Bon Vivant Wine & Brew

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

16 Ratings
Ratings: 16
Reviews: 14
rAvg: 4.52
pDev: n/a
[ Store ]

1504 S Church St
Smithfield, Virginia, 23430-1830
United States
phone: (757) 365-0932

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: Scooter77)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 16 | Reviews: 14 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Cubatobaco
4/5  rDev -11.5%

Photo of avisong
3.75/5  rDev -17%

Photo of Hanzo
4.14/5  rDev -8.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25

As other reviews have stated, this place looks like an extremely small house from the outside. It's almost comical. But once inside, it actually seemed bigger. The beer is right to your left in a small room. The shelves are packed, and it is a little tight in there, but most everything is easily visible. They have a small cooler in there with some various beers (didn't seem to have rhyme or reason as to what was in there as opposed to just on the shelf.

I think the word is out on this place as I didn't find anything limited on my trip just pretty much the same you'd find at any Total Wine, though for their size that is a compliment. Prices were a little high but being a mom and pop place I don't mind that. Did manage to find a Batch #3 Big Bad Baptist which is long gone from other stores I've shopped at.

The gentleman that checked me out offered a sample of a beer they were pouring and told me about their Friday they had coming up, he was very friendly and helpful.

If I lived in the area I would certainly go back, but as is I can't say I would return since I have Grape and Gourmet and Total Wine Hilltop closer and between them I can get anything I want practically.

Photo of Jayli
4.58/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Hit this place up just an hour or so ago. Down in VA for vacation, and never thought that I would find a place like this!
I had driven past it twice over the past few days and thought it was a house but low and behold it's a little hidden gem.
As you walk, the "store" is sectioned with craft beers to the left. The way this store runs is single bottles only. That's the one downfall - single bottles and higher prices. However, that being said, for the area, the selection and quality is outstanding. Beers are broken out by style as opposed to brewery. Since you mix six packs, I think this setup is far more appropriate. Easy to follow set up and great amount of stock. A good deal of local, regional, and elsewhere is available. The breweries that I can recall Du Claw, St. George, Tall Grass, Bluegrass Brewing, Terrapin, Bell's, Schlafly, Founders, Clown Shoes, Cisco, Stone, Southern Tier, and so much more.
We happened to catch and talk to the owner for some time. He's very knowledgeable about beers and absolutely has a passion for good craft brews.
The rest of the store offers a very nice wine selection, and more gourmet snacks and cheeses (which we pruchased some and enjoyed thoroughly!).
When you walk in, you may get a bit of a surprise by the owners dog - big ol Doberman. But he's an utter sweetheart and a rescue dog.
I will absolutely give my business to this place whenever I am in town.

Photo of blackie
4.3/5  rDev -4.9%

looks like it's been said numerous times about this place, but I'll say it again - blink and you'll miss it, Bon Vivant looks like a grandmother's house on the side of the highway, the small but well stocked beer room is your first door on the left after entering

the selection is all singles, and all quality, with enough rarities to make it worth a stop if nearby, but not to make it a destination over Grape & Gourmet in Newport News, there were a few interesting bottles that I hadn't seen anywhere else, mostly warm storage with a mini-fridge with a seemingly random assortment inside, prices a bit on the steep side, a bit torn between a 4.0 and a 4.5 selection but I'll give this little place the benefit of the doubt

service was nice, the lady of the store pointed me towards a few things I would otherwise have missed

Photo of nriech
4.7/5  rDev +4%

This place is a house so dont pass by looking for a regular storefront like I almost did.

The beer room is first on the left, the rest of the store is wine and a few snack items. Would have liked to have a few stinky cheeses but all that was available was pretty tame.

The beer area was pretty small but well organized by style. All singles. VERY good selection. Some things I havent seen even in Richmond.

The guy on hand there, I assume the owner, was very pleasant and had good reccomendations. We got 10% off 12 beers or more. Price seemed a little high but again theres a premium for rarities.

Photo of repeal06
4.7/5  rDev +4%

Stopped in around noon on a Tuesday (had the day off from work). Tiny little place, but fantastic selection. Only one employee there at the time, more than happy to answer any questions I had. Large selection of wines that I will investigate next time I stop in, and I saw a sign saying they now stocked cigars. The beer room was tiny but WELL stocked - very difficult to limit myself to a 6 pack with so many beers I want to try. Good selection of domestic microbrews as well as imports. Seems the owner has a liking for the belgians - larger than average selection. Reasonable prices. Will definitely be returning.

