A few Saturdays ago, while snow flurries transformed into a serious snow, a good friend and I explored Troy’s artsy River Street shops, planning to end the day with a visit to the new Charles F. Lucas Confectionery and Wine Bar. About 3:30, as the early winter dusk fell over snowy streets, we headed over to the wine bar at 12 Second Street in pursuit of warmth and sustenance.
When we arrived the door was open, but we were early and my spirits sank—the place opens at 4 pm Monday to Saturday, 12 pm on Sunday. The moment was saved, however, when we were greeted by a friendly server who said she’d be happy to pour us a glass of wine, even though they weren’t officially open and the kitchen wasn’t ready to serve. I admit I balked for a moment, seriously thinking of heading to a restaurant in full swing. I was tired and cold and seeking immediate gratification, but the exposed brick interior, trendy low lighting and warmth of the woody decor drew me in.
From that moment on, life got better. First, we drank delicious wine from a great wine list with really interesting choices, and an upbeat, pleasant and knowledgeable bartender. As my dry red wine choice I was served a delicious Italian Barbera Piemonte (Boschis, $10/glass), while my rose-loving friend enjoyed the Tavel Rose (Domaine Pelaquie, $9/glass) from France. The full wine menu (by the glass and by the bottle) is on the website, and excitingly, it’s full of thoughtful choices with distinctive tastes. These are the types of wines which remind you why you drink wine in the first place—at an affordable price.
Next we sampled mouth-watering cheeses and meat from the Cheese & Charcuterie menu. Presented on a beautiful slate tile and artistically arranged with a fresh baguette, dijon mustard and cornichons were: thin slices of Spicy Capicola (pronounced by local Italians as “gabba ghoul”); Old Chatham Sheepherding Co. Shaker Blue paired with figs; Kunik, from Nettle Meadow Farms, smooth and creamy with hints of lemon and paired with tiny gingersnaps; and the piece de la resistance, a cheese called Barely Buzzed, cheddar-like and hand-rubbed with espresso and lavender—and you could actually taste these wonderful hints of flavor!
The place really delivers on everything it appears to be—intimate, special, unique, planned and well executed from the tiny European water glasses of infused drinking waters (cucumber this day), to its smart collection of craft beers, to the canisters of brightly colored classic candies it sells and beautifully displays as a shout out to the location’s confectionery history. And I haven’t even mentioned the great music that plays as if almost calibrated to fit the room.
When--not if--you find yourself longing for a spot to go that’s as good as one in Manhattan--or any of the other places we visit and then whiningly compare the Capital Region to--go to the Confectionary and Wine Bar. It’s all that and more—and without the snobby attitude and big city prices.
For more information, visit the website at www.lucasconfectionery.com.