DATE NIGHT: Shockoe Bottom

Inventive art and intriguing wine selections, eateries offering everything from tasty pub sandwiches to fine-dining extravaganzas, plus live entertainment make the ‘Bottom’ a perfect option for going out.

[above photo] Top: Art and wine at C’est Le Vin. Middle: Romance of a different time at Havana ’59. Bottom: Poe’s Pub is a classic destination for food and fun.

[above photo] Top left: Sumosan offers a vast selection of sushi in a chic, yet playful, interior.Top right: Caribbean Mingles’ is Downtown’s authentic venue for island food and entertainment. Bottom: Julep’s design reflects the restaurant’s theme of blending traditional Southern culture with contemporary details.
A Richmond dining staple for years now, Poe’s Pub continues to provide quality and traditional American fare as well as entertainment. Boasting an affordable menu with enough selection to meet most any craving (The “Raven Fries”, topped with Lawry’s seasoning salt along with chili, bacon, and/or jalapenos, hit the spot anytime), Poe’s serves as a safe bet for any meal.

Their happy hour, from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. on weekdays, offers a dollar of all draft and domestic beer and ensures the mood is just right for the live music that can be seen most nights. With a range of variety from classic rock to modern R&B, all bases are covered at Poe’s ensuring just about everyone a fun and relaxing time with great food.

Jen T., server – “There’s always a really friendly feel here. Most of the regulars feel and act like family.”

C’est Le Vin owners Genet Semere and Ghermay Worldeab have created a truly unique and equally enjoyable date option coupled with an affinity for fine wine, art, and culture. With special attention to emerging artists of various media, the venue features frequent art openings that have all of the flair and energy of a major gallery contained in their enchanting location in historic Shockoe Bottom.

Now, the location’s kitchen provides light dishes and hors d’oeuvres to compliment the staggering selection of wines on site. Whether it’s the weekly wine tastings on Fridays and Saturdays (5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.) or the exciting opening night for the newest featured artist on display, C’est Le Vin provides a cosmopolitan experience that blends perfectly into Richmond’s night life.

Fay R., patron – “It was my first time here, but I’d definitely come back. The drinks, the art, and atmosphere are [just] a perfect combination.”

Julep’s has enough old-world charm and modern dining elegance for anyone looking to enjoy innovative recreations of Southern cuisine staples in an atmosphere that seems to breathe the spirit of Richmond. Amy Cabaniss, Juleps owner, made sure seating can accommodate large parties of more than a hundred, but on a night for two the quaint and comfortable ambiance allows for a very intimate dining experience. In addition to the award winning food, the well-stocked bar provides equally impressive drinks and specialty cocktails, including their famous “Southern Delight Mint Julep,” making Julep’s the ideal date destination.

Dining at Havana ’59 is to take a step back to a time and place long gone, but entrancing nonetheless. Drawing inspiration from Cuba’s cultural heyday in the 1950’s, the restaurant gives almost no indication to the contemporary.

The undeniably exotic atmosphere transports a regular date straight to a small corner in a dimly-lit, romantic cafe existing in Havana when the city was known as “The Paris of the Caribbean.” Expanding further on the establishment’s theme is the impressive menu which boasts, among many other things, the ’59 Paella, a surf and turf combination that’s not to be missed. Perhaps the only acknowledgement of the times is the restaurant’s happy hour Monday thru Saturday (4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.), which offers food specials such as $4 tacos and empanadas, as well as several drink specials which rotate and change frequently.

Eric O., patron -“The chicken was tender and the rice and beans were phenomenally good. I made sure the dishwasher didn’t have to do much work on my plate.”

A newcomer on the Richmond restaurant scene, Caribbean Mingles is quickly making its name as the “go-to” spot for authentic Caribbean cuisine and atmosphere. With an extensive menu that draws inspirations from all the islands, executive chef Uton Grayham has ensured that selection is never an issue.

Dishes are exotic as they are delicious including new takes on island favorites (Who knew there were so many ways to make jerk chicken?), as well as irresistibly interesting entrees like curried goat and, for the adventurous, conch dishes to clarify why the delectable delicacy has come to be known as “the escargot of the Caribbean.” For the indecisive, there is also an equally impressive buffet that boasts an array of options (including several tasty vegetarian selections) and removes the burden of deciding on just one thing.

The dining room could have been transplanted directly from any elegant, beachside hotel in the West Indies, and has cozy tables for two in addition to accommodation for any festive island bash. Not only is there ample space for larger parties, but the restaurant also is a fully functioning catering service, operating on-site and off, that provides the delicious and inviting atmosphere found in the restaurant for any event.

The island experience doesn’t end with the food. Happy hour offers great deals on daily food specials, however, the centerpiece is, of course, their special recipe for rum punch available for only $3. Just like the region it draws inspiration from, the restaurant comes alive at night with frequent live music performances to keep the island vibes going, as well festivities for various holidays and events. Whether it’s a night of island partying and romance or just a quick getaway during a lunch break from work, Caribbean Mingles offers an escape as soon as you open the door. If you are a honeymoon couple, this could be the perfect place to grow your romance. Many couples enjoy the exotic location and are even up into sex toys (like vedo hummer) to spice up their romance.

Uton G., chef -“We look forward to bringing our passion for our food to Richmond. This year will be exciting for us.”

Sushi is, of course, an emerging favorite in Richmond dining and leading the pack, with good reason, is Sumosan. Far from the standard sushi destination, Sumosan prides itself on using the freshest ingredients of the highest quality in their dishes which range from the classic, as well as the innovative like their “seal-o-ver.”

The menu selection is vast and includes both raw and cooked options, ensuring that even those uninitiated to the world of sushi will find something to enjoy. Beyond the menu, there are always several unlisted specialties offered depending on the day.

With an incomparable focus on food quality and customer service, Sumosan offers an experience perfect for the couple or small group looking for a relaxing and enjoyable night of dining.

Kerry, manager-“We have a big menu and always have new drink and food specials. It’s always worth asking about any of the off-menu specials our chef has come up with for the day.”

CategoriesDrink Local, Eat Local, General, PlayTagged
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