A Fan restaurant space has been relit with the opening of a new eatery 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 thus far he’s noticed that both sides of Brun, the lounge and the restaurant, have their regulars and a third cohort of customers like to split their visits between both spaces.
“Probably one of the most humbling things I’ve seen over the last few weekends are groups of diners who come to dinner and they’re there for two hours in the dining room and then they go into the lounge,” he said. “I’ve seen groups of four, five, six people go to the lounge and go there for an additional three hours.”
While open to the public, Brun also offers memberships that come with complimentary cigars and cocktails, discounts on event tickets and other perks.
Wilson said its membership count is about 15 percent of the way toward the 300-member cap it has set for its highest and second-highest tiers of memberships.
The highest membership level, capped at 50 people, runs $175 a month. The second-highest tier is $125 per month and capped at 250 people. An uncapped tier is $60 per month and intended for patrons who expect to utilize the lounge space infrequently.
Non-members can access the lounge for $10.
On the restaurant side, entrees range from $16 to $36 and include dishes like lamb chops and seared scallops. The menu also features sandwiches that run $16 to $20 and salads between $14 and $17.
After parting ways with its initial chef, Brun’s menu has shifted to a higher-end and more varied soul-food lineup than its original vision of a Caribbean-influenced fare. The restaurant’s new executive chef David Gyapong came on several weeks ago. He was most recently sous chef at Cine Bistro.
“We want to expand our boundaries so we didn’t get put in one category,” Wilson said. “If we’re going to play in the world of restaurants, we have to be able to step it up.”
The restaurant has 50 seats while the lounge has seating for 60 people.
A focus of Brun is events, including live music performances across genres as well as dance lessons and other programs. It recently kicked off an educational series with an inaugural session on cigars.
“The intention is to create a platform for the Richmond music scene, to have somewhere (performers) can go on a regular basis and so city residents can come to know they will find a great show at Brun,” Wilson said.
In a bid to encourage Fan residents to patronize the space, Brun offers a special Fan-resident tier of membership and plans to introduce a happy hour special 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 free with proof of residency through a driver’s license or state ID and provides free lounge access with the purchase of a restaurant entree and half-off lounge entry 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 police this to the extent like you’re being carded. We are using an honor system to some degree. The neighborhood residents know who they are,” he said.
Wilson said the ongoing investment into Brun will total $375,000. That figure includes additional air filtration upgrades and new furniture expected for the lounge next month.
Emerge Construction Group has been the general contractor for Brun’s buildout and ArcDev Studio the architect.
The restaurant had its grand opening in late March. The space was formerly home to 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 making since late last year.