The North End’s Salem Street has a new and expansive bar-centric destination with this month’s opening of Libertine. The restauranteurs were inspired by the free-spirited nature of the name (Libertine is defined as one devoid of restraints; a dissolute person or freethinker). The eclectic theme is readily evident in both the drinks and food menu.
The edgy concept is an encore endeavor by locals Shannon MacGowen, Nino Trotta and Christian Trotta who introduced the more intimate Forcella to North Square about this time last year. Forcella is more old-school Italian, while Libertine takes a different path with a contemporary vibe, targeting the after-work, dating and family/friends crowd.
With two sizeable spaces, the front room has a long U-shaped bar and high-top tables for casual bites and drinks. Around the corner, the side room has a more traditional sit-down restaurant feel but still benefits from street windows.
While the menu has some traditional preparations of burgers and sandwiches, it leads to more adventurous varieties and plenty of gluten-free, vegetarian & vegan options.
Co-owner Nino Trotta said, “The chef shares unrestricted characteristics – creating fun & unique appetizers like Chicken Pot Pie in the form of a dumpling, Steak Skewers with French Bistro flavor, and Street Corn with an Italian twist – to name a few.” Running the gambit, there appears something for everyone, from Mac n Cheese, BBQ Ribs, Teriyaki Steak Tips to New England Cod and something called Lobster Thermador.
The location at 125 Salem Street will be familiar to North Enders as the former La Galleria 33, famous for its Kitchen Nightmares reality TV fame.
After a soft opening, Libertine is now open 5pm-11pm, Sunday through Wednesday and 5pm-1am Thursday through Saturday. See their website for reservations and updates.