Let me be clear from the start. This list is neither objective nor exhaustive. These are my favorite dining, drinking, and happy hour specials in and around Richmond, Va. I will continue to update as I find more favorites.
Multi-Day Happy Hours, Prix Fixe Menus, Etc. in Richmond
East Coast Provisions Happy Hour
Monday-Friday, 4-6:30 p.m.
Enjoy $4 glasses of The Curator Red or White blend, $2.50 domestic bottles, $2 off selected craft cocktails, $3 house brand cocktails, and $2 off draft beers. In addition, there’s a nice food menu. My food picks include a dozen Chesapeake oysters for $12, $4 truffle Parmesan fries, $6 tuna tartare tacos, and $6 ECP burger sliders.
Lemaire Bar Menu Happy Hour
Daily 4-7 p.m.
Choose any three appetizers for $20. This makes happy hour a perfect time to soak up one of Richmond’s most elegant bars.
Amuse at the VMFA Happy Hour
Saturday-Wednesday 2:30-4:30, Thursday and Friday 2:30-6
One of the earliest happy hours in town features $2 off signature cocktails, craft beers and champagne. The cocktail menu here changes with the art exhibits, so this is a perfect opportunity to try the latest selections.
Stella’s Meze Ora
Monday-Friday 4-6 p.m.
If you work in the West End like me, you might have to sneak out of the office a little early to hit this happy hour, but trust me it’s worth it. Drink specials include a selected cocktail of the evening for $6, $4 selected beers, $10 carafes of house wine (this is basically an entire bottle of wine for ten bucks), and $5 ouzo service. In addition, there’s a wide selection of small plates. My favorites so far are the Garides & Skordalia—grilled shrimp paired with an addicting sauce made of pureed bread, lemon and garlic ($4); the grilled octopus with fried artichokes ($6); the feta, kasseri cheese and olives ($4); and the keftedes meatballs ($4).
The Savory Grain Happy Hour
Tuesday-Sunday 4-7 p.m.
The drink specials include $4 draft beers and a featured $4 red, white and sparkling wine alongside $4 rail drinks. In addition, there’s a special happy hour menu with $5 bar snacks, including a smaller portion of my favorite cheese-stuffed, bacon-wrapped grilled jalapeno poppers, which are worth the trip alone.
Latitude Seafood Co. Happy Hour
Monday-Friday 3-6:30, Saturday 12-4, Sunday 1-8 p.m.
Worth the drive to the South Side (or just a hop and skip down 288 if you work in West Creek), enjoy $6 Hellfire Shrimp, calamari, smoked salmon dip, 6 raw or steamed oysters, and chicken lettuce wraps; half off all beer; $2.95 selected wines by the glass, and well liquor plus one mixer for $2.25.
Rappahannock Happy Hour
Sunday-Thursday 4-6 p.m.
This happy hour includes $1 oysters (!!!), $5 on-draft Italian sparkling wine, $5 Old Fashioneds, and $3 craft canned beers.
Rapp Session Happy Hour
Sunday-Thursday 4-7 p.m., Daily 11 p.m.-close
Similar to Rappahannock Restaurant but worthy of its own call out, Rapp Session also offers $1 selected oysters during happy hour. In addition the menu includes $3 canned beers, $5 on-tap sparkling rose, and $6 punch of the day.
Pasture Happy Hour
Monday-Friday 4-7 p.m.
Pasture has one of the best food happy hours in town with half off all snacks, meaning you can score the restaurant’s famous pimento cheese with Ritz crackers for just $3 and add cured ham for another $1.50. In addition drink specials include $5 featured wines, $2 off drafts, $1 off rails, and featured daily craft cocktail specials.
Amour Wine Bistro Happy Hour
Tuesday-Friday 5:30-7 p.m.
Enjoy 3 small plates for $15 as well as glasses of house wine for $5 each.
Tazza Kitchen Happy Hour
Short Pump: Monday-Friday 4-6:30, Alverser Plaza: Monday-Thursday 4:30-6:30, Friday 4:30-6 p.m.
I like Tazza Kitchen’s happy hour because the menu generally includes several rotating featured craft cocktails priced somewhere between $4 and $6 which is kind of fun. In addition there are generally featured wines for around $5 and discounts of around $1 off drafts. There’s also a food menu with inexpensive tacos and flautas and my favorite, $5 guacamole.
Kuba Kuba Happy Hour
Daily 4-6 p.m.
