Happy hour looks and tastes a little different around here. That’s because we have the river to inspire us and chefs who bring inspirations from around the world to their creations here. Like artists, bartenders take every pour and every shake personally. You reap the rewards. Below are a few of our favorite spots to enjoy a cocktail in the River Realm.
4357 Irvington Rd, Irvington
Bryan Byrd is a River Realm local. One of his first jobs was at Trick Dog Cafe. Today, he has transformed the building into his latest food concept: Dredge. He named the restaurant after the method of collecting wild oysters. Here he’s bringing one of the most creative menus of the region to life. His cocktail menu is just as thoughtful as the dinner menu.
Byrd brings his experiences from Key West to his libations. You’ll find classics like mojitos and rum punch. Then, there are personal twists like the Key West Margarita, which blends tequila, Contreau, key lime, orange juice and a house sour. For a local zest, the Double OG blends Deep Eddy Vodka, orange juice, and Northern Neck Ginger Ale.
480 King Carter Drive, Irvington
The Tides Inn has longed served up the River Realm essential, the Lancaster Lemonade. The cocktail is created using fresh lemon, limoncello, vodka, and fresh garnishes. It’s refreshing and goes down easy after long days on the water or while you’re relaxing my the resort’s pool. Now, there’s a lot more to enjoy.
The newly opened Fish Hawk not only serves up a larger collection of craft cocktails, but guests can learn how to recreate them on their own. Every Thursday at 3 p.m., the bartender hosts a mixology class. Learn your way around different liquors and pairings. When you’re all done, order up summer classics like a tequila-based Paloma or gin and champagne blended into a French 75.
134 Timberneck Road, Deltaville
In addition to a 16-line craft beer tap, Deltaville Tap features an ever changing cocktail menu. A signature is a large selection of bourbon and whiskey. Restaurateur Travis Brazil says he wants it to be the largest selection within within 100 miles. Served straight or blended into cocktails like a Honey Peach Bourbon Smash, they’re perfect for slow sipping by the river.
Brunch also opens up new cocktail offerings including a Sunday Bloody Sunday selection of eight (and counting) bloody mary varieties. Prepare for creative iterations. The Bloody Sailor features clams and extra horseradish. The Bloody Bull blends in bourbon and beef bouillon. If these aren’t your flavor favorites for brunch, there’s a full sparkling drink menu with Hibiscus Mimosas and Bellinis.
62 Irvington Rd, Kilmarnock
NN Burger may be known for its wild and filling burger menu. With items like the Lump Crab Meat Topped Burger, we can’t argue. There’s a secret cocktail menu here, though. You won’t find anything like it anywhere else. Start with the Mason Jar cocktails made with Premium 151 Rum. You can also add 151 to any other beverage on the menu, including the milkshakes. The decadent hand-spun shakes are meals all on their own in flavors like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and Mint Chocolate Chip. Maybe you might transform one of their Freak Shakes into a boozy dessert, too. The Kilmarnock eatery also carries a strong selection of regional craft beers and wines.
606 Chesapeake Drive
If you’re looking for a party, The 606 is a new addition to the area. Featuring karaoke nights, DJs, and dancing, the bar and restaurant is just want we needed. To kick off your weekend, jump into a bloody mary bar. It’s stocked with bacon, Slim Jims, hot sauces, and peppers. Guests can also opt to add in shrimp. Pair other classic cocktails with menu items like deep dish pizza and salmon patties at The 606. All fun, no frills.
213 Virginia Street, Urbanna, VA
You’ll smell Something Different before you ever walk in. The Urbanna favorite is known for its barbecue smoked on-site, including Texas-style beef brisket, tri-tip beef, baby back ribs and chicken. You need something to wash it down, though. The bar is stocked with 11 craft brews on tap, prosecco, specialty cocktails fit for the river life.
Try the Rum Confused and Urbanna Iced Teas to start. You’ll even find champagne on draft. For brunch, we recommend the Bloody Mary. It’s created from the restaurant’s own blend, inspired by it’s barbeque rubs. For 50 years of Love, Something Different is serving up a special after-dinner Grasshopper cocktail. The creamy, green, mint martini is a throwback from the 1960’s and decadent enough to be dessert.
327 Old Ferry Road, White Stone
There’s something about sipping a cocktail on your own private beach. Willaby’s Cafe makes this a reality for everyone who visits. Inside the boat-shaped restaurant, there’s always a large selection of brews on tap. If you can’t decide, try an assortment of four 6 oz. pours in a flight for just $10.
Willaby’s also carries an extensive wine collection. You have just as many options as beer. Stay for music. You’ll find blues, folk, Americana and reggae music on regular rotation. Don’t forget to snap a photo for the ‘gram.
65 Tavern Rd, Irvington
Bad kids can drink, too. Once a boarding school, this boutique hotel is now hub for refined, yet laid back relaxation. The Inn’s rooms names are inspired by the schoolhouse’s past, including its bar. Detention serves up hand crafted cocktails in a classic, intimate bar setting. It’s wine and beer offerings just got an update: wine on tap. These aren’t box wines, they’re ultra-premium to match the Inn’s reputation for class and quality.
Have fun while you’re here. Notice the bar’s chalk boarded walls, with “Write 100 times – I will not drink bad wine and drive.” Grab a No. 2 pencil share your stories in the composition books titled “Why are you in detention.” Read along other confessions in the books. You might be surprised.
5437 Old Virginia Street, Urbanna
Summer and tequila: the season’s hottest fling. Everyday isn’t made for indulging in a margarita. Early summer afternoons and weekend happy hours are, though. Here in the River Realm, those occasions always seem to lead us to Mi Jalisco. Down the road from some of our other favorite watering holes, this colorful and relaxed spot always has what we need. There are more than 10 different margaritas to choose from–that’s 20 if you count the fact that you can order each one frozen or on the rocks. (Maybe that’s the tequila talking.)
If margaritas aren’t on your mind, maybe another cocktail will fulfill your summer drink craving. The tropical Bahama Mama features Malibu Coconut, Bacardi Rum, creme banana, pineapple juice, orange juice and grenadine. For a fun, yet potent blend, the Hurricane marries vodka, gin, rum, amaretto, orange liqueur and apple juice. Relax and take a sip. Summer isn’t going anywhere.
Share Your Sips
We know you and your squad will enjoy every sip here. How could you not with the views and people of the River Realm make it more refreshing than ever? If your food looks as good as it tastes, we want to see! Tag us on Instagram at @virginiasriverrealm.