Barrel Thief satisfies taste buds with a menu dominated by upscale salads and sandwiches that also includes a few heartier entree suggestions. In the arugula salad ($8), salty prosciutto and pickled strawberries lie on a bed of spicy greens, and nine bruschetta options ($5–$10)—including roasted garlic and white bean—are great for distracting most of the destructive hands of the goddess Kali. Fare from the briny deep includes the crab sandwich ($12)—shellfish drizzled in pimento aioli escorted by grilled green tomatoes—and grilled yellowfin tuna ($18). For dessert, tempt teeth with a sweet sonata composed of mixed berries and fresh cream ($6) whipped by Beethoven's ghost.
Amid the hum of live entertainment and sleek leather couches, classic American and continental dishes doused in dressings such as spicy garlic, key-lime barbecue, and sweet teriyaki sauce or cucumber-dill aioli convene with more than 85 martinis, beer, and wine. The drinks clink beneath strings of colorful lights, rustic barrel arches, and six 48-inch plasma TVs glimmering with sports games. Six nights a week, guests can raise their glasses to live entertainment ranging from local musicians to line-dancing lessons, all of which offer them a reprieve from lackluster evenings of playing checkers against their goldfish.
One of the Science Museum of Virginia’s current exhibits includes a few basketball players—just don’t expect LeBron James or Kobe Bryant. These basketball players are two rats, playing a live one-on-one game to demonstrate operant and classical conditioning. Throughout the three-story museum, more hands-on examples of science await at five permanent exhibits. Inspect a rock from the moon, explore a life-size space capsule, and generate energy by pedaling a stationary bike. Kids can even build their own playground with materials such as mats and foam blocks.
Inside the IMAX Dome, a screen 10 times the size of a typical 35 mm screen shows a wide range of educational films. Outside the museum, plants in the BayScapes Garden thrive without pesticide, fertilizer, or the encouragement of a motivational speaker, and an onsite greenhouse offers free planting areas for visitors to contribute greenery and learn about sustainable farming.
With candles illuminating its rustic wooden furnishings and duck confit garnishing its pizzas, The Bellytimber Tavern strikes a satisfying balance between modern refinement and classic pub comforts. To complement a selection of draft brews as well as a full slate of harder options, the food menu incorporates all the bar standards, including small plates of fried chicken wings and bowls of Richmond red chili with housemade bread. However, even the staples come with an elegant twist: The wings are made with all-natural chicken, and the pizzas, which are fired in a brick oven, feature unusual toppings such as broccolini, caramelized bacon, and vegan cheese, if desired. As patrons slurp up the foamy heads of Guinness or toss back pints filled with a rotating selection of craft beers, they can rest their eyes on flat-screen TVs or sling their contact lenses at artwork by emerging artists hanging on the walls. Beneath the bar’s vintage-style copper ceilings, special events range from live music and DJ sets to VCU Rams game-day parties.
The sound of clinking pint glasses floats down from Mulligans Sports Grille's rooftop deck, spilling into the downtown street populated with charming shops and restaurants. Up on the deck, rustic wooden floorboards catch the ice-cold speckles of draft beer as bartenders dole out drinks from a shaded bar replete with numerous TVs. Servers, meanwhile, make their way up from the kitchen, decorating the forest-green tabletops with hearty sandwiches, giant wings, and other classic pub entrees. Inside the pub, guests can compete in games of ping-pong and pool. In addition to watching or loudly deriding the latest sports games or championship on 60 televisions, patrons can attend one of the bar's special events throughout the week, including $100-prize Texas hold 'em on Wednesday nights, team trivia on Tuesday nights, and Saturday-night corn-hole tournaments.