Curled along the Hudson River 150 miles north of Manhattan, Troy made shirt collars that could be detached and washed, back when such fashions were in vogue in the 19th century. When that look faded, Collar City hit a rough patch. But new stylish restaurants, quirky boutiques and a craft brewery in a downtown rich with Victorian architecture are helping Troy, population 50,000, become the latest Hudson Valley address to mount a comeback. A former department store is giving way to the Tech Valley Center of Gravity, a start-up incubator, which joins the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, a Beaux-Arts stage for comedy, bluegrass and Bach.
Lucas Confectionery Wine Bar
This elegant two-year-old hideaway, the creation of the husband-and-wife team of Vic Christopher and Heather LaVine, pairs French pinot noirs with inventive dishes like six-minute eggs with confit mushrooms and shallots, while a bathroom-door sign, “Troylet,” cheekily owns up to the city’s derogatory nickname. The adjacent Grocery, owned by the same couple, offers fresh sandwiches, and next-door’s Peck’s Arcade, their more formal three-month-old restaurant, spins records nightly.
12 Second Street; 518-326-3450; lucasconfectionery.wordpress.com
Rare Form Brewing Company
This spare but cozy craft brewery opened last May after the owner, Kevin Mullen, relocated from Seattle. Here locals sip Sabbatical Session, a rye-based ale, in full view of the silver tanks that produced it while nibbling on Chevrot goat cheese and smoked goose and duck prosciutto carved by their bartender ($6 per snack; pints, too).
90 Congress Street; 518-326-4303; rareformbrewing.com
Weathered Wood of Troy
This eclectic store, which opened last summer a few steps from the column-adorned hub called Monument Square, specializes in light fixtures, peace signs and coat racks made from Hudson River driftwood, which the co-owners, Katherine Hammill and Daniel Killion, say is less likely to crack than the ocean variety.
13 Second Street; 518-701-4094; https://www.facebook.com/DLKKRH
Trojans and out-of-towers alike are discovering this brownstone bank-turned-drug-rehab-center-turned- men’s wear store, which also sells trendy old-school men’s grooming products like straight razors, shaving cream brushes and plastic combs alongside dress shirts made by Penguin — with collars attached.
16 First Street; 518-308-8422; theenigmaco.com
Downtown’s can-do, make-do spirit is taken to another level at this former hardware store that has repurposed hammers, wrenches and clamps as beer-head taps and art, and whose hearty menu features a lumberjack stew, with lamb ($18), and poutine, the gravy-and-cheese-curds Canadian favorite ($9). Wash them down with a Redneck (Pabst Blue Ribbon, vodka and lemonade, $6).
135 Fourth Street; 518-874-1899; theshoptroy.com
This Is Terrific Troy, New York