To open Carolina Beach’s newest coffee shop and pour house, owner Jeff Hogan had to break the bank – literally.
Hogan liked the spot at 612 N. Lake Park Blvd., formerly First Citizens Bank, for its abundant parking and existing drive-thru infrastructure. But to transform into The Vault Coffee and Pour House, the building was essentially gutted and rebuilt. One element, however, proved resistant to demolition: the bank’s vault.
Built to withstand attempts at penetration or destruction, removing the vault’s door required use of an expensive special machine. Instead of removing the vault, Hogan decided to work with the concrete-encased structure. Outfitted with custom cabinetry and granite countertops, the eponymous vault now serves as a wine cellar.
“We let The Vault name itself,” Hogan said.
It took a day and a half to get a single hole in the vault for installation of an air conditioning duct, but once that was in place, Hogan said the structure is an ideal space for wine storage.
“It stays nice and cool in there because of the concrete floors, walls and ceilings,” Hogan said.
The coffee shop and drinkery opened Nov. 21. Earlier in the day, patrons can grab coffee through the drive-thru or post up inside with their laptops. To ensure a quality cup of joe, coffee beans are ground fresh on-demand for each order and brewed using a Nuova Simonelli espresso machine, which Hogan described as “top-of-the-line equipment.” Baked goods, including customer-favorite cinnamon rolls and bagels, are available to accompany the drinks.
In the afternoon, guests can enjoy pours of local beers from 16 taps or a selection of wines while lounging on couches or watching one of four TVs on site. In addition to craft beers, Hogan also has Miller Lite and Pacifico on tap for those with a thirst for something more traditional.
“Not everybody likes craft beers,” he said. “We want to include everybody.”
One tap is reserved for pours of Italian prosecco with eight other varieties of red and white wine available by the glass. Guests can also enter the vault to select a bottle to enjoy on premises or take home, with options ranging from $12 to nearly $200 per bottle. Hogan said the selection was curated to provide choices not otherwise available in southern New Hanover County.
“We want to give people options for something different,” he said.
is currently open seven days a week from 7 a.m. until 8 or 9 p.m.
Have a tip for Restaurant Roundup? Email us at [email protected].