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Charlottesville Nightlife

Charlottesville’s bustling Downtown Mall is a prime spot for those interested in drinking and live music. Several of Charlottesville’s music venues are located in the area, including the Charlottesville Pavilion (featuring a different band or artist every Friday night during the summer at the local Friday’s After 5) and the Jefferson Theater.

The Pavilion sells beer during its outdoor shows, and its laidback atmosphere allows for outside food and drink and folding chairs to be brought so that a show can be enjoyed picnic-style on the grass perimeter. The Jefferson Theater, a renovated old-fashioned movie theater, has several shows a week year-round. For most shows, seating is first-come-first-serve, and there is standing room near the stage. The Pavilion is family-friendly (all shows are all-ages), while the Jefferson tends to draw in those wishing to dance and drink at the well-stocked bar.

For more local music, the Southern Café and Music Hall is a hotspot. Most shows are about $10, though prices go up to $20, and the occasional show is free. The Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar offers a more relaxed ambiance, fair-priced health food on their vegetarian-friendly menu, and oftentimes live music.

Rapture, Blue Light Grill, and Miller’s can all be found on the historic Downtown Mall and are within mere blocks of each other. Rapture offers a very modern atmosphere, with exposed fixtures, an open kitchen as you walk in, a pool table, and a lounger area upstairs. The menu has high-quality, distinctive food, and about 15 beers on draft. Blue Light Grill pairs an upscale dining experience with a lively bar scene.

This cosmopolitan restaurant specializes in seafood and Asian cuisine, with an “eclectic mix of international flavors.” Blue Light Grill’s Raw Bar and extensive wine list make it a place to dine any night. Miller’s, though only a block away, is as far from Blue Light Grill’s sophisticated atmosphere as one can get. Smoky and low-key, Miller’s is the place to go for a burger and a game of pool if you’re looking for dinner and a drink without paying for the cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Also nearby, South Street Brewery boasts one of Charlottesville’s most extensive beer selections in a laid-back, pub-like atmosphere. Mas, a trendy Spanish tapas bar in Belmont, a neighborhood just blocks from Downtown, offers selection of diverse and delicious food and drink in an “industrial-warehouse cool” atmosphere.

For dancing, locals visit Club 216, where DJs spin records in a hard-to-beat party atmosphere. A diverse group of locals enjoy Club 216’s themed costume dance parties. The Club is open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 PM to 5 AM for those 18 and older.

If you’re looking to simply sit and relax with good conversation and a glass of wine, Siips Wine & Champagne Bar offers a selection impressive to even the most dedicated wine connoisseur. Wine and champagne are sold by the glass and bottle, and while Siips serves both lunch and dinner, they also have a light fare menu for those looking to eat just bread and cheese or dessert while they talk.