Originally published on October 30, 2013.
An early 20th century brick fortress, the Culver Road Armory is now a mixed-use space, boasting modern flourishes of blonde wood, burnished chrome, and glowing light accents. On a Friday or Saturday night, the parking lot is packed. The main draw is TRATA, a.k.a. The Restaurant At The Armory.
The space alone is worthy of attention: TRATA is stunning. Comprised of three levels, the ceiling stretches high into the air. Its vertical height is made less cavernous by large, spherical lights positioned between the second and third floors. The space is a mix of industrial metals — grating banisters, support beams, duct work — and earthier elements like warm woods, sedately colored fabrics, and exposed brick.
The first floor bar provides a good vantage point from which to survey the restaurant and its clientele. During a Saturday evening visit, one corner of the bar featured three women in sweaters, jeans, and heeled boots with an infant in tow; in the second corner, two men in their early 20s looked ready for a night in the clubs; in the third was a couple in their late 50s, the woman dressed as what can only be described as an homage to Barbie. (The fourth corner was me, and between each grouping were scads of people.) It’s a testament to TRATA’s service that each party appeared happily occupied, comfortable, and satisfied.