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.
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.
For Kombuchick Inc. owner Leslie Crews, the communal spirit that comes with brewing and sharing kombucha—a probiotic fermented tea—is integral to why she makes it a part of her lifestyle and business. And it's why she sells starter cultures for brewing it online at no profit. When Leslie started transitioning to a raw-food lifestyle, she became determined to brew her own kombucha. Soon enough, she found a starter culture from a woman on the Internet who brought Leslie into her home for a brewing demo—which was the first time Leslie realized the tea’s ability to create a communal spirit among its drinkers. Today, she hopes the healthful blends and brews that come from the recipes sold at her store continue to inspire the same sense of gratitude and generosity they spring from. At Leslie's Kombuchick Bar, fizzy tea brews flow from taps or sit tight in bottles in regular and seasonal flavors. Each is blended from organic and fair-trade herbs wherever possible by Leslie, who likens her skill with blending herbs to “someone who knows how to play the piano by ear.” A dry green tea-based Bangkok Blazin’ melds lemongrass, ginger, and galangal, and a popular winter brew mixes allspice, cloves, and snowman hearts for sips of warm comfort. Depending on the season, the bar also stocks fresh fruit juices to mix with the kombucha on draft. Even the loose-leaf teas sold in her shop are the same she uses at the bar, which she hopes further encourage kombucha brewing in the community alongside her regular three-session brewing classes.
Recently renovated and reopened under new management, Colley Cantina is looking well-rested and colorful as ever. With its return comes a beach-flavored menu that would fit easily between bouts of surfing the waves off of the coast of Baja, Mexico: conch and shrimp fritters, citrus-marinated mojo pork tacos, kogi short rib burritos stuffed with cabbage and sriracha sauce, bacon-wrapped island dogs dappled with mango, jalape?o, and baja sauce. An equally diverse roster of drinks?16 rotating beers and a lineup of specialty sangrias, mojitos, and margaritas?plays nice with the cantina's lively calendar of live music and comedy. Frequent open mics and open band jams give local entertainers a chance to discover the Lennon to their McCartney or find someone willing to be their ventriloquist dummy.
The Iguana might be one of Hampton Roads' newest gay bars, but it's already making quite a splash in the community. The hotspot is helmed by Patricia Harris, whose drink-slinging prowess earned her the title of 2014's Bartender of the Year by the Norfolk Tourism Research Foundation. Away from the bar, Iguana gives folks a slew of fun-enhancing options. The space includes a dance floor, indoor and outdoor bars, and a patio with pool tables, corn hole, and volleyball. They even overhaul brunch with Brunchbox, their popular Sunday drag show during which people nosh on shrimp omelets and banana pancakes while taking in a show by local queens such as Noelia Bella and Jasmine Devoux Spaulding. The rest of the week, folks can share small plates, custom pizzas, and telepathic conversations.