Barstool: Lucky 32

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by Eric Ginsburg

There really isn’t anywhere quite like home.

For almost a decade I’ve nested in Greensboro, arriving for college and intentionally sticking around afterwards. And as I write this in the final hours of May, reclining in a chair in my dad’s home office in Boston, the Gate City is exactly where I want to be.

My friend Josh outside the brewery
My friend Josh outside the brewery

I spent this past weekend in Massachusetts — the state I called home until I hit 18 — most of it down on Cape Cod with two best friends as well as my parents. There’s more than enough to say about the Bay State beer I tried; we drank Mystic Brewery’s saison and Clown Shoes’ clementine witbier on the beach, and rode bikes to the brand-new Devil’s Purse Brewing where we tried a fantastic ESB and Kolsch, among others.

But it’s Sunday night and I’m supposed to be halfway back to Greensboro, and thanks to a bad storm and sub-par airline customer service, I’m spending the next few hours in Boston before I return to the airport for a 5:15 a.m. flight Monday morning. Under the circumstances, all I can think about are the comforts of home.

The hidden patio
The hidden patio

On that list is the patio of Lucky 32, a restaurant that’s been going steady with Greensboro for quite some time. Before boarding a northbound plane last week, I spent part of my last hour in the Gate City relaxing on that shaded veranda I grow fonder of on each visit.

Half of the reason to come to Lucky 32 is its outdoor space, behind a curtain of natural greenery and under a line of fans that keeps the area cool even on muggy summer days. It would be easy to come to the restaurant repeatedly without ever realizing the side patio existed, or to miss the bar itself on the opposite side of the building. The elevated bar at the back right of Lucky 32 is intimate — and not in the euphemism-for-small kind of way, but in the romantic sense of the word.

But when weather permits, sit outside.

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That’s what two groups of women were doing around 5 p.m. on a Thursday when I stopped by, one table with red and white wine in front of them. The other friends chatted about the cocktail list before ordering, as one asked for a peach martini, another ordered wine and a third said she was considering an order of the catfish along with a vodka drink, depending on the selection.

There are several standout cocktails on Lucky 32’s menu, including the appropriately named Summer Breeze with vodka from Chapel Hill’s Topo Distillery. Grapefruit, fresh basil and prosecco fill out the new addition to the menu, making it a natural choice as June sets in. And the same vodka makes an appearance in one of my favorite drinks on the list — the Southern Moscow Mule, with Blenheim hot ginger ale and lime.

Lucky 32 offers a number of consistent cocktails and a few recent arrivals, choices that span across varied tastes, making it a worthwhile experience regardless of palate. Someone with inclinations like mine may go for the first item mentioned: the Carolina Nail, with Defiant whiskey and Krupnikas liqueur — two excellent products, both made in North Carolina — and lemon on the rocks.

SONY DSCBut on my last visit, I opted to try Lucky 32’s most unique and quite popular item: George’s Blackberry Bramble. It takes longer than any of the others to make, namely because of stirring in the Jammin’ George’s blackberry jam with the Topo gin, lemon, syrup and soda. But the cocktail, which tastes sort of like pink lemonade but with a kick and a veiled yet discernible gin taste, was exactly the sort of drink I wanted to savor. Served in a glass mason jar of sorts with a handle and with a straw, it’s a slow sort of afternoon beverage, with the bits of berry from the jam only arriving in the final sip.

All of the cocktails are $8-10, and the service is several notches above what you generally find in Greensboro, too.

I’m missing several things about my city right now — the comfort of my own bed as compared to an air mattress that I’ll nap on for a few hours before my flight included — but that patio and a few of Lucky 32’s cocktails are among them. One would really take the edge off right now.

Visit Lucky 32 at 1421 Westover Terrace (GSO) or at lucky32.com.

  • Janet Wright

    My favorite is the Peach Lemonade.