Cocktail bars in Richmond, VA
April 30, 2013 5:02 PM   Subscribe

Your favorite high-end cocktail bar in Richmond, VA, please.

I grew up 20 minutes south of Richmond (so I'm familiar with neighborhoods and streets), but haven't spent much time there since I moved 13 years ago. I'll have one free evening on my trip there in mid-May and want to get slow-drunk on good cocktails.

I like dimly-lit, lush, cocktail bars such as Marvel Bar in Minneapolis or The Violet Hour in Chicago. (I've only experienced the Midwest's versions of these type of bars -- I'm sure there are many more examples on the coasts.) Food is optional. In the Richmond area or surrounding suburbs a must. Price and pretension aren't objects. In fact, if you've been to this sort of place and thought, "Jesus, how pretentious," then that's the place I want.

Thanks!
posted by Zosia Blue to Travel & Transportation around Richmond, VA (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Greetings from Richmond!

Here are a few on the short list for my fiancée and me:

1. Amuse - There's a hip restaurant/bar upstairs inside the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The cocktail lineup changes according to the current exhibition at the museum. We were regular visitors over there when we lived within walking distance. N.B.: It's about the exact opposite of "dimly lit." How much more pretentious can you get than going out for drinks at the art museum?

2. Secco - This is a small-plate restaurant/wine bar in Carytown. I can't vouch for the cocktail menu, but the wine and beer list rotates regularly and the food is fantastic if you're a fan of charcuterie, cheeses, and unexpected ingredient pairings. Pretty high on the Pretentio-meter.

3. The bar at Lemaire, the restaurant at The Jefferson Hotel. The place is a lot less pretentious than it used to be, but definitely meets your lighting needs, and the service is probably the best in Richmond.

We tend to favor smaller places that don't fill up quickly with noisier people, but still love the three I mentioned. If you'd like any more suggestions, MeMail me.

Fixed the Lemaire link to point to the drinks menu
posted by emelenjr at 6:31 PM on April 30, 2013


You have to go to Saison (their cocktail menu is somewhere under the photos section). They probably have the best cocktail menu in the city. The food is top notch and has gotten nothing but great reviews since its opening.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 8:25 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


So you probably know this, but there aren't "bars" per se in VA, they're all restaurants by state law (snooze). There are a lot of very very solid cocktail places recently, but not too many places that match the tone of someplace that's "just" a bar. (this is obviously not the end of the world but FYI).

Saison above is a great recommendation, as is Lemaire. I assumed that being in the Jefferson, it was going to be weird and stuffy and old-money, but it's really pretty pleasant with a very solid cocktail menu. I don't think Secco does cocktails (I could be wrong) but it's very good on everything else - their wine and cheese in particular is FOR REAL.

Two others that would probably do you well :

The Roosevelt (Church Hill) is pretty great and usually has open seats at the bar. The Seersucker is my favorite there (Old Fashioned-y drink with a charred frozen lemon). This is also one of my favorite restaurants in the city, so if you DO want to eat there, get the burger. it's very very good.

Heritage (Fan) is newer and also very cocktail-focused. They feel a little more "mixology"-fancy (egg whites, etc) and a little less old-timey-ish than the Roosevelt - still real nice and will get you slowdrunk.

I'm 95% sure I had a nice cocktail at Magpie (Carver) but there's no cocktails on their online menu, so maybe I made it up.
posted by frankdrebin at 8:49 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Two downtown spots: Tarrant's on Broad and Pasture on Grace both serve excellent cocktails. The former is more dimly-lit and poshy while the latter is more fresh and open, even at night. I rarely head east of Belvidere for drinks but both of these are worth it. Great happy hour at Tarrant's also.

I'll nth both Lemaire and The Roosevelt as well.
posted by a halcyon day at 10:15 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Perfect suggestions. Thank you so much. If I remember correctly, I think I went to Lemaire for a pre-prom dinner in high school in the '90s and loved it. (Will be so much better now that I can drink.) I'm leaning to Saison, Heritage and Tarrant's -- I'll let you know where I end up.
posted by Zosia Blue at 2:20 PM on May 1, 2013


We didn't get to venture out of our visiting area for cocktails, but I'm bookmarking this thread for our next trip.
posted by Zosia Blue at 12:39 PM on January 28, 2014


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