A Fan restaurant area has been re-lit with the opening of a new restaurant and cigar lounge.
Brun recently opened at 203 N. Lombardy St. in the Fan. Its 3,200 square foot space is a cigar and whiskey lounge on one side and a restaurant on the other.
Co-owner Charles Wilson said that so far he had noticed that both sides of Brun, the lounge and restaurant, had their regulars and a third cohort of customers liked to split their visits between the two spaces.
“Probably one of the most humiliating things I’ve seen over the past few weekends are groups of diners coming in for dinner and they’re there for two hours in the dining room and then they go into the living room” , did he declare. “I’ve seen groups of four, five, six people go to the living room and stay there for another three hours.”
While open to the public, Brun also offers memberships with free cigars and cocktails, discounts on event tickets, and other perks.
Wilson said his membership count is about 15% of the way to the 300-member cap he has set for his highest and second-highest membership levels.
The highest membership level, capped at 50 people, costs $175 per month. The second highest tier is $125 per month and capped at 250 people. An uncapped tier is $60 per month and is for guests who expect to use the lounge space infrequently.
Non-members can access the lounge for $10.
On the restaurant side, entrees range from $16 to $36 and include entrees like lamb chops and seared scallops. The menu also offers sandwiches that cost between $16 and $20 and salads between $14 and $17.
After parting ways with his initial chef, Brun’s menu shifted to an upscale, more varied range of soul food than his original take on Caribbean-influenced fare. The restaurant’s new executive chef, David Gyapong, arrived a few weeks ago. He was most recently sous-chef at the Cine Bistro.
“We want to expand our borders so that we don’t get put into one category,” Wilson said. “If we want to play in the restaurant world, we have to be able to step up a gear.”
The restaurant has 50 seats while the lounge can accommodate 60 people.
Brun focuses on events, including live musical performances in all genres, as well as dance classes and other programs. He recently launched an educational series with an inaugural session on cigars.
“The intention is to create a platform for the music scene in Richmond, to have a place where (performers) can go regularly and so townspeople can know they will find a great show in Brun” , Wilson said.
In an effort to encourage Fan residents to frequent the space, Brun is offering a special Fan-resident membership tier and plans to introduce a special happy hour for Fan residents.
“It’s a very walkable neighborhood and we want them to know we’re here to serve and be a place for them to relax in their neighborhood,” he said.
Brun’s membership tier for Fan residents is complimentary with proof of residency via driver’s license or ID card and provides complimentary lounge access with the purchase of restaurant entry and entry to the half price lounge when using the lounge only. Wilson said an honor system will be in place for the happy hour program.
“What we don’t want to do is control that to the extent that you’re carded. We use an honor system to some degree. People in the neighborhood know who they are,” he said.
Wilson said the current investment in Brun will total $375,000. This figure includes additional air filtration upgrades and new furniture expected for the show next month.
Emerge Construction Group was the general contractor for Brun’s construction and ArcDev Studio was the architect.
The restaurant opened its doors at the end of March. The space was once home to the Poor Boys of RVA and is next to the Lombardy Market. Brun, which is co-owned by Wilson and Adam Evans, had been in the works since late last year.