Embark on a spirited journey through Norfolk, Virginia, as we unveil the city’s hidden gems and iconic watering holes in our guide to the best bars. Nestled along the Chesapeake Bay, Norfolk’s diverse bar scene mirrors the city’s rich maritime history and cultural vibrancy. From historic taverns exuding charm to modern mixology marvels pushing the boundaries of libation creativity, this curated selection promises an unforgettable taste of Norfolk’s nightlife. Join us as we navigate the neighborhoods, from Ghent to Downtown, to bring you a collection of establishments that capture the essence of this coastal city’s thriving bar culture. Cheers to discovering the soul of Norfolk through its best bars.
The Blue Moon Taphouse is located right down the street from the World trade center; it’s a swanky bar that is not only bi-level but also has rooftop seats. You will indeed have a nice night out at this bar and pub. Blue Moon Taphouse serves yummy mimosas and other popular cocktails too. Additionally, you can choose to have a bite to eat, such as a burger, crab soup, and more. Stop by, grab a drink and a meal, and enjoy the live music.
The Brick Anchors Brew House is located next to the music known as NorVa. This alehouse offers microbrews on tap together with classic American cuisine. The place features vintage decor that’s also elegant; this place is the perfect place to let your hair down and relax. The Mimosas and martinis are exceptional as they have classic draft beers, microbrews, etc. However, Brick Anchors Brew House does justice to the sour drinks as well! Not to mention that the food is excellent too. On your visit, grab a drink and some of their signature chicken wings.
Grain is a hip bar that you can find next to the World trade center and not too far from another bar on this list—Blue Moon Taphouse. The interior of Grain is beautifully modern, and the rooftop seating provides an alluring vibe all by itself. The brewery here is pleasantly extensive, and it offers a host of drinks of different kinds, such as Black Cherry (cider) or the bold and unique Frankziskaner (Hefeweizen); these are just a few of the vast array of drinks that are offered here, and the food isn’t too bad either.
To find the Thank You Thank You Bar & Lounge, just take a trip to Highland Park, and you’ll find it nestled in a lovely corner next to the Lafayette River. This bar has an inviting essence, and the interior is rustic and modern at the same time. Their beer selection is considerable, and they have all of the classics, from Coors on tap to Heineken in a bottle. Also, their cocktails are particularly good here; the next time you’re in the neighborhood, drop by and try the Saturn (dry gin) or the Hurricane (dark rum).
You can find the Press 626 Wine Bar just across the street from Central Baptist Church. The decor exudes exquisiteness and relaxation. The dimly lit setting seamlessly facilitates a much-needed relaxing evening after an honest day’s work. And if you’re in the mood for some light, you can always find it on their beautifully adorned outdoor patio. Some of the locals’ favorite drinks for this bar are the Mojito and the Sangra—two tasty drinks. The food is great as well. On your next visit, chow down on their fried goat or award-winning grilled cheese.
A few blocks from the Little Theatre of Norfolk is the rustic and well-put-together establishment known as—The Birch. You can have your choice of 21 craft beers that you can pair with a delicious cheese board. This is the ideal place for lovers of draft beer; the list of draft beers is thoroughly absurd. They have Agave white ale, dry-hopped Pilsner, and English-style porter, just to name a few. On your visit to The Birch, you can enjoy your drink with an exquisite charcuterie board.
You can find this cozy and charming place near the Lafayette River right next to the Exxon gas station. Crackers Little Bar Bistro is an intimate destination where you can find delicious martinis and cocktails. If you ever step foot inside this bar, don’t leave without trying the Watermelon Basil Martini or the French Martini; both of these drinks are simply exquisite. What’s more, the food at Crackers Little Bar Bistro is just as exquisite as the drinks. Drop by and grab some delicious Tapas along with your martinis.
Gershwin’s is a vintage and elegant establishment close to The NorVa—a music venue. Here is the ideal place to go and chow down on some eclectic American fare and drink great cocktails. The French 125 and the Manhattan are two drinks that you must try if you’re ever in the neighborhood. The chicken parmesan is a favorite dish among the locals, and it’s something that comes highly recommended!
PIXELS Pints & Bytes is a fun two-story bar and restaurant that resembles a castle from the outside. It’s near the Railroad District, right by the edge of Ghent. This casual and upbeat arcade bar has excellent pub food, like burgers that pair well with their drink selection. The bartenders are down to earth and know how to carry a conversation. I suggest the House Gin & Sonic or the Sing-a-Long Ping, which has amazing flavors from Seagram’s Gin, cherry syrup, soda water, lemon juice, and simple syrup.
Over near the corner of Brooke Ave and Granby St, near the Tazewell building, you’ll find Grace O’Malley’s Irish Pub and Restaurant. There’s plenty of beer, live music, and helpful staff in a refined tavern setting. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, and the dark wood interiors and relaxed vibes fit together perfectly. They have an extensive beer selection, vast white and red wine options, and the finest scotch, bourbon, and Irish whiskey in town.
MJ’s Tavern is in the River View neighborhood by Colonial Place Dog Park. It’s a trendy gay bar that has been a staple in the community for years. You feel at home, and everyone is welcome to drop by! There are drink specials each night, the draft beers are only two bucks during happy hour, and the karaoke is the chef’s kiss. Grab some fries, pickles, and a glass of red wine, and ask the bartender to whip you up a Painkiller or a Mojito and enjoy your night.
The Taphouse Grill is in the West Ghent neighborhood, by the Wildflower Sanctuary. There’s a sunburst logo on the entrance door, music, a friendly ambiance, great food, and a vast beer selection. It’s always a pleasant surprise when the bartender remembers meeting you and even knows what you like to drink. That being said, the Long Island Iced Tea is my favorite from this establishment. Still, I’d be remiss not to mention the India pale ale, Wheat beer, Stout, and Pilsner options!
The Winners Sports Bar is right next door to Oakmont North Playgrounds. Head to this pub for the perfect place to kick back and unwind after a long day at work or touring the city. They feature local music artists, pool and darts, and some of the best-mixed drinks in town. A tasty drink called Henry’s Hard Grape Soda goes wonderfully with the onion rings and the BLT. Go for the Cosmopolitan or an Apple Margarita for something strong but without the buzz.
Cap’n Ron’s is one of the best bars in the city. You’ll find it near the Ocean View Golf Park and several beach parks. It’s unpretentious and offers upscale eats like steak and seafood. You can join the karaoke night, play pool, or just relax and listen to the live bands. The personable bartenders know just how to mix the drinks to your liking. I recommend the Whiskey Sour is always perfect and a bit stronger than normal. You can see why this local bar has been around for six decades.
If you’re looking for an exciting atmosphere with a large crowd, loud music, and an electrifying experience, Scotty Quixx is the bar you’ve been dreaming of! This downtown nightclub is just west of Norfolk Scope. The outdoor patio is a great place to do generous shots; people watch or accompany the mixed cocktails with their global fusion fare. You won’t be disappointed if you stop by. The beer is also top-notch.
Why should you trust us?
We use our own local experience and contacts in the city to know which places to include in our lists. We also researched the web and read 6 reputable blogs and websites, including tripadvisor.com, downtownnorfolk.org, visitnorfolk.com, hopdes.com, wanderingourworld.com and prioritytoyotachesapeake.com. So that you can be sure you’re receiving the best of the best. We compiled all the results in one spot and ranked them according to how frequently they were referenced.