Chef Brittanny Anderson’s Black Lodge is aiming to be the most upscale dive bar in Scott’s Addition. Few places in Richmond offer customers such a wide range of flavor combinations, from the finesse of caviar with a well-crafted cocktail to a roller hot dog paired with a Bud Heavy. Since re-opening in 2021, Black Lodge has been functioning as the friendly neighborhood bar that Scott’s Addition sorely needed against a backdrop of seemingly endless breweries and [arcades].
Anderson, co-owner and head chef, describes it as a chill spot that sits in the middle between high-end and a dive. Her third business in town, Black Lodge was rebirthed from a coffee shop/cafe to a bar after the owners realized that a cafe was not going to cut it. James Kohler, co-owner and beverage director, wanted to shift to a late-night bar where you could always get a hot meal, hence the $5 roller hot dogs prominently placed at the front of the bar, available long after the main kitchen closes.
“I developed the beverage menu with an emphasis on drinks that I wanted to have after I get off work,” explains Kohler. “This includes the price and content. I focused on retooling some classics. We prepare the drinks in a way that we get them out as quickly as possible with less of a focus on the bartending aspect. We wanted time to get to know the name and face of the person at the bar.”
Their take on a classic Boilermaker, dubbed the Dressed Up Pony, is a perfect example. The concoction is composed of a Miller High Life pony beer with bourbon and ginger added to the bottle. The excess beer comes in a shot glass with your cocktail for $8. All Black Lodge’s food comes out of the same kitchen as Brenner Pass next door, which has been featured in Bon Appetit as a must visit restaurant in Richmond, so you know it’s good.
How did Anderson settle on this aspiring dive bar’s menu? “I chose food I wanted to eat at the bar,” she says. “I wanted to connect bar food with ingredients we use at Brenner Pass.”
This is why you will find some atypical bar foods on the menu such as your pick of three different types of caviar: paddlefish, smoked trout, or sturgeon. You can get two shots and caviar all for $30 bucks. This has been a more popular menu item than expected, according to Anderson.
If you are a first timer, try one of their hot dogs. These sausages are served with delicious toppings that you may never have considered putting on a bun. For example, the Alpine Dog comes topped with fondue and fried onions. The Russian Dog is topped with pickled beets, hardboiled eggs, and trout roe. If you’re hungry and can’t decide what to order, go for the Tower of Power; imagine a seafood tower but instead of shrimp and fish, it features multiple tiers of hot dogs, wings, patty melts, and fries.
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Not a meat lover? There is always an off-menu vegan sandwich and the ability to switch to a vegan hot dog. For folks looking for more simple fare, both owners also called out their love of the patty melt and the newly added fish and chips.
Recently Black Lodge has been supplementing their typical offerings by playing host to some local pop-ups and chefs. In March, Royal Pig took over the kitchen serving up Cambodian food. The dive bar also hosted Manny Eats for a four course, wine-paired West African dinner. “Any chance we get to let others shine in the space and show people what they do is good for us,” says Anderson.
Fans should be on the lookout for more special events in the near future. Despite the popularity of the pop-ups, the charm of the place remains its unpretentious, late night comfort mixed with a seasoned chef’s knowledge of the good stuff. So if you’re jonesing for a late night hot dog or a coterie of caviars, stop by Black Lodge and get to know your local bartender. Folks in the industry are already there. ..
Black Lodge is located at 3200 Rockbridge St. #101 Check the website here for more information. They are open Tuesday to Thursday 5 p.m to midnight. On Friday and Saturday they stay open till 2 a.m.