Richmond, VA is known for its vibrant history, outdoor activities and incredible food and craft beer scene. But the cocktail bars in Richmond are a big part of that scene too.
From classic cocktails to innovative new drinks, the cocktail bars in Richmond offer thirsty patrons a great experience, if you know where to go. Having lived in Richmond most of my life, I’m proud to see the alcohol scene flourishing here and have been impressed with the bars below.
Short on time? Here are the key takeaways:
- All bars will have a food option as required by VA law
- Most of the cocktail bars in Richmond will be open late night
- In our opinion, don’t miss Grandstaff & Stein and The Jasper
Boozing Abroad contains affiliate links throughout the site. If you choose to purchase items through these links, we will earn a small commission at NO extra cost to you. Read the full disclosure policy here**
Alcohol Laws in Virginia
We’ll be brief and try not to throw too much judgment about the laws, but…. they are antiquated in our humble opinion.
In Virginia, for an establishment to sell alcohol under a mixed beverage license (not a brewery or distillery), 45% of their overall sales needs to be non-alcoholic (i.e. food, coffee, soda, etc).
In short, unless you are physically making the alcohol, you have to sell food. Great for us as patrons who get the munchies when they drink, but also frustrating as we can’t have a true cocktail bar in Richmond that doesn’t serve food.
In addition, state law prohibits the discount of alcohol (aka happy hours) from 9 PM – 2 AM. Not the biggest deal, but you’ll see that any discounted drinks will end at 9 PM.
Map of Cocktail Bars in Richmond
HOW TO USE THIS MAP: To view the layers and see the names of the places on this map, click the tab in the top left corner. You can select the check marks to show or hide certain layers. If you select the icons on the map, you will get more information about the point of interest.
HOW TO SAVE THIS MAP: If you select the star icon next to the map name, you can save this map to your Google Maps account. To view it, open Google Maps in desktop or on your phone, select the menu button, go to “Your Places,” scroll to the right to Maps, and you will see this map.
Best Cocktail Bars in RVA
1. The Jasper
- Hours: Daily 5PM – 12AM
- Friday-Saturday: 5PM – 2AM
- Happy Hour: 5PM – 7PM
- Reservations Required: First-come, first-serve
In 2018, The Jasper emerged in Richmond’s Carytown neighborhood, presenting itself as a versatile cocktail bar with a speakeasy-style ambiance and an imaginative selection of drinks.
As one of the top cocktail bars in Richmond, The Jasper stands out as a laid-back sanctuary for cocktail enthusiasts, marking a significant transformation in the city’s drinking culture.
Named after Jasper Crouch, a 19th-century bartender and caterer in Richmond, the establishment pays homage to its historical roots. Crouch, a freed Black slave, was renowned as the top drink maker for Chief Justice John Marshall’s Quoit Club, a summer social gathering.
With a commitment to “full pours and fair prices,” they distinguish themselves by seamlessly blending creativity and expertise, making high-level cocktail experiences accessible to everyone. As a result, they are delivering exceptional cocktails.
2. Grandstaff & Stein
- Hours: Daily from 4PM – 12AM
- Happy Hour: No
- Reservations Required: No
Psst! Ready for a juicy tidbit? Well, we’ve got the inside scoop on a fantastic hidden cocktail bar in Richmond. Nestled downtown, Grandstaff & Stein is a hidden gem that is no ordinary bar & restaurant – it’s a bona fide speakeasy!
Even if you’ve been a Richmond resident forever, chances are you’re oblivious to the existence of Grandstaff & Stein. You won’t stumble upon it accidentally; it’s the kind of place you need to seek out intentionally.
Don’t be fooled by the unassuming exterior – there’s nothing about the building or its entrance that screams “cocktail bar”. In fact, the entrance to this hidden gem is cleverly disguised as a bookcase. How’s that for a dash of intrigue?
In our opinion, it isn’t a true speakeasy unless you have a password and Grandstaff & Stein doesn’t disappoint. If you’re armed with the secret password (check their website here), you’ve got a golden ticket to enter this fantastic cocktail bar. All their passwords pay homage to the Prohibition time period.
When we visited, Sam ordered The Duke, a twist on a bourbon sour with the twist being, get ready for this…Duke’s mayonnaise. Gross, right? Nope, it was absolutely delicious. Chris enjoyed the Tobacco Row, a smoked Catoctin Creek Rye (regional whiskey), Brandy, chicory, simple and bitters.
Both drinks were seriously amazing which is why they are #2 on our list for best cocktail bars in Richmond.
In addition to killer cocktails, they offer a variety of spirit flights including a local Virginia Rye flight, Rum, Tequila, Gin, Amaro and more.
If you are hungry, they offer fine dining options as well as elevated appetizers such as baked brie, arancini and duck drumettes.
3. The Roosevelt
- Monday – Saturday: 5PM – 10PM
- Sunday: 5PM – 9PM
- Happy Hour: No
- Reservations Required: No, but recommended
Nestled in Richmond’s oldest neighborhood, Church Hill, The Roosevelt serves up a one-of-a-kind take on Southern cuisine, accompanied by a dazzling array of wines, local beers, and cocktails that’ll make your taste buds dance.
