Usually what makes a particular spot hot is what it has: A pool table, really cheap booze, good cheap food, hip and energetic atmosphere, or perhaps a wide variety of “hotties.”

But for some folks — particularly those of a certain age — what raises a spot’s temperature is what it doesn’t have: Constantly blaring music, too many intrusive TV screens, smarmy servers or perhaps a wide variety of obnoxious drunken idiots.

For that second group of folks, there are places such as the Lounge at D’Agnese Trattoria and Cafe on White Pond. The restaurant is part of the popular area chain of Italian eateries. The White Pond edition has the restaurant on one side of the property and the lounge on the other, giving the latter its own specific atmosphere.

That atmosphere? Grown.

On a Thursday (aka Ladies Night Out) or Saturday night, when there’s usually live music, the lounge is packed with many boomer-plus couples, small groups of friends and folks willing to listen to pretty much anyone sing an Eagles song. One one side of the mid-sized room sits the classic horseshoe-style bar with a few unobtrusive screens overhead for those who can’t stop watching the Cavaliers silently blow yet another double-digit lead. Opposite the bar is an area filled with tables.

When the joint is jumping, the overall vibe of the lounge is congenial with many regulars or near-regulars, as folks talk amongst themselves and/or the nearest table.

There is a modest bar menu featuring a mix of Italian and fancified bar food all in the $4.50 to $10 range. My sauteed mussels were plump and perfectly cooked and man, those folks sure know their sauces, as the spicy marinara made for a complex, delicious bath for my taste buds. Essentially, if you see the words “marinara,” “red sauce” or “lemon butter sauce” in the description, it’s going to be good.

Other items include a few $6 pizza options including Sicilian and vegetable. For folks looking to go even more affordable, happy hour (4-7 p.m. Monday through Friday) features nearly the same menu but smaller portions in the $4-$6 range. Happy hour also offers solid drink specials with $4 drafts, $5 glasses of wine, and for another dollar you can (responsibly) dive into the dozen different kinds of martinis.

The full restaurant menu is also available, but the prices aren’t quite as budget friendly. The bar staff is quite knowledgeable and friendly.

Among the tables were Mario and Michele Weiss, talking with buddies Steve and Cindy Venezia, all of Akron. Both couples are regulars as well as friends, former co-workers and fans of the night’s live entertainment. The Boomers, the duo of Tom Wolski and Mike Costello, are among the circuit of bands that regularly appear weekend nights in the lounge. They play all your favorite classic rock, old-school country and “island music” from the ’60s through, oh, about the early ’80s, from what I heard.

“The food is genuine Italian … you get a quality meal at a great price and it’s consistent,” Mario Weiss said, citing the Veal D’Agnese and the gnocchi as his favorite menu items.

Both couples have been longtime fans of D’Agnese’s and used to frequent the Broadview Heights location before the more convenient Akron restaurant opened in 2010, though the Broadview location still holds a special place in the Venezias’ hearts.

“That was our first date at that restaurant,” Steve Venezia said, smiling at his wife. “So we’ve been coming here [to D’Agnese’s restaurants] for 22 years,” Venezia said.

While the Venezias and Weisses enjoy the dining room, the Lounge offers something different.

“It’s so diverse in here, you have people from everywhere, it’s so amazing,” Michele Weiss said. “The atmosphere, the service, there’s electricity in this room. Even when there’s not music there’s electricity.”

“The atmosphere gives you a feeling of, not New York or Chicago or anything like that, but it gives you a buzz. And we love buzz,” Cindy Venezia said. “There are so few places you can go around here that give you buzz. Places that are not just a dirty beer party. Here, it’s just hanging out and having fun.”

If you’d like to catch that buzz yourself, D’Agnese’s Lounge plays host to area jazz trio Blu Monsoon on Saturday, and singer Jerry Colosimo on Thursday.

Malcolm X Abram can be reached at or 330-996-3758. Follow him on Facebook at or on Twitter @malcolmabramABJ.