Introducing: Burnside Inn

New Mass Ave hotspot has some serious chops.

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The menu, featuring a likeness of Ambrose Burnside

Amy Lynch

Little did Ambrose Burnside know back in the mid-1800s that his distinctive facial hair stylings would go on to inspire a generation of hirsute hipsters more than a century later. The patron saint of sideburns (and Liberty, Indiana, native) was something of a Renaissance man for his time—inventor, Civil War general, politician, and tailor. Now, he’s also the creative muse and namesake of the new Burnside Inn on the southwestern edge of Mass Ave.

Wild Beaver Saloon partners Will Howe, Ric Payne, and Kerry Payne are the brains (and the brawn) behind the circa-1872 structure’s latest incarnation. Like a cat, the slim shotgun property next to Bakersfield has evolved through a number of lives during the course of its history, from saloon to salon. After six months of renovations, the Burnside Inn opened last week, an intimate three-story stunner furnished in quirky vintage style.

Each floor boasts its own bar and vibe—showy miniature chandeliers, a tin ceiling, playful framed art, and an Italian marble bar topper on the ground level; a cozy nook for live music on the second floor; and a midcentury-modernish sitting area with flocked wallpaper and a gorgeous turquoise lounging sofa on the third level. A Christmas tree and an old-timey saloon piano greet guests at the entrance, while patios off the first and second floors promise preferred seating when the weather warms up this spring. Rumor has it, a friendly resident ghost occasionally makes his presence known.

There’s no food service yet, but the owners plan to park a dedicated food truck overseen by Lisa Moyer of Greiner’s Deli and Mac Genie fame in the lot out back come January. In the meantime, Burnside Mules are the house specialty, available in a dozen different variations made with freshly squeezed juices, infused simple syrups, and snappy garnishes. Wine, beer, and cocktails are also available from the full bar.

Burnside Inn, 314 Massachusetts Ave., 317-991-4150

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