Since its grand debut in July 2011, the restaurant has become the embodiment of Southern charm, welcoming guests with open arms and serving up cocktails that are nothing short of liquid magic.
When we visited, we were with friends and came for a nightcap so we were lucky to grab 4 seats at the quaint bar. We each ordered something different and all 4 of us were so blown away by the drinks we all sampled each others’ drinks.
Sam got the House Penicillin, a classic cocktail, but their take on it included a house-made honey ginger lemon sherbert syrup. Needless to say, it was delectable. Chris ordered the My Full Name is Richard, which was a well-balanced whiskey-based concoction that left you feeling warm and cozy.
The Roosevelt has been collecting awards like souvenirs from a fantastic journey. Style Magazine crowned it Restaurant of the Year in 2012, and Richmond Magazine dubbed it the Best New Restaurant in the Region.
Even as The Roosevelt has toasted to and blown past its 10-year milestone, it remains a force to be reckoned with on the national culinary scene. Thrillist hails it as one of “The 13 Best Restaurants in the South,” and Esquire gives it a nod as one of the “Best Bars in America.”
Given the limited seating options, we highly recommend having a reservation for dinner or be prepared to wait.
4. The Emerald Lounge
- Hours: Daily 5PM – Close
- Happy Hour: Yes, 5PM – 7PM Daily
- Reservations Required: No, they don’t take reservations
Meet The Emerald Lounge, Church Hill’s freshest cocktail retreat brought to life by the brilliant minds from The Jasper.
Tucked in the delightful Church Hill neighborhood, this tropical sanctuary is now serving up a delightful blend of rum, agave, and brandy-infused wonders inspired by the lively vibes of the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
Step into a modern twist on a tropical paradise, drawing inspiration from the legendary cocktails bars of 1920s Cuba and the easygoing ambiance of 1970s – think laid-back, stylish, and mid-century modern vibes, with roomy booths beckoning you to get cozy. The bar offers an impressive array of rums, brandies, and agave spirits, accompanied by a burst of fruity juices to tickle your taste buds.
But what’s a tropical getaway without scrumptious bites?
The Emerald Lounge presents a menu of casual small plates and munchies, perfectly paired with your preferred libations, following in the footsteps of its sibling, The Jasper. We ordered the Togarashi Popcorn, Shrimp Ceviche, and Spam Cubano Sliders for the table to split. Not going to lie, I haven’t had Spam since I was a child and I was seriously shocked at how good they were.
We were there right when they opened at 5 to get a big booth in the back to take advantage of their happy hour. Their prices for cocktails start at $6 which is a steal and they were absolutely divine!
Like most establishments in Church Hill that are renovated-turn-of-the-century-homes-now-bars, seating is limited. They don’t accept reservations either so be prepared to wait.
5. Black Lodge
- Tuesday – Thursday: 5PM – 12AM
- Friday – Saturday: 5PM – 2AM
- Sunday & Monday: Closed
- Happy Hour: Daily 5PM – 7PM
- Reservations Required: No
Black Lodge is an unassuming spot to grab some unique craft cocktails in Richmond. Tucked into the boozy Scott’s Addition neighborhood, Black Lodge is located next to its upscale, sister restaurant Brenner Pass.
The space itself is dark yet cozy, but offers limited seating if you are with a large group. With only a handful of tables in the back, be prepared to grab a drink at the packed bar and stand.
We got a few rounds of cocktails when we visited and were impressed with the creative concoctions and presentation.
Sam went with a classic-style vodka gimlet to start, but on round 2 tried their “Dressed Up Pony” which is whiskey, ginger and lemon served in a Miller High Life Pony glass with the beer in 2 shot glasses.
If you start to get hungry, they have a unique food offering from caviar to hotdogs to veggie plates. They also offer the Tower of Power. For a low cost of $110, you get two tiers of hot dogs, wings, patty melts and fries. This is a solid choice if you are with a larger crew. Their kitchen is open until 9PM and then food options become limited.
Richmond’s cocktail scene offers a diverse array of experiences, from hidden speakeasies to bustling neighborhood bars. Whether you’re a seasoned cocktail connoisseur or just dipping your toes into the world of mixology, there’s something for everyone to sip and savor in this vibrant city.
With each establishment boasting its own unique ambiance, expertly crafted drinks, and warm hospitality, exploring the cocktail bars in Richmond is not just about enjoying a libation—it’s about immersing yourself in the rich tapestry of flavors, history, and community that defines this dynamic Southern city.
Looking for more Richmond guides? We’ve got a BUNCH. Check out the most popular ones below:
- Ultimate Guide to Richmond Distilleries
- Scott’s Addition Breweries Guide
- A Local’s Guide for fun things to do in Richmond, VA
- Top 6 Rooftop Bars in Richmond VA to catch a view
Ready to visit to Richmond? Read hotel reviews and book your room here!
But where do we personally recommend? The Graduate Hotel is our hands-down favorite boutique hotel in the city. Their roof top bar has epic views too!
Don’t forget to pick up a Richmond guidebook for your other Richmond adventures.