Tony Conigliaro announces Luciole, a new bar in Cognac, France
Internationally renowned drinks maestro Tony Conigliaro, alongside business partner Guillaume Le Dorner, quietly opened Luciole – a new cocktail bar on the banks of the river Charente in Cognac, France, earlier this month. Tony will launch five rooms at Luciole later this year, each bookable for an overnight stay, with further plans to open a restaurant on the site in early 2018.
Located in the picturesque St Jacque district, with views overlooking the Cognac Castle towers, Luciole is housed in an historic building that was formerly a horse and carriage stables, and is the first international solo project from Tony Conigliaro who is credited with opening some of London’s best cocktail bars, including Bar Termini, Untitled and the iconic 69 Colebrooke Row.
The bar at Luciole, which opened to the public this month, presents a vast and unique Cognac selection representing the whole of the Cognac category. Carefully curated by Tony and Guillaume (or ‘G’ as he is affectionately known) – who will manage the premises, the impressive drinks collection is displayed on the “Cognac Wall”, a signature feature of the bar, showcasing the most prestigious and rare Cognac bottles available. The 50-cover bar offers an all-encompassing cognac experience, where guests will be able to stay, dine and familiarise themselves with all of the leading Cognac houses, showcasing the diversity and richness of the Cognac spectrum. An accessible drinks menu allows visitors to discover Cognac through a variety of angles: age statement, vintages, terroirs, crus and brands.
The cocktail menu offers eighteen drinks (from €8.50), with focus on cognac, whilst other cocktails are available too. There is a section of Luciole’s own house creations with long refreshing drinks such as “Spitfire*” – cognac VSOP, crème de pêche, lemon juice, sugar syrup & white wine, Tony’s twist on a classic “New York Sour” lighter than the usual pour, matching a cognac sour with a peach liqueur to draw out the fruity element present in Cognac, and perfect for a balmy evening on the banks of the river Charente. Shorter, more “serious” drinks include “Avignon” – Avignon incense, cognac & Roman chamomile syrup, which is part of a drink series on meditation and religion named after the French city, also known as the “City of Popes”. The drink utilises incense which been used as an accompaniment to religious meditation for centuries and works a soothing effect on the mind. Luciole also lists classic cognac cocktails revisited for even the most modern of cocktail aficionados, such as “Harvard” – cognac VSOP, Martini Rosso & orange bitter.
The kitchen, is a partnership with a talented local chef, offering a simple menu of classic French bar food. Sharing plates (from €5.50) include classic French charcuterie and saucission, as well as local cheeses and a tartlets menu (from€7), including Olive & Anchovies and Goat’s Cheese & Tomato options. Tony and G plan to launch the full service restaurant at Luciole in early 2018.
The interiors create a relaxed, elegant French setting on the banks of the river, as Chesterfield-style sofas and low oak tables allow pride of place to the signature Cognac Wall. Luciole’s lightning emphasises the mood with light bulbs of varying size, shape and intensity shining through the night. An outside terrace offers six tables with an enviable view across the Charente river. The strict music policy of French ‘oldies’ sound-tracking the bar emphaises the Gallic sense of “savoire-faire” and the vibe that Tony and G want customers to experience at Luciole.
Luciole bar is open Wednesday to Saturday from 6pm to 1am, with reservations available and walk-ins welcome. Bespoke masterclasses showcasing all the knowledge of cocktail making are also available. Luciole will offer gastronomic tours and cognac cocktail classes for visitors.