So summertime is here and the living is easy.
And the current heat wave aside, there are some stellar places to enjoy an outside drink or bite to eat, no matter where you are in the capital city.
C Street, in the church building that once housed Acacia in Carytown, has a lovely patio area at the top of the church steps. And while their usual hours are restricted to breakfast and lunch, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, they do happy hour from 4:00-7:30. Unlike some patios, this one is covered, shaded and quite lovely late in the day. Order a bottle of Muga Rose and settle back for your transition from workaday to an evening’s pleasure.
If you prefer an even higher view, Xtra’s Café, also in C-town, has a charming little balcony that overlooks the street theater of Richmond’s most bustling street. It’s small and popular in nice weather, but definitely worth making appoint to enjoy. If you’re a bubbles lover like me, make your plan to visit on Wednesday nights when bottles of bubbly are only ten bucks. I guarantee you’ll feel like you’re floating on stars before you leave that balcony.
For sheer Savannah-like charm, in my opinion there is no lovelier outdoor space than the walled garden at Beauregard’s Thai Room on Cary Street downtown. It’s a combination of things: those very old brick walls, the row of green shuttered windows above, the abundance of colorful, flowering plants and the koi pond burbling in the background. With the canopy of trees overhead, it is old-fashioned and charming in the most southern way possible. What better place to have a refreshing cocktail (or eat spicy Thai food) in the summertime?
Then I want downtown urban ambiance, I choose The Empress. Their patio sits right on Broad Street with high tables for lounging and umbrellas in case you want to avoid the sun. Yes, it’s a colorful crowd that passes by on the sidewalk, but isn’t that part of the charm of city living? The happy hour is known as “wine enthusiast hour” and gets high points for reasonable pricing and interesting variety. Wednesdays they do gluten-free pizza and gluten-free beer night in case that’s more your thing.
If you want the ambiance of being outside but not the actual accompanying nature, Urban Farmhouse in Shockoe Slip is your ticket. With a nice variety of organic and fair trade wines, as well as cold beer, you can enjoy your libation in one of the big, open windows that front Cary Street and the parade of tourists, business travelers and office workers will be your entertainment. They’re open every day, so they’re an easy default when you unexpectedly have the brilliant idea to go get fresh air and a beverage.
So there you have it. You can spend the summer months hiding out in air-conditioned comfort or you can surrender to the heat gods and enjoy a warm patio and lots of cold drinking. Richmond has the patios, the restaurants have the cold bevies, so all that’s needed is you.
Come on, it’s summertime!
Karen is Just your average Jackson Ward resident who thinks Richmond offers more than enough to keep you occupied and entertained. She smiles too much, talks way too much, is too into music, and shares her opinion whether it’s asked for or not on her blog “I Could Go On and On.”