Jerry Bailey began homebrewing with friends in 1989, hopeful that the craft would bring fulfillment that his 9-to-5 failed to provide. Fulfillment it brought, along with numerous batches of tasty brew. Bailey couldn’t keep his inventions to himself; he quickly decided to open his own brewhouse as well as distribute his goods to other local establishments.
Today, Bailey proudly stands at the helm of both Old Dominion Brewhouse and Old Dominion Brewing Company. In the pub, chefs add variety to liquid meals with food such as burgers, crab cakes, and thin-crust pizzas while 30 flat-screen televisions keep patrons entertained with sports. The chefs also exhibit flair for Asian cuisine, slicing and rolling sushi and offering create-your-own mongolian stir-fries. At the bar, eight handles remain perpetually reserved for Old Dominion's craft beers, such as the award-winning Baltic porter and the Oak Barrel stout, which is loaded with flavors of vanilla and the color brown.
An evening at Tokyo Japanese Steak House generally includes dinner and a show, but it’s not live music or dancing, and each group of diners gets their own performance. Guests sit down at U-shaped tables built around grills, where chefs theatrically slice, toss, and sizzle teppanyaki dishes. Guests can choose a single protein or a combination—including filet mignon and shrimp—which are seared amid plumes of steam and fire before their very eyes. More mellow meals take place at the sushi and noodle bar, where patrons look on as chefs meticulously build smoked salmon nigiri and Japanese lasagna, a baked California roll with secret sauce. The dishes pair perfectly with their slew of Asian-inspired drinks. In addition to pouring sake and Sapporo, the bartenders mix specialty cocktails, such as the Tokyo sunrise with tequila, plum wine, and pineapple juice.
Grape and Grain tours bestow imbibers with a whirlwind six hours to sip and savor a kaleidoscope of diverse beverages. A chauffeur from Prime Transportation begins the day by whisking patrons to a brewery, distillery, and winery, each of which grants samples of their unique brews and vintages while instilling educational tidbits about their creation. At the Mediterranean-style Potomac Point Winery, patrons explore the wine cave and tour the cellar, dining on a bistro lunch and stopping at the olive oil bar to tend jaws creaky from chewing. At Blue and Gray Brewing Company, samples of seasonal beers emerge straight from the tanks to wash down a complimentary dessert, and the tour of family-owned A. Smith Bowman Distillery—a Fredericksburg mainstay since 1934—imparts tricks of the brewing trade that toe the line between tradition and innovation. Discounts on return visits and gift-shop merchandise urge tours to return, and patrons depart with souvenir glasses from each venue that will always remind them not to drink out of the brewer's tank.
Some men are wedded to whiskey; others will swear by a well-crafted gin cocktail. For Red Rocks Cafe & Tequila Bar owner Robert Evans, however, it’s all about tequila. The agave aficionado keeps his watering hole packed with more than 100 different varieties of tequila, from go-tos such as Jose Cuervo Gold to top-shelf varieties such as Herradura Seleccion Suprema. His bartenders blend these tequilas into a variety of specialty margaritas, including the restaurant’s popular Jimmy Buffett—a sweet mix of coconut, orange juice, and lime.
As bartenders dole out red salt-rimmed glasses of tequila and pints of draft beers, chefs are equally hard at work in the kitchen. They fold fresh seafood, meats, and vegetables into a variety of imaginative Tex-Mex dishes, packing fajitas with barbecue pulled pork, topping tacos in chipotle-infused sour cream, and dousing chicken wings in a serrano chile pepper sauce.
After meals, diners can stick around to play card games and Golden Tee.
Food and wine make for a great tag-team duo, assuaging stress while filling the belly with scrumptious sustenance. At GRAPE + BEAN, patrons can sample wines, small plates, and large plates to satisfy the pickiest of sippers and tasters. A knowledgeable staff helps customers pick out palate-soothing drinks and eats amid an inviting atmosphere that features original brick walls, exposed beams, and rustic wood finishes. Sample tasty bites off the lunch, brunch, or dinner menus, which offer selections such as the rosemary ham with melted aged gruyere ($11), truffled egg toast ($12.50), and duck confit with white-bean casserole ($22). Or, opt for smaller plates, such as artichoke with pecorino, fresh mint, and basil ($9) and organic heirloom tomato with serrano ham ($9).
Rick’s Wine and Gourmet is a locally owned neighborhood shop stocked with fine cheeses, charcuterie, olive oils, pastas, and more. Though this Groupon can only be used toward gourmet foods, shoppers can still grab Zen Wine cookies ($7.99), an all-natural snack specially crafted to pair with certain wines. The Stonewall Kitchen Wild Maine blueberry jam ($6.99) allows breakfast eaters to brighten boring pieces of wheat toast without having to burn the Treaty of Versailles into them. Rick’s also stocks more than 50 artisanal cheeses, such as sharp Maytag Blue cheese ($14.99), an ideal complement for snacking on porchetta Italian herb-roasted pork loin ($19.99 per pound).