Visitors and locals alike can benefit from great date night ideas, and we have more than a few of those in Virginia’s Blue Ridge.
Those who are long-time married, just getting to know each other, or parents in desperate need of an evening alone will find this list to be of value. In fact, you can spin these suggestions to experience them again in reverse, because the food and beverages are that good at all of them.
It takes away the guess work and the age-old back and forth of “What do you want to do?” “I don’t know. What do you want to do?”
Note: This post was updated in August 2019.
Stellina and Fortunato are two peas in a pod. The former is a hidden bar – a speakeasy, if you will – beside the latter. It makes perfect sense to enjoy a craft cocktail in the hideaway of Stellina before indulging in a traditional Italian dinner and authentic Neapolitan pizza at Fortunato.
Learn More: Fortunato Menu >
The Pine Room Pub and The Regency Room | Roanoke
Guests of The Hotel Roanoke will not need to travel far for drinks and dinner if they don’t want to. Inside our most historic and well-known accommodation is The Pine Room Pub, previously a World War II Officer’s Club. You’ll find it warm and inviting with a fireplace in cooler months, billiards, and plenty of top-shelf action to take the edge off the day. For dinner, enjoy the fine dining of The Regency Room. It’s an award-winning restaurant offering tastes representative of the area and beyond, such as the iconic Peanut Soup & Spoonbread.
Olde Salem Brewing Co. and Blue Apron Restaurant | Salem
There’s so much craft beer in Virginia’s Blue Ridge that you could plan many, many dates just taking it all in. For this date, try Olde Salem Brewing Co., a newcomer located in a beautiful historic building on Main Street in Salem. Blue Apron Restaurant is just steps away from the brewery and offers a bit of intimacy with its relatively small space. Make a reservation and cozy up with your sweet thing while you dine on fresh, seasonal fare.
Town Center Tap House and Tizzone Wood-Fired Kitchen and Wine Bar | Daleville
There’s a little bit of everything to drink at Town Center Tap House: 40 taps, 40 bottles and cans, and nearly 40 wines. It’s an excellent place to begin your evening, and Tizzone is a great place to grab dinner afterward. Share a wood-fired pizza with your fave human, or check out the two twofer nights (Tuesdays and Thursdays) when the menu is all about two!
Frankie Rowland’s Steakhouse and Alexander’s | Roanoke
When martinis are your go-to, there’s nowhere else to go but Frankie Rowland’s. They offer 70 distinct martinis with their claim-to-fame being a fresh pineapple martini. Delicious! Don’t knock back too many drinks, however, as dinner at Alexander’s is not something you want to miss. It’s a favorite fine dining option and was voted the “Best Downtown Restaurant” for 2018.
Billy’s and The Quarter | Roanoke
In the spirit of a “Georgetown pub,” Billy’s is an elegant destination for a drink before dinner. Beer, wine, liquor…whatever your poison, enjoy it at their warm, comfortable bar, or in the beautiful courtyard. For dinner, The Quarter offers an authentic taste of New Orleans with po’ boys, étouffée, jambalaya, gumbo, and more. When the weather is nice, snag a table on the outdoor patio.
Local Roots and Rockfish Food & Wine | Roanoke
Flip-flop these two popular Grandin Village restaurants and experience them twice! Both offer robust wine lists and excellent food, so it doesn’t matter in which order you enjoy them. Local Roots is a repeat Wine Spectator award winner with nearly 100 wines from around the world and Rockfish offers more than 270 wines. Win-win!
Drinks on the patio is an awesome way to start a date, and one of our favorite patios is Fork in the Alley Brick Oven Pub. Bottles, cans, and 16 taps ensure you have a nice array of craft beer to choose from before you head over to the award-winning River and Rail for dinner. At R&R, you’ll experience wonderful dining with an expertly crafted menu. They also serve excellent craft cocktails.
A Few Old Goats Brewing and Food Fanatics Kitchen | Roanoke
Your evening will have a neighborhood feel when you visit these two spots along the western edge of Downtown Roanoke. A Few Old Goats Brewing is a fun spot to start your evening with a few beers to enjoy their beautiful patio, and then you can head over a few blocks to Food Fanatics Kitchen, which features a bacon on bacon appetizer. Need we say more?
Franklin County Distilleries and Holly Jo’s Creekside Grill | Boones Mill
If you’ve never experienced a whiskey flight, now’s the time to do so in the “wettest county in the world,” Franklin County, Virginia. Franklin County Distilleries’ tasting room is pouring history with every drop of White Label Corn Whiskey. Your tasting is limited to three ounces per person per day, so it won’t be long before you’re off to Holly Jo’s for a downhome comfort food style of dinner and fantastic burgers. Try the pimento cheese!
Big Lick Brewing and Beamer’s 25 | Roanoke
Craft beer lovers will enjoy the beer garden at Big Lick Brewing prior to dinner at Beamer’s 25, the restaurant named after Virginia Tech Hokies football coach Frank Beamer. The casual menu features burgers and pizza, so this date is great for a laid back couple just looking to chill.
Twin Creeks Brewing and Red Jasmine Thai Cuisine | Vinton
The folks at Twin Creeks Brewing can’t help but shout, “WE LOVE BEER!” so if that’s your mantra, too, you’ll be in the right place for drinks with your darlin’. Nine large batch brews and two experimental brews are currently on tap. Afterward, Red Jasmine Thai brings the heat with their sweet, hot, spicy, authentic Thai food.
