Bar Lusconi and Peccadillo will both close their doors next weekend. The bars were two of the area’s best-kept secrets: Bar Lusconi was tucked away in downtown Durham with mysterious light bulbs (and, for a long time, no sign) in the windows. Peccadillo was a veritable speakeasy behind an unmarked Carrboro door. But running rather hidden businesses can be a double-edged sword: Both bars will shutter April 9 largely due to low traffic and financial difficulties.
Timothy Neill, who owns both bars, says Bar Lusconi never recovered from the road closures of a water main replacement project, which have plagued downtown Durham since last fall. Many downtown businesses have complained that the closures deter customers and make parking difficult. Neill announced the closures on Tuesday by posting on both bars’ Facebook pages and thanking the “customers who ‘got it’” at Bar Lusconi and those who “embraced [Peccadillo’s] vision.” But that wasn’t enough, it seems.
“Many regulars stopped coming regularly and are still to return on a regular basis,” Neill says.
The water main replacement is currently slated to be finished by spring/summer 2016. Though an end is in sight, the closures have already taken a significant toll.
“I understand that the construction is going to make a better Durham, but we were unfortunately not going to be able to wait it out,” says Jenn White, Bar Lusconi’s general manager. “For a while, we did not see too many new faces. People thought we were closed; people did not want to navigate the detours and roadblocks to come find us.”
Neill says the downturn in clientele, coupled with unexpected business expenses, prompted him to close both bars. He does not plan to open another bar in the area and is moving away from the Triangle.
“Peccadillo was supporting Bar Lusconi,” he says. “Bar Lusconi essentially weakened them both—swimmer dies trying to save someone drowning.”
Both bars were admired for their interesting drinks and idiosyncratic atmospheres. Bar Lusconi, which opened in 2013, was a self-described “quirky little wine bar” with an obscure beer and wine list. Peccadillo, which has been open since 2011, was beloved for its sophisticated cocktails, bartenders in lab coats, and, of course, its privacy.
“I feel like I am mourning the loss of a really good friend,” White says. “I have learned so much in these bars, about this industry and about myself. I am actually a little afraid I won’t be able to keep it together our last night open, which seems a little dramatic, but it’s true.”