Nightlife in Portsmouth

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Owner Jessica Jones-Healey founded Tidewater Studios for the Arts Inc. in 2009 as a noncompetitive forum for kids to practice performing and visual arts. Winner of a 2011 Virginian-Pilot Reader's Choice Award for Best Dance Studio and Best Performing Arts Academy in Portsmouth, Western Branch, Churchland, and North Suffolk, the facility inspires children with engaging explorations into the joys of hand-made art, hand-played music, and hands-free dance.

3200 Tyre Neck Rd
Portsmouth,
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

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.

1083 W 37th St.
Norfolk,
VA
US

The flavors of three tropical nations meet in the kitchen of Lola's Caribbean Restaurant, where Chef Roberto Sierra prepares Cuban, Dominican, and Puerto Rican classics. He marinates fresh seafood for his ceviche, mashes plantains to serve with shrimp, and flavors steaks with house-made chimichurri sauce. Land and sea come together in dishes such as the Zancocho, a medley of tender oxtail, flank steak, chicken, Dominican sausage, and shrimp that a Daily Press writer described as "a rich, flavorful stew." Though the menu brims with meaty dishes, Chef Sierra prepares vegetarian entrees by request. White tablecloths and a glowing chandelier create an ambience that feels relaxed, yet elegant—much like wearing a larger person's tuxedo.

328 W 20th St.
Norfolk,
VA
US

There's a clear star at Red Dog Saloon?its face plastered everywhere on the walls and even on the restaurant's sign itself. The saloon's cartoon bulldog mascot greets visitors, though its stern face is not nearly as welcoming as what waits at the bar?tap after tap of draft beer.

The drinks pair with bar-food favorites such as loaded nachos and pizza. Weekends, meanwhile, line up a breakfast and brunch board of fare that encompasses waffles and country-style eggs benedicts with home fries. Red Dog Saloon keeps patrons entertained after they eat with pool tables and lots of TVs, which show sports such as professional football, college football, professional baseball and kindergarten quidditch.

1421 Colley Ave
Norfolk,
VA
US

In downtown Norfolk, on a bustling part of Granby Street just steps from the Norfolk Scope Arena, Granby Theatre, and Flatiron Park, you'll find Scotty Quixx Lounge & Bistro, a one-stop entertainment destination that serves up world fusion food alongside a schedule of live music and DJs. The hot spot also keeps things classy, welcoming guests decked out in accordance with a “smart casual” dress code with cocktails crafted from top-shelf spirits. On the food side, an eclectic menu includes fish tacos, burritos, and quesadillas as well as rib eye steaks, chicken alfredo, and fish and chips.

436 Granby St
Norfolk,
VA
US