By Liza Weisstuch
The name came first. Only after owner David M. Paratore christened his new spot Vintage Lounge did he learn that the Financial District building it sits in was designed by legendary 19th-century architect Charles Bulfinch. With boxy leather armchairs and studded barstools that look as if they’ve been plucked from a Henry James novel, mod leather stools, and a curvy, buttercup-yellow ’60s sofa dominating the center of the room, it’s unclear what era ‘‘vintage’’ refers to.
What is clear is that the cozy lounge is devoid of attitude, harkening it back to saloons of old and making it seem vintage indeed. Add that to the fact that the expansive windows provide a bird’s-eye view of the horse and carriages trotting by on Broad Street, and you’ve got the classic New England ambience clinched.
The cocktails also have an old-fashioned touch. Most seem to have been inspired by cookbooks the bartenders pulled off their grandmothers’ shelves. Witness the Vintage Lemon Square Martini ($12) in a glass rimmed with crushed graham crackers, the espresso-spiked Hazelnut Martini ($15), and the frothy Key Lime Martini ($12).
The place is a busy detour for the after-work crowd — and a refreshing reprieve from the area’s surplus of dark Irish pubs. Even on a recent rainy night, sharply accessorized guests tossed around terms like ‘‘portfolio’’ and ‘‘market research’’ at the alabaster bar. On a different visit at a later hour, the place had the feel of a classy neighborhood bar, not at all surprising given that the Vintage Lounge is on the ground floor of a building that houses 96 condos. Who wouldn’t appreciate a stocked bar in their lobby?
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