This Year’s Winner On the Best Parts of Being A Bartender

Photo by Gabrielle Chiongbian.

Best Bartender: Bonnie
Trina’s Starlite Lounge

3 Beacon St., (617) 576-0006,

Are you from this area?

I’m from California originally, and I came to Boston to go to school, and then I didn’t leave. I was a regular at Starlite before I worked there, so I’d been going for many, many years, and it just kind of worked out for me to be able to work there, and I’m really lucky to be able to work there. It’s such a great restaurant, there are such great people. I’ve been there for almost three years.

Were you a bartender elsewhere before?

I was a bartender before, I was a manager before this most recently. Then I started bartending at a couple places part-time when I started at Starlite, and then they asked me to be the assistant general manager, so now I get to do both, which is really nice, so I’m full-time there now. They’re really amazing bosses and it just kind of felt like the right fit.

What made you want to be a bartender?

I just really like bartending—I like the social interaction, I like hospitality, I like the idea of welcoming someone and making them feel like they’re having this experience, and you’re making it for them, even if it’s not as cookie-cutter as that.

It’s really a unique work environment, to always have something new happening, meeting new people. And as I went back into bartending after managing for so long, I really realized that I like bartending, I like coming up with cocktails, I like studying, I like learning, so it all works for me.

What’s one of your favorite cocktails that you’ve come up with?

I usually start with the classic cocktails, and then I build from there. I find that sometimes fewer ingredients is better; it’s all well and good to have 20 ingredients in a cocktail but it’s not really me, I like to let things come out on their own.

I do this thing every Sunday brunch—it’s my favorite shift on the bar—I do this thing where I freeze a cocktail and I pour another cocktail on top of it. I use juices or purees, I freeze fruits or whatever in it. They come out really pretty, they’re called Bonnie’s Boozy Cubes. And I do something different every week, and it’s pretty cool because it’s sort of this evolving cocktail as you’re drinking it, it keeps changing flavor as the things are melting.

Sunday morning’s your favorite shift? Why?

It’s funny, if you ask most people in the industry they would not say that Sunday brunch is their favorite. I’ve always liked brunch, the only thing that’s hard about it is that it’s early in the morning, but otherwise brunch is really fun. I find that people come in, they want to relax and have fun, they’re not in a rush to get anywhere, they’re just hanging out with you, and we have a ton of regulars on Sunday.

Editor’s note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and conciseness.

This story originally appeared in the 2018 Scout’s Honored issue of Scout Somerville, which is available for free at more than 200 locations throughout the city or by subscription.

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