Lucian, a bookshop and wine bar from Katie Barringer, founder of the now-shuttered Cover Books and Jordan Smelt, formerly of Cakes & Ale and Bread & Butterfly, opened at Modera Buckhead this week. Named for the couple’s favorite artist—British painter Lucian Freud—the intimate, 2,149 square-foot cafe seats 40 guests and was inspired by the duo’s travels and combined passions for books and wine.
While Barringer and Smelt had originally planned to launch separate ventures, a trip to London in the fall of 2018 changed their minds.
“We were waiting for a table at the Wolseley for breakfast, and we walked across the street into a bookstore—the most beautiful, chicest space I had ever seen,” says Barringer. “The store also had a little pocket bar, and that was the big moment when we realized we didn’t have to choose between having a bookstore or a wine shop, but we could do both.”
Helmed by Brian Hendrickson, former chef de cuisine at Cakes & Ale, the kitchen will serve a concise menu of shareable small plates such as raw hamachi with black radish, cucumber, and buttermilk dressing, as well as Italian and French-inspired main dishes, including a homemade tagliolini with prosciutto, porcini, and peas. With 250 bottles as well as 15 pours by the glass that will rotate every other month, the wine list will be heavy on Old World and European selections, grouped by common grapes (think Chardonnay, Chenin blanc, and Cabernet) followed by an “A-to-Z” list, where you’ll find “funky Italian and Spanish varietals and vintages from Corsica and the Canary Islands,” says Smelt.
According to Barringer, the wine menu will be “visual and tactile, something each guest can flip through, so it reads very much like a book.” In addition to wines, the bar program includes a list of food-friendly cocktails such as the Gibson, a Campari and soda, and a Gin and Tonic as well as aperitivi and digestifs. Guests can sip a glass of wine at one of ten tables in the cozy, plum-hued space or while browsing the bar’s large collection of art, architecture, food, design, and culture books, many of them displayed prominently on custom, 14-foot walnut shelves with built-in picture lights designed by Seiber Design—which planned the overall space—and millwork from Skylar Morgan Furniture.
Lucian will open at 11 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with an abbreviated menu of snacks and small plates available until dinner service begins at 4 p.m. 3005 Peachtree Road, 404-549-2655