I get a lot of emails asking me for advice on the Richmond bar scene (and by a lot, I mean I've gotten 7 emails in the past two months. Not a record, but still...). Guys want my advice on what bars are good for picking up women and what bars really rock in Richmond. As a former on-premise liquor rep and now a bartender with an extreme case of Peter Pan Syndrome, I feel like I'm in a unique position to provide Richmond's single (and even relationship) guys with a list of great bars to find girls. These rankings are based solely on the success that I have had at the particular bar, such as numbers received, one night stands originated from, number of drunken in-bar makeouts, ratio of girls to guys and the overall atmosphere of the joint. Scores are based on a 5 out of 5 scale. Opinions and reader suggestions for bars are more than welcome in the comment section. I have to also point out that blogger Roosh V started this idea with his DCBARS for men post. WARNING: This is a long ass post...
Bars are listed from worst to best with my honorable mentions at the bottom:
10. SINE Irish Pub (Shockoe Slip): Sine barely made the list but it snuck in for a few reasons. The place is pretty vast and the shear number of people make it a good bar to approach a high number of girls . It also seems to be the spot for the Richmond "prep set" when they decide to go downtown for the night. This isn't a good thing, but it does make for a lot more slightly frumpy, flip flop wearing, heavy beer drankin women.
*1-1/2 LL Bean Catalogs out of 5.
9. Bar Louie (West End/ Short Pump): The new kid on the block so to speak. My list had comprised almost all downtown or fan bars, but I felt like the West End of the city deserved a shout out. If you haven't heard, "The Lou" is the new hunting ground for everyone from recent college grads to the wild cougar packs that have been known to prowl on the westside. Great drink prices and an always packed bar make for a competitive pick up scene. The crowd isn't always typical of that area of the city(rich, white), as it has also been known to include the crowd that the west end has tried for years to hide (poor, white trash, red neck). Nevertheless, give it a try if you're out at Short Pump. I've had some solid success here.
*2 Striped Polo shirts out of 5.
8. Tiki Bob's Cantina and Have a Nice Day Cafe (Tie) (Shockoe Bottom/ 18th St): Both bars get a bad rap for being 18 and up most nights and both bars have seen their share of fights and unsavory patrons, but this list is all about picking up women, nothing else. These are the bars/clubs you hit if you want to meet the easiest women. They're young and they will probably put out (if you put in a little bit of effort and not just stand there like I see every other guy doing.) My personal opinion is that both places are a lot of fun and both have great drink specials. Of course I'm poor and I like my women on the younger side, so that may explain me putting these bars at the number 8 spot. My opinion may also be a bit biased for reasons that will remain unsaid.
*2-1/2 College ID's out of 5.
7. Cha Chas Cantina (Shockoe Slip): For some reason, every since Dave Bess bought the place, every time I go in there it's fucking wall to wall slammed (even on a Tuesday or Wednesday night). Of course I was in DC for almost 2 years so this may have been the case for much longer. Cha Cha's is a solid pick up bar. Good music, a decent variety of people and races, and okay drink prices make it a great place to pop in or begin your night. If your patient, you will find hot girls here. The crowd tends to ebb and flow as people barhop up and down Cary St. I've had a few bar make out sessions here that should probably never be spoken about again (after this post).
*2-1/2 Cold Sores out of 5.
6. Tobacco Company (Shockoe Slip): Ahh the venerated Richmond landmark. Home to the weathered happy hour crowd and downstairs international club kids. Tobacco easily has the best Friday early evening scene with one dollar drinks, although it's best to get there early because the line gets pretty long. I wouldn't neccessarily hit the upstairs bar unless you're cougar hunting, as it does have it's occasional pack of wolves on the prowl. The downstairs "club" has a very international flavor and it seems to be a good spot to meet that Asian or Indian princess you've always pined for. The girl/guy ratio always seemed pretty good too. When I didn't bartend on Friday nights I usually would come here first and get loaded for cheap. I also remember seeing local NBC 12 newsman Curt Autry downstairs one night. My memory is foggy, but I remember he was with some hot chick and my buddies and I bought him a shot. He slammed the shot like it was water, then he looked us and gave us the biggest cheeseball wink. It was funny at the time, I think...
