Have you ever had a relationship in Richmond? Justin has, or at least, he’s tried to. Join Justin as he guides you through the very best places to pursue love…or to fail valiantly.
Richmond, you know I love you to pieces. Over the years we’ve shared the best and worst of twenties dating life with each other, and on the final Valentine’s Day of those twenties, I would like to pay something back. With obvious, self-centered bias towards my own personal experiences, and in consultation with no one else, what follows is my list of the very best of Richmond dating life.
Best place to gaze longingly at members of the opposite sex when there isn’t really a good practical way to break the ice and hit on them
Monument Avenue at around 5:30pm when it’s nice out. Honorable Mention: any adult social sports league. I have heard countless rumors of people falling in love at those things, and I have even taken a few shots at it myself, but after spending an hour throwing balls at someone and having your team’s captain scream angrily at the poor volunteer referee and at their team’s captain, it’s a little unnatural to try to holla at some fine-looking dodgeballer.
Best place to say something awkward to someone you’ve never met
Shockoe Slip. The whole thing. That girl or dude you noticed in your social sports league is now all dressed up, tipsy, and ready for your clumsy advances. Go get ’em, tiger.
Best place to get introduced to someone by friends
Apartment parties in the Fan. Parties have a better energy than bars, and apartment parties are more single-y than house parties. If you are invited to an apartment party in the fan, and you are single, go. Don’t not go, ever.
Best place to have a drink with someone you met online
Commercial Taphouse. This is a highly personal choice and depends on where you are comfortable and the other person’s stated preferences, but if you enjoy a variety of kinds of beer, this is a good choice. It also has plenty of similar alternatives right nearby in case it turns out to be full when you show up, which happens because it is small and cozy.
Best place to take someone who doesn’t really know Richmond that well to impress him or her that you’re a Richmond genius
The cul-de-sac that East Grace forms just west of 22nd which you need to get to by going up Church Hill on Broad. It’s the best view of the Richmond skyline you’ll get, and if you manage to go around sunset, sometimes there are thousands of birds flying around Shockoe Valley and making all kinds of racket. Late at night it can get a little crowded because it’s the closest thing we’ve got to Lover’s Lane. Enjoy at your own risk.
Best place to take someone to pretend to them that you’re cultured even if you kind of aren’t
First Fridays. Head down to Broad Street between Monroe and Foushee on the first Friday of any month, and you can try to mask your confusion in the face of modern art by pretending you are studying it knowledgeably. Pretentiousness jokes aside, filling your heads with art and taking a walk in drizzling, warm rain while talking about your most personal dreams is a real date. I did that once. It’s highly, highly recommended.
Best place to have an angry shouty argument with someone who you thought you were exclusive with but who didn’t get that memo and went off and hooked up with someone but it got back to you because Richmond is the size of a postage stamp
Stuart Avenue between Robinson and Strawberry. I never did that ever, but in the summer when I’m sleeping with my windows open, it seems to be a rather popular spot for it. Have I ever been tearfully yelled at outdoors on that stretch of real estate? Yes. But it was totally about something else, I swear.
Best place to go for brunch the morning after you make up from the angry argument
Millie’s Diner. Yeah okay this one wasn’t that high of a degree of difficulty.
Best public place to make out
Richmond International Airport baggage claim. Look, sometimes you miss people and you get a little impatient, all right?
Best place to have a really fun, enjoyable night with your girlfriend or boyfriend, once you have had that conversation, and his or her friends, who turn out to be pretty cool
The Diamond for a Flying Squirrels Game. I don’t care if you hate baseball. There’s something about peanuts and hot dogs and sitting in a row that just makes everyone happy.
To be totally honest, that’s about as far as I typically get with these things. You’re on your own for where to take your parents to their first dinner with your true love, or where to shop for baby clothes. I can’t help you one bit.