Bartenders of the ‘Ville: Beau Sturm

by Katie Mauck on February 12, 2011

Beau Sturm, co-owner of Trina's Starlite Lounge

I sat down recently with Trina’s Starlite Lounge co-owner Beau Sturm, who explained the theory behind their cocktail program and gave me a recipe for a “Somervillian” cocktail that will be one of several debuting next week.

Occupying the former location of the renowned Abbey Lounge, Trina’s respects the history of the space while still succeeding in establishing itself as a kick-ass neighborhood destination in its own right. Unlike its predecessor, this Lounge is hardly a dive bar, with its craft cocktails and fresh or homemade ingredients (lemon verbena bitters, anyone?) but you can still get a $3 High Life and a burger.

Something for everyone: the menu’s got comfort food, cheap beer and a serious cocktail list. While you can’t beat a bucket of High Life Ponies ($11), it’s a friendly place to try something new. So while you munch on those gravy fries, see what the bartenders at Trina’s Starlite can mix up for you.

During our chat, I also got to try another future addition to the menu, the El Camino. I’m looking forward to trying the rest of the new drinks slated to appear next week.

Name: Beau

Bartending since: 1992

First job?

Oh wow, I don’t remember. OK, I was a welder in a machine shop.

So how did that segue into bartending?

It didn’t. In high school, I worked as a valet on Friday and Saturday nights at a country club. When one of the bartenders left, I was the oldest looking young person they could find, so they threw me behind the bar when I was 16.

Isn’t that illegal?

Well, I was the oldest looking, and, you know, it was West Virginia.

Any story behind the name of your bar?

Trina’s my wife! And she was one of the best bartenders we knew, so… The Starlite part, well, there’s a Starlite Lounge in every city; it’s this great generic bar name. We wanted it to evoke the vibe of a contemporary take on 1950s diner. The Lounge part comes from the Abbey Lounge, which had an 80 year history in this location.

How do you bring people into the world of cocktails who might be afraid to dive in otherwise?

Our cocktail list has some really fun names for pretty serious drinks. That helps. There’s this new cocktail that’ll be on the menu called the El Camino – it’s a tequila take on a Sazerac – and, I mean, I’d order anything called an El Camino!

It’s about making people comfortable, engaging them, figuring out what they’re here for. Some people are just here for a $4 cheeseburger and a High Life. And some people are here for certain bartenders that they’ve been following from place to place for years. Some people are here for the music, the vibe. It’s just about figuring out what they’re here for, what they like, and then if they want maybe move them towards something new.

For example, maybe someone orders a Cosmo. So for their next drink, from there, move them to something with citrus. Maybe an Aviation, which is a great intro to gin.

Can you give me a recipe for a Somervillian cocktail?

Well, actually, we’re going to have a whole bunch of cocktails named after Somerville on the menu starting February 16. So the one I’ll share with you now is called a Ward Two – that’s where we are right now, in Ward 2. This is a drink that’s a take on a Ward Eight, which was invented in Boston.

Ward Two

2 oz. Appleton Reserve Rum

1/2 oz. fresh-squeezed orange juice

1/2 oz. fresh-squeezed lime juice

1/2 oz. grenadine (Trina’s uses it own homemade pomegranate grenadine)

Catch Beau on bar on Wednesdays for his specialty cocktail night.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Neil February 15, 2011 at 8:40 PM

I’d like to order 12 Somervillians please…

Neil February 15, 2011 at 8:42 PM

..and a Ward Two chaser. STAT.

Neil February 15, 2011 at 8:57 PM

Seriously: Beau, Trina and the crew absolutely rock…and so does TSL. One of the best spots in the city. Fantastic drinks. Amazing food. Great atmosphere. I need to get back soon…

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