Selected wines by the glass are $4. This one made my list because you should stop in and try the Portuguese red wine varal. Normally $7 glass, it’s served chilled and its wonderfully light, dry red and black berry flavors pair perfectly with the Cuban flavors on the menu.
Deco Happy Hour
Tuesday-Saturday 5-7 p.m.
Enjoy $5 street food—my picks include panelle (chickpea fritters served with a delicious fresh pesto sauce), pastiedda (freshly fried cauliflower), and polpettine (deliciously flavorful Sicilian-style meatballs) along with $8 small plates of pasta. You can’t really go wrong with any of these, but my favorites are the carbonara, which is freshly and authentically made with egg, Parmesan cheese, cream and pancetta, the alla norma with eggplant, tomato sauce, and ricotta salata, and the mac daddy Sicilian-style bolognese with meatballs. Along with food specials, enjoy $3.50 selected beers and $5 selected glasses of wine.
Dutch & Company Prix Fixe Menu
Available by table nightly
The three-course prix fixe menu at Dutch & Co. is one of the best ways to experience a multi-course menu in town. It’s $29 per person and available nightly by the table. Each guest gets to choose an appetizer, entrée and dessert. Sure, your entrée portion is a bit smaller, but you still end up with plenty of food. You can’t beat it for a delicious, chef-crafted dinner out.
Garnett’s Date Night
Get any two menu items and a bottle of wine for $30. Can’t beat it for dinner for two. Two of my menu picks are the Cobb Salad, which is rich with Gorgonzola and thick-cut bacon, and the Croque Garnett, which features ham, Gruyere, cheddar, apple, and sage mayo on Italian bread topped with Mornay sauce. The $30 will also leave a little money left to split one of the ridiculously indulgent homemade desserts.
Richmond Dining Deals and Drinking Deals By Day of the Week
Wine and Arepas at Kuba Kuba Dos
On Monday nights Kuba Kuba Dos offers select discounted bottles of wine for as low as $12. In addition, you can get two special arepas—delicious corn pockets stuffed with savory fillings—for $5. What more do you need? The wine specials are also available on Tuesdays, but go on Mondays when you get the arepas bonus!
Half Off Wine Night at Tarrant’s Cafe Downtown
All bottles of wine are half off at Tarrant’s downtown. With a competitively priced wine list to begin with, there are some really, really good deals to be had.
Steak Night at The Franklin Inn
Twelve dollars gets you an 8-ounce hand-cut sirloin steak, fries, and a side salad. Bring a friend, add a bottle of Kenwood Jack London Zinfandel for around $30 (or check out the rotating bourbon specials on Monday night) and you’ve got a pretty good date night for around $60.
$5 Bourbon and Burger Night at The Savory Grain
Choose from two to three selected bourbons and ryes for just $5 as well as a basic burger for five bucks. What more do you need in life?
Half Off Wine Night at Wine Loft
Stop by The Wine Loft on Tuesday nights for half off bottles of wine between $50 and $150. It’s a great opportunity to try something you might not normally splurge on.
Tapas Tuesday at The Caboose
Head up to Ashland for a night of wine and snacks at this cute cafe. On Tuesdays, buy two tapas and get your third one free.
Dollar Oyster Night at Metzger
Selected oysters $1 each every Tuesday.
Date Night at Nota Bene
For $50 choose a salad, two pizza/pasta dishes, one dessert, and a bottle of wine. A perfect and easy Italian dinner for two!
Dollar Oyster Night at The Savory Grain
One dollar Anderson’s Neck Oysters all night (raw or fried), plus happy hour drafts all night long. Love it!
Date Night at Metzger
Enjoy two appetizers, two entrées, a shared dessert and a carafe of house wine for $50. This is one of the best deals in town. Make reservations because it gets busy.
Burger Day at The Franklin Inn
Five dollars gets you a half-pound hand-pattied basic burger with lettuce, tomato and mayo from 11 a.m. through 10 p.m. Add your choice of toppings, cheeses, and sides for additional upcharges. On a recent visit, I was extremely impressed with the flavor of my burger—both the meat and the seasoning—and the fact that when I asked for it to be prepared “medium” it did, in fact, arrive perfectly cooked. My burger, with the addition of American cheese, bacon and steak fries ended up costing $9, and the well-balanced fruity Italian red blend I chose to accompany it was $7, making for a pretty solid $16 supper.
Half Off Wine at The Savory Grain
Half off all bottles of wine all afternoon and evening. This is my favorite during patio weather.