Richmond, Virginia has fantastic bars of all kinds to choose from. The craft beer scene is especially strong, and in recent years the city has given rise to a number of excellent cocktail bars. Whether you prefer the friendly atmosphere of an Irish pub or are searching for a trendy cocktail spot, Richmond has just the bar for you.
Located in an unassuming, converted row house in Richmond’s historic Carver neighborhood, The Magpie can be easy to miss from the outside. Once inside this locally owned gastropub you’ll see why The Magpie is anything but ordinary. The Victorian décor is sure to make an impression – from the mahogany bar to the vintage red sofa consistently beelined by guests. With a large selection of speciality coattails and craft beers, not to mention delicious and creative snacks and small plates, The Magpie is a must-visit.
The Rogue Gentlemen is first and foremost a cocktail bar. Inspired by the pre-Prohibition era, the bar uses spirits, sugars, bitters and essential oils to re imagine the classic cocktails of that era. Can’t decide on a drink to order? Then go for the ‘Dealer’s Choice’ – choose any two adjectives from a list on the menu and the bartender will create a custom cocktail that suits your tastes. So whether you are looking for something spicy and smokey, or bitter and boozy, The Rogue Gentlemen has got you covered.
Named after a special tool used in fire and rescue services, the Halligan Bar & Grill pays tribute to past and present firefighters worldwide – owner Shawn Gregory is an active duty firefighter himself. Once inside, you’ll immediately notice the focal point of the bar: a 1973 Seagrave fire engine that was donated by a fire department near Richmond. Barbecue is the main fare here, with North Carolina style pulled pork, Memphis style chicken and Texas beef brisket.
Rosie Connolly’s is an Irish pub located in Shockoe Bottom that will make any Irishman feel right at home. This is the place to go for the best Guinness pour in Richmond, as well as other favorites like Harp, Smithwicks and Newcastle. Also featured is an array of single malt scotches and Irish whiskeys. Expect to make a friend or two at Rosie Connolly’s.
Saison owners Adam Hall and Jay Bayer have imagined a unique style of food and drink through a blend of southern American and Central American flavors. Try one of the creatively named cocktails, like A Dutchman in Milan – a blend of gin, fresh lemon, Campari and celery shrub. Alternatively, try the Baby Alpaca, which is a modern take on the classic pisco sour. The cocktail list is constantly rotating, but the knowledgeable mixologists are always happy to create a custom-made wonder or an old favorite.
The beer selection at Southern Railway Taphouse rivals that of any bar, with a rotating list of 40 drafts and more than 100 craft bottles. Check their website to find out which drafts are available on any given day, as it is updated in real time. The spacious bar area is a high-energy, late night gathering place and the outdoor patio that overlooks the canal walk in downtown Richmond is perfect for the summer.
Toast has eight different kinds of wine available on tap every day. There are also 17 beers on tap, including plenty of local brews. With a menu focusing on southern classics ‘with a twist’, Toast has become a Richmond household name. For those with an allergy to gluten, Toast has got you covered, with many delicious gluten-free drinks and snacks on offer. Make sure to order a bucket of the amazing sweet potato tots or the Parmesan truffle fries.
GWAR is a heavy metal band that formed at Virginia Commonwealth University in downtown Richmond in the 1980s. GWARbar, located just a few blocks from where the members met, pays tribute to the iconic band. GWARbar goes all-out on that theme, with band posters adorning the walls and fake blood splattered on the menus and the floor. You don’t have to be a heavy metal fan to enjoy GWARbar, however, as the burgers, fries and other comfort food are sure to hit the spot.
Over the past few years, Mekong has been recognized as one of the Great American Beer Bars. The beer selection at Mekong is excellent – with more than 100 different craft brews to choose from, you’ll find a number of rare and unique beers that are hard to find elsewhere. Perhaps most interesting is the fact that it’s all located in a restaurant serving delicious Vietnamese food.
Penny Lane Pub is an English pub which has adopted the slogan of the Liverpool Football Club, ‘You’ll never walk alone’. The downstairs bar scene is relaxed and the perfect spot to try some traditional British fare, such as the fish and chips or steak and Guinness pie. Head to the upstairs bar if you fancy a more lively scene and prefer to play billiards or darts.