Photo by Mick Anders, courtesy of Roaring Pines
[2/4/16 Update: Roaring Pines is now open, serving up craft soda from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Find highlights such as the Blue Ribbon Pie, a soda flavored with blueberry and lavender, and the Coal Miner's Daughter, a creamed Cheerwine concoction with a candied peanut garnish, all between $1.50 and $4. Thirty-two-ounce growler fills available for $6 to $7, with refills for $4.]
When I think about stopping somewhere to grab a soda, I’m hesitant to admit that the first thing that comes to mind is 7-11 (other than an endless loop of Liz Phair singing the words “letters and sodas”). A mindless rush inside, a wall of plastic bottles, a collection of huge, national brands. There’s no art in it. Even at spots that sell more niche products like juice-based and cane-sugar-sweetened sodas, it’s the same basic idea: go, grab, ingest, dispose. But a general store in Church Hill is about to change that.
Roaring Pines, an American-made goods purveyor curated by the tack-sharp eye of owner Drew Dayberry, is currently expanding its online shop to a brick-and-mortar store. Inside its newly renovated Church Hill location will be an eight-seat bar that serves up everything fizzy and delicious and curiosity-piquing (and nothing alcoholic). A rotating cast of six soda kegs will be tapped at a time, and other drinks will be hand-mixed on the spot.
“We’re using a company in Kentucky and two in New York for syrups that aren’t made in Richmond – and they’re not those Italian flavors that people are used to seeing," says Dayberry. "There’s no purple flavor, or anything like that. [We'll have] hibiscus, phosphate, there will be a spruce flavor that will taste like a Christmas tree … we’ve been digging through books from the early 1900s for weird, interesting flavors.” Look forward to historical oddities, too, like the Opera Bouquet, a rosewater and strawberry soda.
More perks will include growler fills and an outdoor patio space for relaxing with your fizz of choice. And for impressing friends, dates and clients this summer, I mean, come on: “Let me buy you an Opera Bouquet…”? That’s going to trump coffee every time. The other half of the shop will sell home utility necessities.
“It’s everything from canvas bags to wire baskets to brooms and electrical supplies; things that people use day to day, made domestically,” says Dayberry. The products are of the highest quality, and the loving care that Roaring Pines puts into selling them really makes you think about how and why you buy even the most mundane object, like a duster, or tweezers. Or soda. It makes you stop and consider how you can get more enjoyment out of them.
Opening day is, very appropriately, slated for July 4. Until then, check out the beautifully crafted goods at roaringpines.com.
Roaring Pines will be located at 2025 Venable St.