Pints and Pint-sized: Joe’s Inn

This Fan classic is good for both the kids and the beer drinkers in your family.

Everyone in RVA has been to Joe’s Inn in The Fan. I thought my first visit happened three weeks ago with my husband and son, but a friend reminded me we went there for a night-before-Thanksgiving throw down back in college. So allow me revise my original statement: I’m pretty sure everyone in RVA has been to Joe’s Inn even if they can’t recall going.

First thing’s first: Joe’s Inn Fan is not Joe’s Inn Bon Air. Joe’s Bon Air, while extremely child-friendly, is a whole different scene. Hipsters in that place are sporting joint replacements, not Need Supply Co. shoes. Joe’s Inn Fan, however, is for the everyman: a nice mix of students, neighbors, and families. It’s loud, the seating is tight, and it always seems to be packed unless you arrive before happy hour, sweet happy hour.

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Pint-size scoring:

  1. 1 Star — Bring the kids ONLY if you can’t find a sitter
  2. 2 Star — It can work but not everyone is going to be happy
  3. 3 Star — Good choice if your mini-you is semi-civilized (usually starts ages 8-10)
  4. 4 Star — A perfectly acceptable place for kids all ages
  5. 5 Star — Everything your kid could ever need minus a large animatronic mouse

Pint scoring

  1. 1 Star — Nothing out of the ordinary here: Bud, Yuengling, Guinness
  2. 2 Star — Better than average but missing something crucial
  3. 3 Star — All the norms plus plenty of local flavor
  4. 4 Star — A few rarities hanging out with the micros and locals
  5. 5 Star — The Mecca of beer selection

Pint-sized score: 4 stars

Joe’s is noisy, which is why youngens fit in so well here. There’s plenty to choose from on the menu, including breakfast served all day and kids’ items for under $4. As for the service, some diners will say it’s spotty, but our server was quick and patient. With kids, get there early or be prepared to take them on a walk outside while you wait, because the waiting area, if you want to call it that, is so small you’re practically sitting on other diners’ laps. If you’re feeling rather squirrely, sneak a twirl of the Spaghetti a la Greek. The portion is so monstrous they won’t even notice.

Pint score: 3 stars

Joe’s is known for their $2.50 draft specials—and we’re not just talking Miller and Bud here. Local favorites from Hardywood and Legend make the cut, as well as many seasonal brews in rotation. Joe’s throws some cool beer events once in a while, like their recent tap takeover, which featured over 20 Hardywood beers. Did you know they make a Coconut Porter? I will hunt this down.

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Erin Sarro

Erin Sarro is a creative director/writer, blogger, mother, etc. She loves writing about her misadventures in parenthood at

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