Staying Alive: Boston’s Cafe Culture

Posted on February 16, 2009 by


Taking this attraction in, one hot beverage at a time.

Taking this attraction in, one hot beverage at a time.

An excerpt from the upcoming March issue of Le Renard.

By Phil Meagher

At Trident Booksellers and Café the atmosphere is one-of-a-kind. In addition to offering a full breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu until midnight, they also sell books and magazines. This is one of Boston Proper’s last surviving independent booksellers, one of the areas few independently owned coffee shops.

Having survived nearly 25 years at this location, the staff at Trident has picked up on a crucial bit of knowledge: Staying alive as a coffeehouse in the center of this city means constantly working to offer what others don’t. Today, that means keeping up with the times.

“You have no idea how much change we go through on even a weekly basis,” says Ian Tarter, the café manager at Trident, “I mean, between the changing of recipes and menu items.”

Among other things, Trident is regularly experimenting with new events to try to drawn in business. They have recently begun hosting trivia contests on Friday nights, and are in the process of organizing a weekly and semi-big-screen film night. As for the flat screen televisions behind the bar, they were installed two years ago to play classic movies, not sports. “It’s something that you can’t get elsewhere,” he says, “and that’s what we’re trying to do.”