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Best Virginia Beach Nightlife

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The going-out scene in Hampton Roads runs from sand-in-your-toes party spots on Virginia Beach proper to rowdy sailor bars near Norfolk to classy cocktail spots in artsy, residential Ghent. We’ve focused on the options in Virginia Beach itself, largely for the ease of getting you home in one piece after a night on the town. All in all, there’s good solid fun to be had here—the options aren’t overwhelming, but they’re friendly and will keep you entertained while you’re on vacation.

Central 111 Tapas Lounge

Neighborhood: West of Norfolk

Sometimes you just need to down a bunch of expensive drinks, look good enough kill (you sexy thang) and dance your butt off in a big dark room with a booming sound system while trying to not slip on all the sweaty hormones. Enter: Central 111. It’s big, it’s cheesy, it’s a meat market and it’s unapologetic, and we’re cool with that. Well, when we’re in the mood for this sort of thing, and if you need to get your freak and/or club on, this is the spot. Music ranges from house to hip hop to hip pop to Top 40 and, often enough, all of the above jammed together. Frequent theme parties are especially rowdy/sexy/freaky/fun.

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Central 111 Tapas Lounge  

Conklin's Irish Rover

Neighborhood: Central City

We have a feeling you know what to expect at Conklin’s: shamrock silliness, lotsa pints of Guinness and a warm, pub-y atmosphere. That’s the thing; you’d expect an Irish pub in these parts to be a frat party place, but Conklin’s really is a warm, cozy, tucked-away (in a small shopping center) locals-favored pub that evokes good conversation and familiarity with the bartenders and other patrons. This, as opposed to the screaming revelry at any number of beach bars. Not that it doesn’t get boisterous in here on good nights, but it’s the sort of boisterous you share with friends in an intimate space, which keeps us coming back to Conklin’s for more. 

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Conklin's Irish Rover  

Rainbow Cactus

Neighborhood: Central City

You don’t have to be a member of the LGBT community to have a good time at the Cactus, although it certainly helps. But, seriously—straight folks will have a fine old time here watching the frequent drag queen shows that parade across stage. Sometimes, the cactus reminds us of the club from Robin Williams’ "The Birdcage," albeit a little less glam if still just as much over-the-top fun. If you’re in the mood to cruise this isn’t the best spot (not that no one’s looking). Dance parties, karaoke nights and live music gigs round out the offerings at one of Virginia Beach’s most amusing nightlife spots.

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Rainbow Cactus  

Hell's Kitchen on the Bay

Neighborhood: Chesapeake Beach

This cozy little resto-bar is something like a beach cottage converted into a small art gallery, performance space and spot for some fine imbibing (and eating; there’s a good menu here with some great chicken wings). If you’re up for an evening of good conversation and potentially excellent music (and, at the least, local gigs are acceptably average), a night at Hell’s is a good bet. The art on the walls is done by local artists, should you need a souvenir to take home.

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Hell's Kitchen on the Bay  

Sonoma Wine Bar & Bistro

Neighborhood: Virginia Beach

In contrast to the cookie-cutter options for getting sloshed in Virginia Beach comes Sonoma, a classy spot-cum-lounge where you can kick back, take in some jazz-y cool and—surprise—sip on some fine wine. And cocktails; they mix a mean martini here. If you’re hungry, consider food off an excellent menu and don’t neglect the smart pairings suggested by Sonoma’s house staff—these guys know their stuff when it comes to the juice of the grape.

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Sonoma Wine Bar & Bistro  
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