The Vanguard brings new life to Hampton Roads
Erik Billings | Contributing Writer
Energy buzzed through The Vanguard Brewpub and Distillery opening night. Hundreds of people came to celebrate this occasion and fell in love with Hampton Road’s new trove that is The Vanguard.
The Vanguard is a historic place. Originally being The Hampton National Guard Armory in 1936 and while not in use as the armory, the location severed as a local community center. It was used as a gymnasium and concert hall until it’s vacancy in 1993. And now it’s reopening in 2018 as The Vanguard which hopes to bring back that spirit of community by offering live music and shows, local foods and craft brewing.
Offering a wide selection of on tap beer, with eight being brewed in-house and five being locally brewed and on a rotating basis, The Vanguard offers a local taste served from your choice of an upstairs or downstairs bar and from a knowledgeable staff that truly care about your experience. Randy Thomas, creator and owner said, “I wanted to create a place with a true to style beer.” And that love is embedded in every drop.
Also offered is an expansive menu of familiar foods with an average price of $13.75. The menu includes options for everyone, including vegan and vegetarian options.
“High-quality food shouldn’t cost a fortune. You can have high-quality food that appeals to everyone at a reasonable price,” Thomas said. He wants this to be a place everyone on any type of budget can come to and enjoy themselves without having to break the bank.
When walking in the door you are greeted by a friendly atmosphere and local music that made the crowd take to the dance floor. Thomas set out to create a place that played music seven days a week, the first place in Hampton Roads to do so. “I want all types of music and bands to be able to perform here.” Thomas prided himself on being able to offer a wide variety of music. With a sly smile he promised some exciting talents he declined to comment on.
Those who came to the opening left with smiles on their faces and excitement for the next show to be on stage “I cannot wait to see who he puts on stage next,” Orisha Pittman said, ODU student.
Thomas is a man of many talents. From a military background, he went into design and construction after his retirement from the navy. Five years ago, Thomas got into constructing breweries as a side-project. Notable construction projects such as O’Connor Brewing Company, Commonwealth and a long list of others. Now he has his own, The Vanguard.
“I wanted to create a unique place the offers something no other place in Hampton Roads offers,” Thomas said. And he did just that. The Vanguard Brewpub and Distillery has revived life into a historic feeling and brought back that sense of community brotherhood.
The Vanguard is located at 504 North King St., Hampton, VA. 23669
Hours: Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. – 12 a.m.