Downshift Bikes & Brews and Tuco’s Taqueria Garaje | Roanoke
She may wonder why you’re taking her to a bike shop, but put her mind at ease by letting her know Downshift is a great spot to hang out, especially on its new rooftop patio. Choose from beer, kombucha, and brews on tap before a short walk down the hill to Tuco’s for incredible tacos (and tequila, if you like).
Mexico Viejo and The Landing | Smith Mountain Lake
For a waterside date, we suggest Mexico Viejo on Smith Mountain Lake. Order up a margarita served in a pineapple – how cool! – and let the breeze blow through your hair. If you can make yourself leave this piece of the #lakelife, try another at The Landing. Choose from their upscale dining room or the more casual pub, depending on your mood and attire.
Lucky Restaurant and Bernard’s Gastropub and Eatery | Roanoke
A robust craft cocktail menu accompanies a nice list of craft beer and wine at Lucky, “a Lower-Eastside Manhattan dining experience in our very own Roanoke, Virginia.” If you manage to make it to dinner at Bernard’s, you’ll be treated to tasty American fare that includes salads, burgers, of course, but also entrée delights along the lines of salmon, chicken picatta, shrimp and grits, and sirloin.
Twin Creeks Distillery and Rocky Mount Burger Company | Rocky Mount
A drinks & dinner combo at Twin Creeks Distillery and Rocky Mount Burger Co. could also be paired with catching a concert at the Harvester Performance Center, with all three locations located next to each other in Rocky Mount. Twin Creeks Distillery is a wonderful spot to learn about Franklin County's rich history and heritage of moonshine and craft liquor production.
419 West and Carlos Brazilian International Cuisine | Roanoke
The pub atmosphere at 419 West lends itself to pre-dinner drinks. Adult beverages of all kinds are available, but perhaps something with international flair will set the tone for dinner at Carlos Brazilian? Carlos serves up not only Brazilian delights, but also French, Spanish, and Italian, as well as gorgeous views. Mix and match your meal to sample a bit of the world during date night.
202 Social House and Nawab | Roanoke
If the magic happens in the back of the house, then 202 Social House’s speakeasy is one magical place. Wander back there and treat yourself before partaking in delicious Indian cuisine at Nawab. Nawab specializes in authentic dishes that highlight the culture and flavors of northern India.
El Jefe Taqueria and West Salem Barbecue | Salem
Check out two of the newest local spots in downtown Salem with the drinks & dinner duo of El Jefe Taqueria and West Salem Barbecue. You could kick the night off with margaritas at El Jefe or some delicious bourbon based cocktails at West Salem Barbecue. Chow down on a variety of tacos at El Jefe or feast on slow cooked BBQ, including pulled pork, smoked chicken, and brisket, at West Salem.
The Green Goat and Wasena City Tap Room and Grill | Roanoke
Wine, mixed drinks, and craft beer and cider get you started along the greenway at The Green Goat in Wasena. Enjoy the drinks at the bar or on the deck, then head to Wasena City Tap Room for casual dining among friends. The menu includes burgers, dogs, pizza, burritos, tacos…the eats chill evenings are made of.
Cabo Fish Taco and Three Notch'd Brewing Company | Roanoke
These two spots may have become popular with other Virginia locations (Cabo Fish Taco in Blacksburg & Three Notch'd in Charlottesville), but both have opened up locations right beside each other, making for a fun drinks & dinner combination that can be enjoyed in either order. Both venues offer full food and drink lists, though Three Notch'd is more known for its beer while Cabo Fish Taco is a go-to spot for great tacos.
The Hive Tasting Room and bloom | Roanoke
Two recent additions to Roanoke's food & beverage scene are part of the exciting development taking place in the city's Wasena neighborhood. The Hive Tasting Room is open Thursday through Sunday and specializes in mead, a fermented honey beverage that's loosely related to wine. bloom is a restaurant and wine bar that features fresh ingredients and beautifully prepared dishes with amazing flavor.
Deschutes Brewery Tasting Room and Wall Street Tavern | Roanoke
Fifteen taps of Deschutes craft beer is cold on tap. If you’ve yet to try this west-coast-comes-eastward brewery, you’re missing out. Steak, seafood, and pasta are the standard go-tos at Wall Street Tavern. Ask for a patio seat if the weather is nice, but if not, you’ll love the restaurant, too. Try the house-made apps. We like the goat cheese pimento.
Martin’s Downtown Bar & Grill and Blue 5 | Roanoke
The awards at Martin’s include “best bar,” so you won’t go wrong bellying up to theirs. Eight taps, 75 bottles or cans, and plenty of the hard stuff means you won’t go thirsty. Dinner is elegant and smooth at Blue 5, the unofficial official jazz club of Virginia’s Blue Ridge. Just walking through the door makes all of us ten times sexier, so saunter on in and enjoy a memorable evening complete with live music Tuesday through Saturday.
Now that there’s no excuse for a date night (except a babysitter, maybe), it’s high time you make those reservations and celebrate coupledom. Cheers to love and laughter!
Many of the spots mentioned in this list are part of the Virginia's Blue Ridge Cheers Trail. Check out the Cheers Trail Passport Program to find out how you can receive exclusive specials and fun swag as you visit these locations! Learn more >