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.
Godfrey's signature "dinner and a show" involves a bit more glitter and makeup than the usual dinner theatre. That's because the show eschews the standard piano crooners for costumed drag queens who sing and groove to disco, house, and pop hits. During these vibrant weekend acts, guests can whoop it up while enjoying top-shelf liquors and an eclectic lineup of international dishes that run the gamut from spring rolls to baked spaghetti. The fun even extends to weekend mornings, when the performers strut their stuff during a brunch that pairs pulsing music with banana-stuffed french toast, quiche, and feather boas made entirely out of bacon. All the while, ornate lamps twinkle against mirrors and red walls, adding to the fun, theatrical ambiance.
Built in Richmond's first high-rise apartment building and named for the artesian well that once provide water to its tenants, The Well carries on the edifice's history of welcoming visitors. The restaurant, owned and run by the same family that owned Cous Cous, exudes a comfortable retro feel, with recycled wooden doors supporting the bar and an old jukebox in the corner. The food, however, is not stuck in the past: the menu consists of classic dishes imbued with inventive twists, like shrimp po boy sandwiches with soubise and spiced aioli, and roasted beet sliders topped with fried pickles. Specialty drinks are named for staff members' canine friends, meaning patrons don't actually have to swallow hair from their own dogs.
Homestyle comfort foods on the Babe's of Carytown menu tackle cravings and complement plenty of brews and shots. But as satisfying as the meatloaf, taco specials, burgers, and omelets are, Babe's may be even better known for its entertainment and events. Weekly drag shows showcase female impersonators, and sometimes male impersonators, whose dramatic wigs and oversized glamour regularly dominate the stage. That same stage hoists laypeople to stardom, too, with Wednesday night karaoke, while concert nights feature bands like Tonic Jane. While drag, rock, spotlights, and comfort food draw audiences indoors, it's the sand-covered patio, replete with palm-roofed gazebos and a staff of aproned dolphins, that extends the fun beyond Babe's doors.
In 2009, The New York Times named The Camel Richmond's "premier venue" for "up-and-coming Southern rock and bluegrass bands, acoustic singer-songwriters, and jazz and funk musicians." So far, nothing's changed: The Camel still hosts local and nationally touring acts such as Ben Kweller and James McCartney, who, unlike his father, has never toured with a band named after icky bugs. But even though it's lauded for providing live music seven nights a week, The Camel makes a space for all art, including occasional film screenings.
Like its entertainment lineup, The Camel's cuisine is an eclectic mix of American flavors. The culinary team, lead by executive chef Xavier Beverly, whips up gourmet vegan risottos, grills fresh seafood, and tops flatbreads with spinach, mushrooms, and hummus. But they also keep things casual with finger foods such as the popular sausage stars and housemade beef burgers crowned with horseradish mayo. Served until 2 a.m. nightly, each dish can be paired with local or craft beers, which fill the 28 taps lining The Camel's exposed brick wall.
The Camel is open for lunch Monday through Saturday, and brunch on Sunday.
Most Americans won’t get the chance to see Cuba, but they can experience the culture and flavor with Kenn-Tico Cuban Bar & Grill’s cuisine. In a dining room decorated with panoramic shots of Havana Harbor or out on the new patio with skylights, a fountain, and 8-foot windows, plates are filled with traditional grub such as a sandwich of sliced pork, ham, swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard on grilled cuban bread. Other classics include salmon topped with mango sauce, ropa vieja—shredded beef served up with onions, garlic, and peppers—and yucca sliced and fried until it looks like french fries back from a Caribbean vacation. Accompanying these dishes are homemade fruit milk shakes, freshly squeezed lemonade and limeade, and soft drinks such as Ironbeer and Materva. Knowing that their clients don’t always have time to stop in for their favorite dish, Kenn-Tico's chefs load up a cart with wraps and beverages to offer quick lunches downtown during the workweek.