Lucian Books and Wine, a wine bar and bookshop that also serves food, plans to open in mid-May in Buckhead’s new Modera apartment building at 3005 Peachtree Road at the intersection with Pharr Road.
Pratt Institute graduate Katie Barringer, formerly of Cover Books in Inman Park, and sommelier Jordan Smelt, Cake & Ale’s former wine and beverage director, are the owners. The place is inspired by British artist Lucian Freud and reflects their own “fervent interests.” Barringer and Smelt explained the concept to the Reporter.
First of all, what do you have in mind for the wine bar?
Smelt: It will be in the neighborhood of 250 bottles when we open. You’ll be able to find chardonnay from the premier regions of the world right alongside something unexpected from Patagonia or South Africa or Australia. Most of the list will be dominated by European regions, but there will be plenty of things from the States, and all with organic farming as a baseline.
A rotating list of by-the-glass options will completely turn over every two months. There will be grape-based spirits such as Brandy, Cognac, Armagnac — things that are meant to be sipped on after dinner as opposed to a full-on mixology program, and an abbreviated aperitif menu that will be kept very simple and clean.
You’re going to have “thoughtful and delicious food.” What does that mean?
Smelt: Our chef is Brian Hendrickson, [an] alum of Cakes & Ale. In a similar way to Cakes & Ale you will see some Mediterranean influences. We’re going to open with a daytime menu from when we open at 11 until 4 p.m. — light snacks that pair well with wine, so you can have a glass while you browse in the bookstore, and you can piece together a light lunch out of that as well. We do have plans for a lunch program but that will probably not come until fall. Our dinner menu will begin at 4 p.m.
Barringer: We want a small concise menu ranging from elevated bar snacks to full-size composed dinner entrees. We’re trying to think of the different experiences that people may come to Lucian for. It could be a glass of wine, it could be a group of friends, it could be a dinner, so we’re trying to provide a food menu with options for all of those scenarios — a range of size and composition.
Smelt: That’s part of the reason for beginning dinner service at 4. You have options from popping in for an early glass or two of wine, or a snack, to a full-on dinner.
Barringer: The last thing to say about the food is the sustainability factor. It’s thoughtful in the sense of the integrity of the ingredients, and the seasonality and the story of the food prior to it getting on the plate.
Can you describe what you’re going for in the book shop?
Barringer: Nonfiction books with a strong emphasis on art architecture, design and photography. There will be a great collection of cookbooks and wine and cocktail-related books, with a balance of classic, recognizable names as well as small production artist books that you’ve never seen before, and everything in between. There will also be a smaller selection of magazines with a focus on international titles on similar subjects.
Smelt: Katie is doing a mixture of known with unknown and I think that perfectly sums up an aspect of the wine program as well. Some household names will be on the wine list, but also a lot of small production wines that are absolutely fabulous that folks may not recognize but hopefully will come to love as much as we do.
It’s definitely a place to explore and find some things you’ve never tasted or seen before.
Barringer: Our favorite part of what we get to do is that process of introducing something and watching that process of discovery, and expanding their experience.
Smelt: It’s more fun to introduce a new wine or new beverage to someone that hasn’t tried it before and just see their face light up. Whether it’s a wine or a book, the feeling is the same.