Opening of a wedding hall and a speakeasy in the former post office
BRISTOL, Va. — After a few months of rest after housing a comedy club and culinary school, Bristol’s former post office on Piedmont Avenue is now home to Old Post 33 Venue and Speakeasy.
Honey Rodgers, a native Texan who moved to Bristol three years ago, recalled how in January, after spending most of the pandemic thinking about her next business venture and some time at Blackbird Bakery, she threw one peek into the old post office in bristol across the street and i immediately knew it was the perfect location for a wedding.
“For two years, I kind of sat down. What do I want to do? What does this community need? You know, what can I contribute to the community? Because I’m just a business mind anyway, I happened to be at Blackbird Bakery and I saw this building and I was so curious about it,” Rodgers said. “I mean, as corny as it may seem. It really is as if the building had found me. I wasn’t really looking for it, but I’ve always wanted to have a wedding venue, so it just made sense to me when I looked at this I figured it had to be a wedding venue. Nothing else really makes sense.
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Post 33 Venue and Speakeasy is divided into three sections. The central hall will serve as the main space for weddings and events, with Boutique 33 to be set up near the entrance of the building and in the basement a speakeasy.
The speakeasy was not part of Rodgers’ original business plan until she discovered that an entire bar, which was originally the old station bar, was set up downstairs. Of course, her husband immediately offered to turn the space into a sports bar, an idea she quickly dismissed.
“I was surprised it was here. I didn’t expect it and had no intention of owning a bar,” Rodgers said. “My husband, of course, being a man, said, ‘Let’s do a sports bar.’ No, we’re not doing a sports bar because, like, it’s not working And then what’s different than nobody else is doing Because I didn’t want to compete directly with the business from somebody else. could be added to that, you know, for downtown and for this neighborhood, that would be an asset, not just another thing? And so I thought that really made sense as a speakeasy.
Currently, Rodgers is awaiting liquor license approval. The license has been delayed several times and is the last of the paperwork needed before the speakeasy opens to the public, ideally over Halloween weekend.
“I should have it next week. I’ve been saying it for three weeks. So that’s my biggest challenge, the bureaucracy with the license,” Rodgers said. “Other than that it’s really been a lot of work, but nothing has really been put on hold. It’s just an investment of time and trying to put it all together.”
The Old Post 33 will have its own in-house wedding planner and coordinator, as well as a chef from Johnson City, Tennessee with whom Rogers is currently in negotiations to take over the kitchen. The chef will also provide catering for weddings, brunch and lunch from Monday to Friday, as well as sushi for the speakeasy.
Business picks up quickly for Rodgers and Old Post 33 in December, with the wedding venue set to host its first series of monthly 90-minute pop-up weddings, as well as a Bristol Grinchmas event planned for the kids upstairs and for adults in the speakeasy.
“Believe in Bristol are having a private event downstairs on the 28th October. We are having a Halloween party upstairs on Saturday the 29th and then we are having pop-up weddings which is five micro weddings in one day . , so it will be fun,” Rodgers said. “In December we’re going to do a Whoville spin-off, which is called Bristolville Grinchmas, and we’ve got a couple of college drama students coming in to play those roles, and we’re going to have a kids program upstairs, and then downstairs we’ll have a mean Grinch in the speakeasy.”
Rodgers was surprised by the reception from other downtown business owners.
“Everyone in this community has been really great. I mean, I’ve lived in different states. I’ve had different businesses and I’ve never really had that kind of cohesion,” Rodgers said. “They’ve been really fantastic in embracing me and embracing the concept of this new business and having a lot of interaction and having people step in and say, how can I help you? That was pretty awesome.”
The Old Post 33 venue is open and accepting event reservations. Once the liquor license is approved for the speakeasy, it will be open weekdays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and weekends from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.