Hey, Lady ChowChow! DJ Kenny Casanova here, wedding DJ extraordinaire. I was surfing the web and saw that you were questioning if the Capital Region was “happening.” Being a mobile disc jockey in Troy, NY, I get to see some very interesting places and meet some very interesting people all around the area that you call Upstate. I would like to, therefore, chime in about your recent post about happening areas in the Capital District, and note that it is, and not just in the areas that one would think to visit.
While the Big Apple is the city that never sleeps and seemingly always has something going on somewhere, The Capital Region is also happening, and not just in the so-called “hot spots.” Areas in and around the state’s capital of Albany are making an impact and not just by the creation of great new businesses and eateries popping up within the cornerstone city of Albany, NY.
Saratoga Springs has a huge and continually growing list of must-see places. Schenectady is starting to really step up it’s game with all the recent face-lifts downtown. And it is also now “happening” in the ever-growing Troy, NY.
For a long time, Albany was really the only real town to go to for Capital Region “happening” happenings, but it seems, as of late, it’s neighbor, Troy, NY is also becoming “the place to be.” Here are a few reasons that The Capital Region is in fact happening, in Troy, proving that the area, as a whole is worth taking a look at:
1) CHARLES F LUCAS CONFECTIONERY – Lady, first off, you hit sugary nail right on the head with your recent review. You are correct that the Lucus Confectionery & Wine Bar is a delicious place to grab a glass of wine with friends. They have a great wine list, with a vast import selection that allows wine drinkers of all makes the means to find something that they will personally enjoy.
The cheese offerings at the Charles F Lucas Wine Bar are not cheesy, to say the least, and the sweets menu compliments the attitudes of the staff and owners: “comfortable and engaging.”This truly is one of the newest happening spots to break out in Troy, where people go who want to try something new.
2) BROWNS BREWING CO. – Another place the Troy traveler will want to try is Browns Brewing Co. If you are feeling more like beer instead of wine with weekly live entertainment, and interested in looking for a micro brewery with great food to boot, 417 River street is where it is at.
At Brown’s Brewing Company, they have an impressive selection of homemade brews including Oatmeal Stout, Pale Ale, Brown Ale, Porter, Whiskey Porter, Tomhannock Pilsner, and my wife DJ Maria’s personal favorite Cherry Raspberry Ale. Order one of these pints in a membership mug (well worth the money) along with a hot pretzel and you are good to go!
(Brown’s Brewing Company is also the host of Revolution Hall, a musical venue that also pinch hits as an in-house catered wedding hall. Here is a recent review I wrote up on it, looking at Browns as a Wedding Venue.)
3) DINOSAUR BARBQUE – What is happening? “The Tres Amigos” Bar-BQ sampler at Dinosaur Barbque in Troy, NY., that is what! Ironically overlooking a beautiful section of the Hudson River in what many refer to as “the best biker bar around,” this BBQ joint embraces individuality.The wait staff dress respectably, while at the same time showing off body art and piercings. However, they present each customer with excellent service and arguably the best barbque around.
Even though Dinosaurs Barbque has other locations regionally, they are not at all corporate high brow. Dinosaurs is all about the local scene. They book local entertainment, host live events and are really becoming part of the Troy, NY scene. Carrying their own competitor Brown’s beer on tap, the atmosphere is one you won’t want to write off in your Troy visit, and if you choose, you can even write on their bathroom wall, as that is encouraged, as well.
4) JOSE MALONE MEXICAN IRISH RESTAURANT – Lady ChowChow, I don’t know what ethnic cuisine you prefer, but at this location, it doesn’t matter…If you want the best in Mexican-Irish cuisine? (Insert ethnic joke here ___________. I could hit all kinds of stereotypical jokes here, but it is way too easy.)
Chef Ryan Cusack is the cultural mash-up mastermind behind this Mexican Irish . His blend of of mouth-watering Mexican & Latino dishes with Irish favorites makes this a place you have to experience to understand. If you want originality, this is the place to be, Jose Malone’s serves Irish Bangers & Mash with a guacamole. This odd cultural mash-up is also quickly becoming known for their original margaritas and their once-a-week tapas menu.
Jose Malone is seemingly the perfect place to eat corned beef burritos, get drunk and have a siesta with all your friends. This, too, is a definite cultural melting pot in Uncle Sam’s hometown that you won’t want to miss.
What the hell? They even have a live Bluegrass music night?!
5) FOOTSY MAGOOS – One of the few places near Albany where one can find “pickleback shots” and a great peanut butter white Russian is also in Troy. Footsy’s, making it’s home in what used to be a savings bank, has a good selection of Scotch and Beers that you can easily bank on.
BEWARE: Do not be blind to Old Man Magoo’s little hole in the wall. This place is happening.
Whether you are hungry, thirsty, or just looking for a place that you can go to to have a good time with friends, this is a pace that is worth investing your night at. This oddly-decorated little place has a decent shepherd’s pie, pictures of professional wrestlers and playing cards shellacked to the walls in the men’s room, and a skee ball inside the steel vault from the old bank.
6) VILLA VALENTI PUB – Over on Pawling Ave is a pub with great food and a rich history; perhaps one of the oldest and well-known pubs in Troy, owned formerly by Academy Award winner Maureen Stapleton & her brother John. Winning wing awards yearly, Villa Valenti Pub has a huge pizza take-out business, great pub fare, a beverage list that can’t be beat.
The Pub also mixes their great food & spirits with weekly entertainment. There is an Open Mic night. There are live bands. They have a weekly game-show like trivia game steeped in prizes and they also feature the area’s hottest Karaoke Jam with old school music videos and every game playing on the 27 big screen TVs. This is the happening “place to be” for a great mix of food & fun.
So is the Capital Region happening?
Lady ChowChow, I challenge you to come back to Troy, NY sometime soon and give a few of these happening places a try. Then you will know, first hand, why Troy, NY is helping to better make The Capital Region a happening place!
PS – Don’t forget The Brown Bag!!! (Pineapple Salsa Burger!)
For more on Troy, NY and also party planning tips & wedding information in The Capital Region, check out DJ Kenny Casanova’s blog.
Albany Weddings DJ Kenny Casanova is an event disc jockey for "The DJ Service.com" out of Upstate, NY. He has been DJ’ing for over 15 years transitioned out of sports announcing into becoming one of the best Wedding DJs in his area.
Winning awards and "BEST OF" titles from Capital Region Living Magazine and Metroland, DJ Kenny Casanova is well sought-after and is booked solid with a few gigs every weekend. For booking information, call 518-506-3305.
Visit www.theDJservice.comDJ Kenny Casanova for more information about how to keep everyone happy at a wedding reception.