Where there is craft beer, I will follow. Add a dose of local focus and not-your-average pub food, and you can consider me a regular.
1608 Crafthouse planted itself just a few weeks ago off of Pleasure House Road in Virginia Beach. Most of their draft and bottled beers are from Virginia or the East Coast, and their menu flaunts the freshest local ingredients.
I began with the New Recruit Honey Blonde Ale by Virginia Beach’s Young Veterans Brewing Company, and my other half reached for Lot No. 6, a double I.P.A. by Maryland’s Evolution Craft Brewing Company.
Trying to decide among their small plates, I landed on their Oysters of the Day ($12). Served with a side of cocktail sauce and mignonette, I simply spritzed the lemon wedges over top, and let the oysters speak for themselves. The oysters tasted like pure butter, sweet and silky. These beauties were harvested just 10 minutes away in the James River. The gastropub partners with Pleasure House Oysters. After they serve oysters to seafood-loving gals like me, they take the shells and return them to the project to help foster growth in the oyster reef.
Next up was their Poutine ($10). Put a fried egg on anything, and you’ve won me over. Atop a bed of hand-cut fries, there were slices of fresh jalapeños, hearty oxtail chili, cheese curds and a perfectly fried egg, crispy on the edges and runny on the inside with just enough yolk to spill onto the fries. When asked for some hot sauce, we expected the token Texas Pete, but locally-loved Speedy’s Hot Sauce was brought to the table as well. The runny egg, the hot sauce, oh dear.
We could’ve stopped at the Poutine, but we ordered an entrée anyway. We split their Stout Braised Pork Shoulder Sandwich ($14) on Cuban bread. Instead of your typical aioli or what have you, there was a nice slathering of creamy grits. The velvety grits hovered over juicy, 14-hour stout-braised pork. Layered with a few garlicky spears of broccolini, this sandwich took pork to a whole new level. For a gal who loves a balanced meal with a dose of comfort, the greens with the grits was a win-win situation.
Our server explained Executive Chef Kevin Sharkey’s love for pairing beer with food, and it was evident. From the oysters to the pork sandwich, each item slowly changed my mind about pub food.
Their happy hour spans from 3–6 p.m. where they feature beer specials from the 757 as well as $5 small plates, which aren’t included on the menu. If I’m not returning for that, their made-to-order cast iron skillet cookie served with a scoop of vanilla bean gelato is motivation enough.
1608 Crafthouse is located at 1608 Pleasure House Rd #103 in Virginia Beach. Their hours are Monday–Thursday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday 3 p.m. to midnight, Saturday 10 a.m. to midnight and Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.