Photo of Neehan
4.85/5  rDev +7.3%

Wow, talk about a diamond in the rough. Located in the heart of macro-field is one of the finest establishments you'll find. First off, every beer here is good-- not a macro in sight and a fantastic selection from rare imports to elite domestic microbreweries. Everything here is sold in individual bottles, so you never feel the need to purchase in high quantities. I have been here twice and found 2 completely different yet equally pleasing, fantastic selections of choices. If there is a beer that you have heard about here and have been dying to try, as long as it is available in VA-- it's here. The service here is also fantastic with a very knowledgable and friendly staff that is appreciative of your business and of course, great beer.

Photo of Minkybut
4.65/5  rDev +2.9%

What a candy store for the beer lover. Where I live there are no places to buy good beer. This place is wonderful. Great beer selection and the owner is a mighty fine fellow. I even called in a list and Mike (the owner) put together my case of beer and had it waiting for me. He also will always offer to load the beer into your vehicle. His service is outstanding in a time where you rarely find that kind of smalltown service. Only drawback to the place is it is very small and I feel like a bull in the china closet when I'm in the beer section. I also wish the beer was already cool, but that is just being picky and it's problably better so I'm not tempted to drink and drive.

Photo of Havinapretzel
5/5  rDev +10.6%

I'm continually impressed by this place. It's not huge, but has a great selection of singles and bombers, and usually has a nice quantity of each beer in stock; only a couple of times have I gone there looking for smething without finding it, and each time they had it in stock shortly thereafter. The owners KNOW their beer and have always been friendly and helpful. They have a large wine selection as well as coffee and other good-tasting stuff. Bon Vivant is by far the farthest-away of the local beer shops I frequent, but it has been worth the trip every time.

First-timers can have a hard time finding this place because it's so small; just look for the big brick funeral home on S. Church St., Bon Vivant is directly across from it.

Edited: I keep coming here every few weeks, and it seems like each time I come Mike has something new in stock that I've never seen or heard of before. Both locations are great; I prefer the cozyness of the Smithfield store, but that's just me.

Photo of FenwaySquid
5/5  rDev +10.6%

As others have noted, this place doesn't exactly jump out at you. It is very small. That, however, is the only bad thing I can say about the place. Like another reviewer I drove past the place when I made my first trip and had to make a U-turn. The sign isn't exactly eye catching.

The room where the beer is right on the left as soon as you walk in the door and is slighly larger than my bathroom. The selection, however, is amazing. If you're looking for macro swill you will be extremely disappionted. However, if you're looking for Belgian beers and the like this is the place! (They were out of the big Duvel bottles, though.) It's also the only beer store in the area where I've been able to find Thomas Hardy's Ale. The first time I went out there I started my beer cellar when I got home. The owner is very knowedgeable in craft beer and offered a few recommendations when he saw what I had already selected.

It gets no better than here.

Photo of Bleedingshrimp
4.3/5  rDev -4.9%

As many have noted, Bon Vivant Market, doesn't exactly jump out at you, rather it's a pearl waiting to be plucked. Hidden on Church Street in an unassuming little brick building is a wealth of great beer.

After viewing their web site, I headed from Newport News across the James River to check out the situation one Saturday afternoon. I passed it at first and had to make a U-Turn. Once inside, I noticed that it was slightly bigger than it appeared from the outside. Still it was a little cramped inside but not necessarily uncomfortable. The proprieter wasn't there during my visit but the rest of the staff was VERY pleasant and made themselves available if needed.

The beer room is as you would imagine..small but packed from the floor to the ceiling. I notice right away some breweries I hadn't had beers by were well represented here. Bear Republic, Great Divide, and others. Alpha King Pale Ale, Old Jubilation by Avery, rare Smutty and Victory brews and alot of other great American brews. Belgium was very well represented as well with a good amount of Trappist and other Belgian ales well stocked.

I was slightly dissapointed that Bernardus Abt. 12 was missing but the staff reassured me they would be getting more. They also had some gift packages, a Brew-opoly board game and other odds and ends. I didn't try any wines or cheeses but the store seemed well versed in those items as well. I was able to find at least 40 or so beers that I hadn't seen anywhere else. Great find and a great establishment!

Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.3/5  rDev -4.9%

The only way to start this review would be to note that you are not going to notice this place if you are not looking for it. My mapping program incorrectly put it downtown when it is really 15 blocks (long blocks) South of downtown.

The sign is small and covered with flowers. The outside is a small brick building that appears to have at one time been an extremely small two room cottage. If you see the place you might decide not to enter since nowhere does it mention beer or wine, simply Market on the sign. Loads of parking, once you do find it, and find it you should!

