NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A combination restaurant, brewery and event space for live music is set to sprout at the former Five Points Community Farm Market building on Church Street in Norfolk.
The year-round farmer’s market and its café at 2500 Church Street were featured on a 2011 episode of “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” but the market closed back in 2017. Elite Culinary staffing had taken its place and will relocate.
The space’s successor, The Annex, was given a thumbs up on Tuesday night by Norfolk City Council in a 7-1 vote, with area councilmembers Mamie Johnson and Danica Royster speaking out in support. Johnson said she met with someone from Annex last summer and had “a good conversation.”
“I want to say thank you for bringing a bold, innovative, out-of-the-box plan to a community where it is much needed to bring a business, a great business,” Johnson said. Royster added she’s also “heard great things” about the venture.
The Annex is the brainchild of longtime local concert promoter and Norfolk resident Josh Coplon and the guys from veteran-owned Young Veterans Brewing Company and its Bunker Brewpub at the Oceanfront.
Coplon, who’ll handle the music side, said at a Norfolk planning commission meeting on December 15 that the venue is “something our community has desperately needed for years.”
Coplon’s promotions company Lava Presents also holds shows at other places in Norfolk’s Railroad District, at Toast at 2406 Colonial Avenue and Maker’s Craft Brewery right up Church Street at 735 E 23rd Street, but he said “outside of the NorVa [which holds about 1,500] there’s not been a small, proper music venue in Norfolk in many years.”
He says the new venue will host shows “of all shapes and sizes,” from local artists to national touring artists. A sold-out indoor show would cap out at 380-person standing crowd, Coplon says, with outdoor events a handful of times per year that could roughly double that figure.
Here’s a breakdown of the capacity with each configuration:
The venue also may remain open to the public while an event is going on, depending on the size of the show, because it will be separated into a dining room and event room. The space can also serve as a banquet hall for private events.
The cut off for entertainment and alcohol sales will be midnight, seven days a week, per their conditional use permit from the city. They’ve also been approved to brew beer at the Church Street location.
One issue that did come up for the project was parking, with only about 35 dedicated parking spots outside.
“For the larger events I do acknowledge that will put a little more stress on the neighborhood parking, but there is ample street parking all over in the back of the neighborhood,” Coplon said as he pointed out that nearby businesses in the neighborhood typically close before shows later at night.
He says he’s also talked to business owners nearby about securing additional parking in the case of special events.
Lana Wolcott, who owns the space, said she had lots of people who wanted to rent it and she “did her homework.”
“I even take my grandchildren to their restaurant at the beach and it’s their favorite. They want to go out, they want to go to the Bunker. It’s clean, it’s nice, it’s wonderful … top of the line, first class,” adding that she owns half of the Meineke property next door and is working on getting them “all of the parking they need.”
WAVY reached out to Coplon to see when the venue may open and to get more details. He said they’re not quite ready to make an announcement at this time.