Illustration by Justin Tran
Suddenly, scenic vistas, fresh air and moonlight are as in demand as Hardywood’s latest seasonal brew — and the long lines, and waits to get in, prove it.
As soon as the weather started heating up, the first of Richmond’s new rooftop bars opened at Quirk Hotel, followed promptly by a rooftop venue at the Hofheimer Building in Scott’s Addition. Then, Kabana Rooftop, atop a former office building downtown at 700 E. Main St., began offering drinks, food and fun with a view.
Richmonders have always loved their outdoor patios, so it makes sense that when you add a spectacular view, there will be high demand — $14 cocktails be damned. Quirk’s rooftop, recently named one of the 10 best rooftop bars in the U.S. by Condé Nast Traveler, offers an expansive view of Jackson Ward and Richmond’s North Side, all the way to Richmond International Raceway. The vibe is artsy yet polished, a place to see and be seen, with a mixed crowd of after-work suits, tattooed hipsters and middle-aged city returnees.
The Hofheimer rooftop, a private event space open to the public on select Thursdays for “Sunsets @ the Hof,” attracts a younger crowd for its events featuring drinks, catered food, DJs and live music — and when the timing is right, a prime view of fireworks at The Diamond. Though the views of gritty Scott’s Addition from only three stories up are the least spectacular of the three destinations, the crowd is lively.
Kabana is the swankiest of the venues, with tropical plants, a full-service restaurant, tiki-inspired drinks and a pool — with cabanas and loungers for rent. You can almost imagine you’re in Miami, but instead of a view of Biscayne Bay, take in the James River from 20 stories up.
And perhaps that is the greatest appeal of a rooftop perch: These venues offer a new perspective on our city. For that, we name Richmond’s new rooftop bars Richmonder of the Month. It’s August. Summer vacation is in full swing. We’ll have a prosecco cocktail with a side of sunset, please.