TRIO Cafe & Lounge is the brainchild of brothers Tony and Paul Rodrigues and their childhood friend, Brian Carvalho. The trio sought to replicate a European-style eatery and lounge in Massachusetts, complete with chic decor, contemporary cuisine, and innovative cocktails. Abstract art speckles the walls of each location's sleek space, where diners sit on cushy couches and clink glasses of sangria over raw oysters and peppercorn-encrusted steaks.
When Simon and Jennifer Sousa opened Adagio Piano Lounge, they thought music would be the focus. That's why they planned to offer only a short menu of appetizers and drinks. But with Jennifer's mother, Lucy, in the kitchen, food became much more than an afterthought; her dishes garnered praise from patrons as well as The Herald News. Visitors can devour steamed littleneck clams in garlic sauce, chicken marsala, or Portuguese steak while live bands or dueling pianists perform in the background. Bartenders mix martinis and pitchers of sangria to pair with sumptuous entrees.
The chefs at Tap House Grille wrap bacon around meatloaf, top hand-formed Angus beef patties with guacamole and roasted chilies, and put inventive spins on classic American dishes. In the dining room, flatscreen televisions hang above tufted banquettes and a handsome wooden bar keeps more than 50 bottled beers and 24 rotating drafts chilled. On Friday and Saturday nights, live music, comedy acts, and Simon Says tournaments entertain patrons, and a complimentary valet service babysits patrons’ cars.
When asked what inspired her to open Genie's Hookah Lounge, Farahnaz Shobeiri recalls the parties her grandfather used to host in Iran. “Whenever he had parties, he had hookah. People came to talk about family and politics and also to just enjoy themselves.” Now directing her own festive space, Shobeiri hopes to not only foster a similarly laid-back, convivial atmosphere but also to share her Persian heritage with others.
On Friday and Saturday, belly dancers sway to the sounds of Middle Eastern music, and tarot-card readers divine fortunes amid thick persian rugs and plush couches heaped with pillows and tinier, plusher couches. Friends can pass around handmade Egyptian hookahs filled with coconut-shell coals and dozens of different flavors, including tobacco-free herbal molasses. The lounge also boasts a high-end air-filtration system, which means that the smell of smoke or wandering cologne salesmen never overpowers the aromas of spiced meats and fresh bread from the kitchen.
Though Genie's Hookah Lounge doesn’t serve alcohol, people are welcome to bring their own wine and beer, and servers pour pure pomegranate juice and herbal teas directly into mouths via a funnel. Shobeiri hopes that the atmosphere encourages people to relax and linger over their meals. “We do everything from the heart here,” she says. "Everyone comes here to be happy.”
Under the ownership of Federal Hill native Christopher Conti, Blush Winebar pours half and full glasses from hundreds of red, white, and sparkling libations. The upscale watering hole offers more than 100 wines by the glass, each with its own distinct flavor notes and secret cheese crush. A champagne bar highlights the bubbly beverage with glasses, full bottles, and three-flute samplers as well as a selection of champagne-based cocktails, such as the Blush Boom Boom, a mixture of Moët champagne, pomegranate liqueur, Grand Marnier, and orange juice. Executive chef Jacen Scungio blends fresh, local ingredients to create the flatbread pizzas, sliders, and handmade pastas that populate the wine bar’s tapas menu and keep hungry imbibers from trying to stomp their wines back into grapes.
McFaddens Restaurant and Saloon combines the warm atmosphere and decadent fare of a family restaurant with the all the rowdy good times of an old-fashioned saloon. In the dining room, the wait staff shuffles around plates of classic fare for both lunch and dinner, including Black Angus burgers, roasted vegetable flatbread pizzas, and slow-roasted prime rib, with a few treats for kids, such as grilled-cheese sandwiches, cheeseburger sliders, and ice-cream pie for dessert. After dark, the bar comes alive with trivia and karaoke on Wednesday nights, supplemented by liquid courage in the form of beer towers and Ciroc ultra-premium vodka. Weekends start on Thursday with a live DJ and wrap up on Sunday with game-day specials during NFL games and professional rock-paper-scissor smack downs.