excellent, I found it a bit bland and the portion rather small. Mr. Kitsune had the chili cheese fries and split grilled hot dogs, which he found to be good but noted that the bread was a little over-toasted. Chili cheese fries were nice but quite a small portion again for $6.

                                    In the end, we agreed that perhaps Trina's is better for a late-evening drink and snack, rather than dinner. Although our experience was mixed, we plan to try it again soon with that approach in mind.

                                    1. re: gini

                                      I went there the other night and got some of the same: meatloaf and gravy fries, with corn bread and cole slaw (plus a hot dog for my dc.) all the sides were pretty great, but I wasn't too crazy about the whipped sweets - they seemed kind of frou-frou for the meatloaf, though I guess that was the point. For drinks, I got an Abbey - gin, orange juice, maybe orange bitters? - and it was just so-so, kind of slushy and neither particularly tart, or sweet, or herbal, or refreshing; just sort of directionless.

                                      1. re: the modern serf

                                        Gin, Lillet blanc (aromatized wine flavored with orange peels and other fruits), orange juice, and Angostura bitters. Orange juice doesn't add a tartness unlike other citrus -- it generally smooths things over.

                                        It's a classic recipe that's the lead off (alphabetically)one in the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book. No clue what proportions they use at Trina's but the Savoy uses a 2:1:1 gin:lillet:oj whereas the one I had at Drink one night used a more booze-forward 4:1:1

                                        The Abbey I had at Drink:
                                        http://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com/20...

                                        The Alfa Sour I had at Trina's:
                                        http://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com/20...

                                    2. Stopped by around 8:30pm on Saturday night and it was packed with the typical Cambridge hipsters. Lots of ink, newsboy caps and Chuck Taylor All-Stars.

                                      Let me say that I love Silvertone-- and have been an admirer/patron for 10+ years. So, I was hoping that I'd love Trina's...

                                      But I didn't. Would I drive to Cambridge for it? No. Wait for 45 minutes for a table? No. Were the drinks good? Sure. Food? Meh. Pretty good. But all in all? I'd rather hit Silvertone.

                                      The Mac N Cheese at Trina's pales in comparison, by the way. Good for them for filling a need in the neighborhood...but I'd say this place is mostly flash and little there 'there'.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: mbasnack

                                        I was there on Saturday night too. Let's not forget the ironic hair ... muttonchops, Betty Page do's, et al. Not yuppy in the least, more like that generic 2008 hipster thing. That said, the crowd was awfully pretty and the servers / hosts were really friendly, as advertised. I didn't care for my drink, though -- the Fallen Angel. Mango-y with tequila, rimmed with some kind of BBQ rub. Not enough tequila, and too heavy. The BBQ rub was fun, though. Friend's Starlight cocktail was just okay too. White rum, parfait amor, lemon, bubbles. I just wasn't that excited. The dining room is small and was packed. Not that excited to try the food ... would rather hit up Tupelo or the Hungry Mother for southern flair. I think this place would be good for a bar-fly Sunday afternoon of drinking and watching the game, but I don't feel a need to hurry right back.

                                        1. re: yumyum

                                          I believe it was I that was being accused of yuppidom.

                                          Which is fine...except that I love Cambridge and dine there all the time. It was the food that I had an issue with -- not the hipsters.

                                          So, call me whatever you want...But that doesn't change that there are better food choices less than 3 blocks away.

                                          1. re: mbasnack

                                            Ooopsie! You're right. You're the yuppie, not the Starlight peeps. Name-calling doesn't really further the discussion here does it?

                                            1. re: yumyum

                                              I'm a dull yuppie, I suppose (though it's kind of an antiquated term -- we prefer "crassatarians"), and they've let me into Trina's several times without any problems. I think they are very welcoming to the hipness-impaired community.

                                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                          2. re: yumyum

                                            "... Let's not forget the ironic hair ... muttonchops, Betty Page do's, et al. Not yuppy in the least, more like that generic 2008 hipster thing."

                                            Ah... the Abbey!

                                          3. re: mbasnack

                                            I spent some time at Trina's Friday night and tried several cocktails (drank 2.5, sampled another 2 from a friend). The favorite of the night was "The Modern", a cilantro-infused gin gimlet with a cherry-tomato spear. Next favorite was a tie between the All Heart Cooler (St. Germain, Campari, white wine) and the Sienna (vodka, basil syrup, lemon and pineapple juices). The Z's Negroni (grapefruit-infused gin, vermouth, Aperol) was a bit too sweet, although i'm glad they've got Aperol at the bar. The Samata (Bison Grass vodka, ginger cognac, lemon juice, green tea, mint) was on the weak side and not much more interesting than a standard mojito. The bartender seemed a bit tipsy, giving incorrect drinks a couple times. People were friendly and not too much hipster attitude. Nice mix of ages and persuasions. Didn't try any food. Saw someone eating the waffles and fried chicken---which looked insanely rich but good.

                                          4. Heard some negative reviews from friends lately. Any updates from y'all?

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: djd

                                              I went just a week and a half ago and thought both the food and the drink were really great. I had a Gentleman, a nice cocktail with Buffalo Trace bourbon and the table all had--and loved--the Adirondack, which consisted of butter infused bourbon and maple syrup. Both drinks had a nice balance of flavors without covering the taste of the bourbon and were quite strong. The food was good to excellent. My meatball sandwich was definitely good enough, the fries were great, and the mac and cheese was awesome. I thought the crowd was nice, not only 20s hipsters but also a good range of ages and the service was perfectly fine. I wouldn't shy away from trying it if you haven't.

                                            2. we've been a handful of times. you know, the space is loud and the food is eh, but the staff and vibe of the place just feels right. it is comfortable and fine. definitely not destination dining, but a welcomed addition and absolutely one for the local rotation.

                                              1. We went there last night and it was awesome! We didn't eat but the food looked very good. The drinks were awesome and the service was stellar. We were served by Trina and Beau. They were both very nice. Anyone know Trina's involvement with City Bar? That's my favorite place.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: essayspot

                                                  Trina tended bar at City-Bar for seven or eight years; I don't know if she had a management role or not, likely did.

                                                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/