*2-1/2 Air Fresheners For When You Vomit All Over the Car out of 5.
5. Banditos(Fan, Museum District): A hang out for tatty'ed up fan regulars and recent college grads alike. Their Thursday night is usually pretty bumpin and the PBR always flows for cheap. For some reason I've pulled more than a few one night stands from here, but this is probably because I used to go there all the time, and I lived two blocks away. The crowd can get somewhat douche-tastic when they're slammed, but for the most part I've always enjoyed the eclectic mix of Fan people. Good place to show off those sick new dance moves you've been working on recently. After you're done drinking for the night, pop next door to the 7-11 for a burrito, tell Achbar I said "Hi."
* 3 Arm-Cuff Tattoos out of 5.
4. Metro Grill (Fan/ Robinson St.): I have mixed feelings on The Metro Grill. On one hand, my success rate there is pretty high. On the other hand I feel like I'm walking into a frat party everytime I step through the door. The place itself is really small (typical of the Robinson St. bars) which can make it awkward when you try hitting on every girl in the place. The girls are straight out of JMU and UVA, they wear North Face jackets and they basically are looking to get married within the next three to four weeks. It can make for an easy, albeit, regretful hook up. I have a friend who says it's a "small victory" everytime he goes out without stopping by Metro (which usually doesn't happen for him). On a funny note, this is the bar where local newscastor/arrogant dickhead Ric Young almost gave my friends and I the beatdown.
*3-1/2 Short Khaki Shorts, Croakie Rocking, Orange Hat Wearing Retards out of 5.
3. Lucky Buddha (Shockoe Slip): I've had immense success when it was named "Lucky Lounge" and ran solely by Rob Kaplan, so I wondered when I moved back from DC if I would still find Luckies to be as accommodating. The answer: Yes, it's basically the same exact place. A good mix of internationals and hot white chicks with a mininum number of Affliction t-shirt wearing assbags. Weekend nights are really really solid here. Also be sure to check out SIN night on Wednesdays for really cheap booze. Music is pretty sick too. PS: If you see a guy here walking around with a rediculously tall Russian girl sometime after midnight, say Hi to me.
*4 Heavily Poured Ketel One and Sodas out of 5.
2. delux (Fan/ Main St.): Another newcomer that has rapidly taken the title as the hippest spot in Richmond. The atmosphere alone here is reason to check it out. Great bar, great staff and an attractive crowd makes delux a good pick any night of the week. The girls and guys tend to be pseudo-hipster and can seemingly be too-cool for school at times, but you will meet some down to earth, fun girls here. The music here is on par with Lucky Buddha as the best in Richmond. A good mix of hip old school stuff and newer tracks. The ratio of girls to guys is decent, and although the bar isn't huge, fortune will favor the patient here. Take a seat at the upstairs bar, light a cigarette and wait... good things will come.
*4-1/2 Awesome Al Green Songs That Put You In A Great Mood out of 5.
1. Europa (Shockoe Slip): Now remember, this list is based solely on my personal successes at these bars. I will say this in fear that I may be giving away a secret, but Europa is a great bar for meeting women. The upstairs bar is chill and on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights is usually filled with a nice group of 24-30 year old, stylish, pretty girls. But my absolute favorite part of Europa is actually the basement bar (or what I lovingly refer to as the "Coke Den", the reasons for this don't concern you.) It's dark and it's smoky and the atmosphere is like nothing you will see in Richmond. Take a date here, or come alone... It won't let you down. I don't want to admit this, but lets just say that I, ummm, do "well" there.
*5 Drunken Bar Gropefests out of 5
Honorable Mentions: I know that there are a few omissions and I hope my readers will point them out in the comment section. Here are some bars that almost made my list:
Star-lite Lounge, Element Lounge, NY Deli, Bailey's Pub (South or West End), Hometeam Grill (haha, just kidding), Buddys, Richbrau, Kobe Japanese Steakhouse (I've had some weird luck here.), Stool Pigeons(although the word is that place has gone to shit). Havana 59'.