Bars in Portsmouth

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Though flavorful Italian cuisine is at the core of Cogan's Pizza, taste buds aren’t the only sensory receptors that perk up when visiting the vibrant eatery. The interior provides a visual feast with huge chandeliers casting subtle twinkles across pressed-tin ceilings and walls covered with posters and music memorabilia. The music motif also engages ears and vocal cords with regular live performances and karaoke.

At the bar, more than 30 beers flow from a lineup of seasonally rotating taps, each carbonated with the perfect number of bubbles to wash down cheesy and meaty pies. For patrons who adhere to a more plant-based diet, the cooks can also top crusts with faux meats, soy cheese, or an evil aunt’s favorite orchid. Pasta dishes, hot sandwiches, and subs stacked with roasted chicken, italian sausage, or roast beef round out the menu.

1901 Colonial Ave
Norfolk,
VA
US

The rollicking sounds of blues artists headlining the two stages of the restaurant’s performance venue filter through this barbecue hot spot. It features spice-rubbed meats served up with a selection of homestyle sides. The menu centers on hickory-smoked beef, seasoned and smoked pork, and rubbed and grilled chicken and ribs that are steeped in spices, like Marco Polo’s scrapbook. The restaurant outfits tables with a selection of spicy, savory, and slightly sweet sauces, allowing patrons to customize heat levels on entrees or provide a flavorful accompaniment to fried pickles, baskets of corn bread, or Mojo pit beans.

9659 1st View St
Norfolk,
VA
US

Resting in the shadow of the Grand Wayne Convention Center, Thirsty Camel features more than a handful of beers on tap and more than a dozen imported and premium bottled beers. The restaurant's suds selection makes for a model accomplice to its food spread, which includes such shareable munchies, such as buffalo-style wings and onion petals served with an onion-petal sauce. After warming up with some appetizers, diners can tackle homemade hamburgers and 16-ounce T-bone steaks—all while nodding to the beats of a live DJ on Friday and Saturday nights.

394 W Ocean View Ave
Norfolk,
VA
US

Neatly packaged in a converted Victorian house, Press626 offsets its shell of Dickensian charm with a cream filling of locally sourced noshables. A small yet diverse menu perks up even the most jaded palates with appetizers such as rosemary sun-dried tomato shrimp ($11.95) and baked chèvre goat cheese ($10.50) before insulating stomachs against stray cannonballs with duck confit in a tart-cherry-cabernet reduction ($19.95) or pumpkin risotto ($13.95 vegetarian, $17.95 shrimp). Those who prefer their meals bookended by bread will gravitate toward the monster steak sandwich, accented with caramelized onions, pepper-jack cheese, cilantro, and chipotle aioli on sourdough ($8.95). For dessert, relive childhood without the early bedtime and constant bogeyman ambushes when you order homemade jumbo cupcakes served with a glass of chilled milk ($5.99).

626 W Olney Rd
Norfolk,
VA
US

Baxter's Sports Lounge is an expansive destination for those looking to nosh a menu of eclectic eats while keeping up with their favorite teams. Light snackers can delight in several small plate options such as the bruschetta ($7) and Mediterranean steak sliders ($10), and burgers ($8–$9) and sandwiches ($8.50–$11) stuff more substantial stomachs and under-the-table duffel bags. A smattering of entrees consists of assorted comfort food favorites with tasty twists, so guests can dine on pescetarian crab and shrimp infused mac-n-cheese ($16) or ignite their taste buds with firecracker crabcakes ($17), which make a satisfying "pop" when hurled in the yards of cantankerous neighbors. Though also valid for carryout, today's deal nets loungey diners a lively locale for slaking hunger pangs and imbibing an array of adult beverages, from draft beers to cocktails.

500 Granby St
Norfolk,
VA
US

Although it now has more than 430 locations in 28 countries, Hooters wasn’t always welcomed by the public. In fact, when it opened in October 1983 in Clearwater, Florida, the founders of the restaurant were “quickly detained for impersonating restaurateurs,” according to the company's website. But the restaurant was able to prove it was more than just a pretty face—that it was serious about serving tasty American food and frosty brews—and its popularity exploded in the decades to follow.

Amid its beach-themed vibe and flat-screen TVs, Hooters still fuels appetites with original chicken wings, burgers, sandwiches, and fresh salads. Of course, nobody carries those casual eats and icy pitchers better than the Hooters girls. To complement their friendly smiles, their uniforms harken back to the ones the original waitresses wore in 1983: orange hot shorts and white tank tops with the emblematic owl on the front—though that owl has lost its Lionel Richie perm.

1160 N Military Hwy
Norfolk,
VA
US