In the heart of the Shockoe Bottom district, on a quiet sector of East Grace Street, sits your next favorite coffee destination in Richmond, Virginia.
Ironclad Coffee was established in 2015 with a wealth of knowledge in the art of brewing a great cup of coffee. Ryan O’Rourke is the pioneer of this noble endeavor to deliver a high quality cup of coffee, along with exceptional customer service. Since it’s opening, Ironclad has been dedicated in cultivating only the best coffee products for its customers, and in my book, they’ve succeeded. Not only do they offer a wide array of brewed beverages from hot to cold to espresso, they do it all with a smile and such hospitality. Each barista is a master of their craft, able to whip up a masterfully crafted beverage that is perfect every time.
Their café is just as charming as their staff and their coffee. Though I didn’t confirm, their building must have originally been a garage shop, or maybe a small fire station, with a massive garage door big enough for a fire engine. The door is fully functional and able to be opened on a nice, sunny day. But even when it’s closed up, plenty of natural light streams in through its many windows and makes the place feel warm and cozy. The ground floor is wide open with the barista station in the center. Devoted to the comfort of their customers, plenty of tables and lounge furniture can be found either on their main floor or in the upper loft.
A visit to Ironclad for a quick cup of coffee or a light snack on your journey through Richmond will have you rethinking your entire coffee routine. You may just never buy your grounds from the grocery store ever again! The coffee is just that mind-blowing. And you’re in luck, because Ironclad has upped the game by offering their products online and even setting up a subscription system so you’d never run the chance of forgetting to order again. And if you don’t have time to sit and drink your cup of joe in their lovely café, you can order ahead on their mobile app and pick it up. For those stopping in around lunch or for a heartier breakfast, they’re in luck. Along with the selection of typical pastries in their little display case, they offer breakfast and brunch-ish sandwiches like The Ellis Island (ham) and European Hokie (turkey).
For those Civil War history buffs who are wondering about the name of the coffee house, yes, I think it is linked with the famous “iron clad” warships like the Monitor and Merrimack. Just a little nod to the history or Richmond, as well as a symbolism of the steadfastness and strength of character in every cup of coffee they brew.
I ordered a regular cup of coffee, or “Jet Brew”. Boring, I know, but I was looking for simplicity. They served it in a real mug. Not a to-go cup that makes you feel like you need to leave, but a real ceramic mug! We sat at a table by the garage door and were pleasantly surprised to see that the flower and little vase on the table were REAL! The atmosphere and little touches here and there really made this place inviting. I almost didn’t want to leave for the museum that morning. My husband had an iced coffee called “Flash Brew” and even he agreed that it was a notch above what he normally drinks. We ordered a cheesy biscuit pastry from the display case. I wasn’t a total fan, but my husband loved it. Flaky and filling, just how he likes them.
I would highly recommend leaving a decent window of time for Ironclad Coffee. Don’t rush this experience. Bring a book or bring a friend, because this place is worth staying a spell. Parking along the street is available, but when it’s a little crowded on Grace Street, you can also opt for the paid parking in the block that stretches between North 17th and North 18th Street along East Grace Street, just down the road from the coffee house. It’ll be a few bucks for an hour-block, but a guaranteed place to put your car while you take your coffee.
Address: 1805 E Grace St, Richmond, VA 23223
Hours: Open 7 days a week, 8am – 3pm