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.
At ComedySportz Improv Theatre, audience suggestions keep a family-friendly and fast-paced vortex of scenes, games, and songs spinning in competitive shows that pit two improv teams against each other. Inside the intimate, 100-seat theater, spontaneity rules as a referee moderates the all-ages-appropriate hilarity pitched between the Richmond Legends and Virginia Hams. At the end of each comedic duel, the audience votes for the winning team, sentencing the losers to feed the doves that live inside the winners' top hats. ComedySportz's laugh-masters also host regular workshops to teach aspiring yuksters the art of improvised hilarity and the essential virtues of spontaneity, risk taking, and engagement with the moment. Through scene work, ComedySportz games, and short- and long-form improv, students learn to keep audiences roaring in order to jump-start a career or become a more affable bank robber.
At Dance Masters Studios, Rock Foster and his skilled staff have an almost encyclopedic knowledge of more than 25 dance styles. Since 1987, they have specialized in the familiar, such as the tango and waltz, as well as more obscure styles such as shag swing dancing and bolero dancing. They work at each student?s individual pace, combining private lessons with group lessons and social dance parties to ensure each person finds their footwork.
Daily Grind Short Pump welcomes visitors with a menu sporting coffee brewed from locally roasted beans, cool specialty drinks, and an edible plethora of coffeehouse fare. Satisfy hungry eyes along with bellies while taking in walls decked in local art and savoring the coconut, chocolate, and macadamia flavors in a CocoMocha ($3.30–$3.95) or a cup of the daily joe ($1.55–$1.90). The scent of the coffee house’s locally roasted beans wafts through the air as patrons kick back with a buttery croissant ($1.85), and flatbread breakfast sandwiches stuffed with egg and cheese ($3.85) launch successful mornings with protein-packed oars. Put noontime hunger to sleep with a sandwich filled with marinated chicken spooning pesto mayo ($6.95), or douse overheated taste buds with a refreshing pomegranate italian soda ($1.75–$2.75).
In 2011, readers of Richmond magazine voted Rigby's Jig Dance Studio the Best Place to Learn How to Dance for Your Wedding, citing instructors that will help choose music and can choreograph routines to classic torch songs and pop tunes. With a lifetime's worth of experience—starting at the age of 3 and including a bachelor's in Theater and Dance from George Washington University—owner Eleanor Robertson heads an enthusiastic faculty.
Robertson’s favorite dances include West Coast swing and the cha-cha, both of which are among the 19 ballroom dances taught to any adult within the bright confines of the citrus-colored studio. Argentine tango milongas and dance parties take over in the evenings, allowing students to try out new steps with members of the broader dance community. The spacious studio seats 100 across its gleaming hardwood floors, and rows of mirrors enable those in movement classes⎯yoga and cardio dance are also on the schedule⎯to work on the balance and alignment of their vestigial tails.
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.