If drinking craft beer in Richmond after 9 p.m. while eating something other than standard bar fare is on the short list of your New Year’s resolutions, you’re in luck.
ShipLock Brewing opened a few weeks ago at 115 S. 15th St., the newest venue from the restaurant group that oversees the neighboring Southern Railway Taphouse, plus District 5 on West Main Street in the Fan District and Great American Ranch in Midlothian. With a hybrid atmosphere that’s both brewpub and restaurant, ShipLock brings something new to Shockoe Bottom: a space for those who love craft beer but also want an extensive menu both day and late night, said General Manager Branden Otto.
In-house brews with a German influence (11 so far, with more debuting in January) plus house-made sodas (root beer and orange cream) are on tap, along with a full cocktail bar. The menu, created by chef Ed Blase, features hearty chicken tacos and giant soft pretzels, specialty pizzas and burgers, but also a few surprises that have become customer favorites already, Otto said. The Cajun Salmon BLT is popular, featuring fontina cheese melted on grilled salmon with bacon, lettuce and tomato, as well as a foot-long hot dog piled high with the works.
Oh, and to kick off 2019 with a bang, ShipLock is offering $2 flights throughout January. (Flights are normally $10 — pass it on.)
Located across from the Canal Walk, the space is sophisticated yet rustic, with an entire wall of garage doors that’ll open once the weather turns warm. Concrete floors, sleek tiles behind the bar and wooden accents on the walls play into the nautical theme. The brewery’s name comes from its proximity to Richmond’s Great Shiplock Park, part of the historic Kanawha Canal lock system along the James River.
The first few weeks in business for ShipLock are proving insightful, Otto said, in that management is learning the ways of Richmond’s craft beer scene. For example, they made changes to their hours by opening earlier on the weekends — noon rather than 3 p.m. They will add lunch and brunch in the new year.
“People have been showing up earlier than 3 trying to get in,” he said. “There’s a brewery crowd that does do a lot of things earlier, especially on the weekends.”
On the other hand, ShipLock will remain open later than other breweries around town, something he said will appeal to a 25-and-older demographic that’s not interested in the party scene at their neighbor around the corner, Southern Railway Taphouse, but aren’t ready to call it a night by 10 p.m.
“We wanted to brew our own beer and bring that to [Shockoe Bottom],” he said, “but we wanted to also cater to a different crowd that wasn’t just the brewery crowd.”
For now, ShipLock is open from 3 to 11 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays; 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays; and noon to 11 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.