Cast Anchor at Jeffrey Beers’ New Waterside District in Norfolk, Virginia

Waterside District
Photo by Max Touhey

A Titanic on land, Jeffrey Beers International’s newest hospitality design project, Waterside District, brings 55,000-square-feet of dining and drinks to the waterfront in Norfolk, Virginia.

Seven distinct restaurants and bars are strung together with a similar theme of maritime odes, including seashell-white dining furniture, blackened steel, and exposed structural elements that evoke the gritty glory of this area’s former shipyard aesthetic. You can even find a sailboat hanging from the rafters. Sailors and pirates alike are welcome.

These highly intentional design elements have come to be a calling card for Jeffrey Beers and the firm’s other projects, which include Brooklyn’s newest Gotham at The Ashland. This time, the layout invites us to cast anchor for the day at Waterside District and coast into evening, becoming entranced by the wide range of fare and the marriage with architectural charms.

A few of the concepts include Guy Fieri’s Smokehouse, which evokes a dark pirate ship feel (flames included); the crisp Harbor Club (can you say, views); the light and airy Blue Moon Tap House; fresh seafood from Stripers Waterside; the PBR Coors Banquet Bar; the Blue Moon Taphouse; and — wait for it — a Fudgery featuring handmade, traditional sweets. The craft beers are also inspired by the city of Norfolk, which is home to a longstanding Naval base, several warship museums, and leagues of other seafaring history.

Waterside District not only reminds us how hungry we are, but of the potential for hospitality architecture to evoke a feeling in its visitors and a common ground for connection. For instance, the Waterside District garage space hosts family movie nights (catch Hocus Pocus on October 24), so bring your chair for the promenade, grab a beer, and enjoy the East Coast fall.

Created for The Cordish Companies, who recently enlisted Jeffrey Beers for their Atlanta sports bar complex, Live! At the Battery, Waterside is similarly social but embodies the spirit of a very different setting. Nautical knots and a view that washes in the salty air creates a home away from home.