Photo courtesy of Commercial Taphouse
It may feel like the end of an era, but it isn’t. One of Richmond's first true beer-centric bars will shut its doors on Aug. 31, according to Commercial Taphouse & Grill's Facebook page. After nearly 25 years running, the Fan craft-beer institution is closing, but only briefly.
"Mark your calendars, we are not renewing our lease, we'll be shutting down at the end of the month," the post read. "Thanks for the support and come see us off, our last day will be Wednesday August 31st."
Originally owned by James Talley, Commerical Taphouse is a mainstay in Richmond's beer scene, which kept a relatively low profile until a surge of craft-beer bars and breweries began cropping up around five years ago. Talley left and opened Forest Hill's now-shuttered White Horse Tavern (soon to be Laura Lee’s, co-owned by Talley and restaurateur Kendra Murden). Mekong's An Bui took over the institution in 2014, adding a little more light and a few more taps to the spot located at Robinson Street and Floyd Avenue.
The lease that Talley signed is expiring and Bui will not be renewing — he says it just isn’t favorable to him, especially given the building's repairs needed to protect his employees and their safety. However, Bui says Commercial Taphouse will continue. It just won’t be under him. In October, it will reopen under a new owner, whose name could not be disclosed due to ongoing contract negotiations. Once the Fan beer bar turns the lights back on this fall, it will be with a new menu, though the focus on craft beer will remain, just as it has in years past.
“This new owner is really invested in Richmond and Commercial Taphouse," Bui says. "History will continue. It will be the 'same' place, with new management.”
Commercial Taphouse & Grill is located at 111 N. Robinson St. and will close on Wednesday, Aug. 31.