Even though I’ve been to Richmond dozens of times (and have considered buying a house there), I’m still super impressed by all that’s going on within the RVA drink scene. You might think that sounds odd coming from someone like me who is from a much larger city (in DC there seems to be a cocktail bar on every corner). But it’s not…there’s something about a smaller town that makes me feel like I can really get out there and explore all the city has to offer.
So, here are two new drinking establishments that I’d definitely recommend checking out – and, bonus, they call two completely different (yet up-and-coming) RVA neighborhoods home.
First up is Isley Brewing Company.
Located in a largely industrial section oftown called Scott’s Addition, this local brewer is definitely up-and-coming. They’ve got a large tasting room/bar area as well as an outdoor patio and, their desire is to deliver great quality artisan beers that push the limits of your imagination — hence the ‘Choosy Mother’ Oatmeal Peanut Butter Porter and the Scott’s Addition infused with lemongrass and spring onion.
The best part: you can order a flight of six beers for $8. This gave me the opportunity to create my own flight and try the ‘Had Me at Hello’ Hefeweizen, ‘Sour Relationships’ by ‘Blue Hefner’, ‘Tall, Dark, and Hopsome’ IPA, ‘Off the Boulevard’ Red Ale, ‘Choosy Mother’ Oatmeal Peanut Butter Porter, and the Scott’s Addition infused with lemongrass and spring onion.
My favorite: ‘Sour Relationships’ by ‘Blue Hefner’. Hints of clove, banana, and blueberry. Not as polarizing as a true sour beer but tangy enough to have me asking for more.
Not quite a year old yet, they celebrate their one year anniversary on October 25th. CONGRATULATIONS!
Isley Brewing Company! Isley Brewing Company (www.isleybrewingcompany.com): 1715 Summit Ave., Richmond, VA 23230
Next up is Rogue Gentlemen.
People often claim you can’t measure the power of social media. Well, this is one instance that were it not for the owner extending numerous invitations to me on Twitter, I fear I’d have never discovered Rogue Gentlemen. Kudos to Chef Johnny on his social media savvy and great hospitality.
Located right on the corner of 1st & Jackson in the historic Jackson Ward, Rogue Gentlemen is an ‘oasis in the desert’ so to speak. There is a beautiful bar stocked with top of the line artisan spirits, an eclectic collection of mirrors on the walls, and one of the most thoughtful (and beautiful) cocktail books I’ve ever seen. At its heart, they are a modern cocktail bar inspired by the pre-Prohibition era that focuses on the classic cocktails & techniques of that time.
The best part: the cocktail book — it’s hardcover and professionally bound. Not only does it change on a seasonal basis (which requires them to reprint the book in entirety), the book features artwork created on the back of Rogue Gentlemen coasters, which was inspired by the cocktails themselves. There’s a different sketch featured alongside each cocktail. So thoughtful and classy.
My favorite: That Burning Sensation ($11). A combination of blanco tequila, black pepper syrup, grapefruit juice, sage, grapefruit soda, and mezcal; it was super refreshing, clean, and a perfect balance of sweet, spice, and smoke.
Rogue Gentlemen (www.roguegentlemen.com): 618 N. 1st St., Richmond, VA 23219