Richmond, the capital of Virginia, is best known as the place where Patrick Henry famously said, “Give me liberty or give me death,” and since then, Richmond has been taking all sorts of liberties when it comes to having fun. It seems that the city that was once known as ground zero for the Confederate party is now ground zero for the wild party.
As more and more nightlife destinations pop up in Richmond, Richmond is quickly becoming one of the hippest towns for getting down, and if you’re heading down there, you need to be in the know. Here is some of what the locals have to say about rollin’ in the River City of Richmond after dark.
Perhaps if you are familiar with the band Gwar, and know them as the interplanetary science fiction heavy metal warriors whose stage show often incorporates large amounts of fake blood, graphic violence, and human meat grinders, you may be wondering why they never started a restaurant. Well, wonder no more.
Masterminded by Gwar singer Oderus Urungus as a homage to his hometown of Richmond, Virginia, the Gwarbar is the culinary legacy of the great band known for their growling vocals, screaming guitars, and politically incorrect song lyrics, but get this…the Gwarbar has vegetarian options as well. Chef Balsac the Jaws O’ Death highly recommends the Hail Seitan, followed by the Gwarbar Twinkies (2 Twinkies, 1 yellow cake, one red velvet, deep-fried and topped with maple whip cream and a berry coulis), and of course, there’s plenty of drinks to wash it all down with.
2. Babe’s of Carytown
Looking for a diva dive? Babe’s of Carytown is the best lesbian and gay bar in Richmond, hands down. If you’re looking for a place where girls can be boys can be girls can be boys, and everyone in between is welcome, Babes is all about cheap drinks, jello shots, and dollar PBRs, and don’t worry if your silver thongs are in the laundry, you’re just as welcome here whether you’re feeling more like Guy or Miss Guy, and that goes no matter what it says on your driver’s license. Also, make sure to take advantage of the fine Southern fair and Mimosa carafes and kick back on the deck for some X-rated volleyball. FYI: The Glitz Girls show starts at 9:30.
3. Wonderland RVA
When Alice said, “Things are getting curiouser and curiouser,” she may have taken a detour into the Wonderland Bar. While the decor at the Wonderland is enough eye candy for any Mad Hatter, the main attraction here is Chad, the owner and mutton-chopped giant who can be found behind the bar serving up the PBR’s to his devoted customers. It’s not out of the ordinary to find some RVA Roller Derby girls rolling down the rabbit hole, along with members of the Richmond Lucha Libre pro- wrestling scene, horror movie buffs, hockey fans, and the weekly dart league, which in a place like this, might just be out for blood. Once you get past the dead baby dolls hanging from nooses, you’ll feel right at home, so stop in; there’s frequently live music on the weekends, so get ready to rock.
4. Strange Matter
What is this strange matter of which we speak? Does it refer to the food? the bands? the people? or all of the above? You be the judge. Strange Matter is the Richmond Bar with the Death metal lineup, cheap drinks, and a vegan/carnivore-friendly menu that might literally be to die for. Want to chow down during mosh pit recess? Try the Revenge, voted PETA’s best vegan grilled cheese sandwich. The secret is in the schmear of the Strange Matter otherwise known as the house made vegannaise between the double-decker grilled cheese sandwich, free bike delivery available, tip required. And while you are in the funhouse, might as well check out the Strange Matter Arcade, billed to be Richmond’s best.
5. Sticky Rice
There may be nothing artsier than well-made sushi, and that may be why Sticky Rice is such a hit with the hipsters in Richmond, Virginia. At Sticky Rice, every night of the week gets more intense. It all starts on karaoke Tuesdays when you can loosen up your vocal chords and build up your courage with the Sticky Rice beer and drink specials. If you can still show your face on “Warfare” Wednesday, you’ll find Madman Mike serving up the drinks and playing some of the whackiest videos, with a running commentary by Andrew and Zach. Blingo is a Sticky Rice Thursday night staple of high-paced Bingo meets Truth or Dare, and if you survive all that, come for the Friday and Saturday “Dance It” nights and dance the night away on top of the sushi bar.
6. Argeleny Hookah Lounge
A bit reminiscent of a storefront weed shop, the Argeleny Hookah lounge may look at first to be more of a diner than a place to vape, but once you get to the back counter, the goods are revealed. The menu at the Argeleny consists of reasonably priced tobacco and vape flavors along with some pizzas, gyros, and a few beverages. The hookah comes with full service, delivered to your table, coals lit, and employees stopping by at regular intervals to make sure the smoke is still smokin’ and you are still tokin’, and you can always try the Turkish Coffee for a different kind of high.
Updated: July 4, 2018