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quick bite

Lulu’s Allston, circa 1998

Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Where to Lulu’s Allston, a bar and restaurant on Cambridge Street not far from the Mass. Pike.

What for Guilt. Go on; get the “bad ass burger” topped with beer cheese soup.

Continue reading below

The scene Your favorite bar, circa 1998. Speakers blast Sugar Ray, Fastball, and Coldplay; high tops with silver chairs and space-age white booths anchor the dining room. Everyone knows the bartender, Alana, who’s chatting with a patron about the movie “Trainspotting.” Chef Sarah Wade personally delivers many dishes — which are ready almost instantly. An ATM hulks in the corner.

What you’re eating Drunk food, probably involving cheese. There’s a quinoa black bean burger and a portobello sandwich, but who needs virtue when tempted by short rib mac and cheese, three-cheese fondue, beer cheese soup, and caramel apple monkey bread with cream cheese sauce? Salads can be topped with fried chicken.

Care for a drink? Draft beer and “beertails” get big billing. Drafts, in the $6 range, are divvied into categories like ale, cider, lager, and wheat brews. Beer cocktails range from $8 to $11 and spotlight oddities like cranberry vodka mixed with Lefthand Milk Stout. (That one’s called “Surprisingly Delicious.”) There’s also bottled beer, a rotating keg selection, standard cocktails, and a short wine list.

Overheard Drive-in promises, real estate revelations, and debate regarding overseas accommodations. “Next time you come to the drive-in, I’ll buy your beer. No more kegs in the parking lot!” a gleaming gent promises Alana. “Wait. Are you from Medway? I’m from Medway!” a young man toting a massive laptop asks his polo-clad friend. “No, I live at the corner of Beacon and Mass. Great location but tiny apartment,” he laments. A brightly tattooed woman plops onto a barstool. “I thought I’d join you,” she tells Alana, clearly an old friend. “Did you just wake up?” Alana chides. “Hey! I got home at 3,” she giggles. A small bald man in white linen politely requests a shandy. “I’m going to Barcelona and Madrid,” Alana’s friend announces. “I’m buying a round-trip ticket. I want to breathe it in!” The shandy-sipper brightens. “I lived in Spain,” he says, beer glass aloft. She turns to him. “Should I stay in a hostel? I’d stay in a Brooklyn hostel. Maybe a Costa Rican hostel. But not a Spanish hostel,” she says. “Ah, you must visit La Barceloneta,” he smiles. She whips out her smartphone and takes notes.

Lulu’s Allston, 421 Cambridge St., Allston, 617-787-1117, www.lulusallston.com

Kara Baskin can be reached at kcbaskin@gmail.com.
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