Inmanhattan at Trina's Starlight Lounge in Somerville, MA
Straddling the Cambridge-Somerville line, Trina's Starlight Lounge seemed to come with a bar full of neighborhood regulars when they opened in the fall of 2009. It quickly became the post-shift living room for industry folk. It's a great spot for seeing what area bartenders drink when they're not behind their own bar (spoiler: it's Miller High Life and Fernet.) If you want to meet industry standards, you can drink like the regulars, but you would be well-served to order one of the craft cocktails, such as the Inmanhattan ($9).
The Manhattan cocktail is as classic as they come. Stuffy hotel bars and old men sustained it while other cocktails of its same epoch met with the more tragic fate of oblivion. I'm a sucker for old man drinks and puns, and therefore a prime candidate for the yearling lounge's Cambridge riff on a New York classic.
Trina's incorporates the cocktail's traditional rye whiskey underpinnings, which then gets a lift from the Maserati of Italian sweet vermouths, Carpano Antica. To the full-bodied bond of rye and vermouth is added house-made orange bitters, defining more than accenting the Inman Square rendition. The dark amber elixir gets an additional citrus punch from the orange twist garnish, creating citrus notes of the warm spice variety, with an aroma reminiscent of a loaf of Christmas panettone.
If sipping on a glass of this aptly renamed classic doesn't turn you into a regular, then one of Trina's other affordable concoctions surely will. And of course, there are always the buckets of High Life ponies.