The first room as you enter on the left is beer. Heavenly beer! No BMC, nothing that is not craft or Belgian. Even Sahti had a place on the shelves. The shelves are on two walls and are crammed full of bottles. The selection should probably only rate a 4.0 since there is no more room for beers and many micros are not represented, but for a small place in nowhere VA, the selection is outstanding. Many beers are present that have not been seen elsewhere in the state.

The quality is good. Some beers may have been around awhile, but no dust and many newer beers were present. The service rates 4.5 and with regularity could become a 5.0. I suspect the owner would eventually know you by name and he keeps a record of your purchases by name in the computer to make it easier for his customers to know what they might have purchased in the past. There is only one small cooler in the back room with the wine and it contains the Legend beers.

If I lived or was visiting the area, this would definitely be my beer store of choice. It is so far off the beaten path that you need to be in the area before making the jaunt, but if you decide to visit, it will be worth your time!

Photo of Px2GrafX
4.65/5  rDev +2.9%

Bon Vivant is a tiny little store out in what seems like the middle of nowhere. About a 45min.-1hr. drive from my house in Va. Beach. You have to pass it and make a u-turn to get to it. Little brick cottage-like building. Inside, there's tonsa wine, spices, etc. and beer in the room on the left. Once in this room, you are staring at a wall fulla one of the best beer selections I've ever seen. No Miller Lite here. Only the best, hard to find beers. Micros and quite a selection of Belgians and other Europeans. Mike, the owner, is awesome. Very nice and more knowledgable about beer than I'll ever be. He was very helpful and made a suggestion that's now become one of my top 5 favorite beers. He runs a little beer lovers club that meets on the last Fri. of the month at 7pm. Haven't been to a meeting yet, but I'll get there soon. He put me on a list in his computer and has sent me updates on his stock and has held beer for me before. Just an all-around great guy. The prices are reasonable/average, but in many cases, his selection outweighs what you're gonna pay. Some gems are a little pricey, but who cares. Overall, one of the absolute best places to go for beer. I haven't found a better place in the area.

Photo of catwoman
4.85/5  rDev +7.3%

The Bon Vivant has a very good selection of Belgians and American microbrews. I did also check out his stock on the website and it seems to be accurate. He has some things that are hard-to-find currently such as De Dolle Export Stout, The Duchess in big bottles, her siblings Echte Kriekenbier and Vichtennar, Boon Gueuze, de Regenboog BBBourgundier (pardon my spelling), Dogfish Head Old School Barleywine, Rocheforts....it is a quality selection and I was torn between 4.5 and 5.0.

His prices are fair in my opinion, and Bon Vivant is owner-operated by Belgian beer-o-phile Mike Adams.
From the outside you'd never know this place was here, it is in a very small town, on the side of a highway, but inside it is beer heaven.

Photo of byrd
4.5/5  rDev -0.4%

The Bon Vivant Market is a TINY little store that specializes in Beer, Wine, Coffee, and Spices. They have a wine specialist as their official wine taster, and the owner, Mike Adams, is the beer guru. He's a very nice guy, very helpful, and quite excited about beer. He really wanted to chat with me about all the brews that I was purchasing, but the store had gotten quite crowded while I was checking out and other customers were also in need of his attention. They stock roughly 125 to 150 beers at any given time. It’s not the largest selection, but they've cut out most of the fluff and, what they do have is pretty much all worth while. They cover a wide range a styles and have a couple good representatives of all the various styles that they carry. I found the tagged prices to be about average with what I’ve seen around the area, but if you buy over 10 bottles (I think that’s the right number, but I may be wrong) then you get 10% off your purchase which makes their prices quite good. Everything is sold by the single, and only a couple things are refrigerated in a small apartment size Pepsi fridge (I think these items are dictated by floor space). While at the store, I also asked Mike Adams if he'll special order beer and if there's a minimum order. He said that there’s no minimum order and that he's always looking for great new and unique brews to stock (within his space limitations of course). So, if there was ever anything that I wanted him to see if he could get to just let him know.

The beer portion of their web site is pretty thorough and lists all of the current stock. I've seen it change a few times, so it seems to be kept current. They also have a “Beer Lover’s Club” that hosts beer tastings once a month at the store after hours. There’s an email list that can be signed up for at the store that Bon Vivant uses to inform beer lover’s about all the monthly tastings and some of the specialties that they receive from time to time.

All in all, a great little store with a very nice personal touch. Not being much of a wine drinker myself, I’d just assume they cut the wine inventory in half and expand the beer selection. Then the store would be almost unbeatable.

Bon Vivant Wine & Brew in Smithfield, VA
96 out of 100 based on 16 ratings.