Simply Ballroom’s resident instructors utilize their experience navigating dance floors to bolster students’ body movements in drop-in group classes and private lessons for all ages and skill levels. Students can initiate a new dance career or refine familiar steps alongside like-footed individuals through focused tutelage in Viennese waltz, West Coast swing, foxtrot, and a mélange of Latin styles. During group lessons, students grasp their favorite partner or nimblest coat rack to glean the basic step counts and intricate maneuvers of the chosen discipline as instructors provide helpful correction and encouragement. On Sundays, practice parties lend ballroom pupils the chance to showcase newly learned steps in a public setting while enjoying the camaraderie of other students, outside dancers, and overzealous Broadway casts escaping public-disturbance charges.
It's difficult to top the sheer creativity of the food menu at Midlo's Bite, which features everything from homemade donuts in a lemon glaze to burgers stacked with classic pizza toppings. Still, the drink list proves up to the challenge. The bar's staff is renowned for creating specialty cocktails that toe the line between dinner and dessert. Most are topped off with a creamy scoop of ice cream, and some rely heavily on liquors infused with the candies of childhood. It's easy to forget that you're actually the age listed on your driver's license when you're digging into a brownie topped with a minty shot of Rumplemintz or finger-painting with the brown foam of a Guinness float.
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.
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.