Pull out that Madras shorts-suit, shine up those Rainbows, and bust out your fanciest coozie: it’s Foxfield, y’all. Charlottesville, VA's version of the Kentucky Derby is once again flush with champagne brunches, bourbon-fueled tailgates, and something about horses or something, and it turns out the quaint lil' town actually has some cool stuff to offer, namely
hot undergrads cheap bars filled with hot undergrads some great places to eat and drink! So follow the below game plan, and prepare to impress all the girls who are able to see you from underneath their giant hats.
Where to grab a good meal before the party starts: The Local 824 Hinton Ave; Belmont; 434.984.9749 For your first and last classy meal of the weekend, nab a table at The Local, which serves up dishes made almost entirely from locally grown ingredients (none of which are supposed to be in the Races... probably). From Rag Mountain trout to Buffalo Creek short ribs, to drinks from local vineyards & breweries, you can take a little foodie tour of the Shenandoah without having to actually, you know, lose valuable partying time.
Where to go out if you don't mind spending the night in dorms: Trinity Irish Bar & Pub 1505 University Ave; The Corner; 434.295.7100 Katy Perry, lemon-drop shots, and dark corners that are suspiciously sticky: if that trifecta is your personal Hell, stay far away from this raucous multi-level bar on the stretch of UVA hangouts known as The Corner. Otherwise, enter, but do so with the knowledge that you will very likely wake up on a dorm-room floor
Where to roll C'ville-classy: Skybar 422 East Main Street; Downtown Mall; 434.202.7728 If you’d rather maintain some semblance of class, hike the one flight up to Charlottesville’s hottest (and only)
rooftop kind-of-up-high bar. Take in the breathtaking views of the skyline dressed-up sorority girls while you knock back a few bourbon & ginger’s
Where to get a solid food base before day-drinking commences: Bluegrass Grill & Bakery 313 2nd Street SE; Downtown Mall; 434.295.9700 Step one for this day of days: scarf a big Southern breakfast to create a delicious cushion in your belly for those morning mimosas. This closet-sized space off the Mall is perfect, and their main decor feature is plastic table coverings, so you can feel fine about getting messy on monster egg dishes and house-made biscuits ‘n gravy. The length of your (drinking) day will be directly proportional to the number of biscuits involved in this meal
Where to go if the only acceptable breakfast in your book is shots: The Virginian 1521 University Ave; The Corner; 434.984.4667 Don’t believe in the Biscuits-to-Booze Proportionality Theory? Well it was invented by Thomas Jefferson, so you must have a really high opinion of yourself. But fine: skip straight to the AM pre-game at this hallway of a bar that’s been serving up generous whiskey pours since 1923
Mid-morning through late afternoon: The, sigh, actual Races That Crazy Stallion forty you’ve wound up holding might be the closest you’ll get to a horse all day -- and that’s okay. Today's about soaking up the sunshine, sundresses, and seersucker, and making new friends. Like, stat. Your plot just ran out of booze.
Where to re-fuel post-races: The Continental Divide 811 W Main St; West Main; 434.984.0143 There's only one good answer to all that bourbon, and that's Tex-Mex. Stop by this hole-in-the-wall on Main St for legit bison nachos, veggie fajitas, and seem-like-a-good-idea-right-now 'ritas
Where to keep the party going, if you're still faking a Virginia drawl: The Whiskey Jar 227 West Main St; Downtown Mall; 434.202.1549 Order a Jar Julep at this home-y, decidedly Southern bar, which's got fancy cocktails, local beers, and everything in between, along with a wide array of fried bites and a roster of local acts who will almost definitely play something twang-y
Where to keep the party going, if you're still pretending you’re in college: The Biltmore 16 Elliewood Ave; The Corner; 434.202.1498 Forget ever having to grow up with two-floors-and-a-tiki-torch’d-patio's worth of undergrad fun. Dance upstairs, chill on the deck, or impress everyone with your mad cornhole game at the "beach bar" out front. And if you really want to forget, ask the bartender for one of the house-specialty shooters, a hefty cup o’ booze whose name rhymes with “muck ‘n muck”, and will leave you feeling just that
Get your late-night eats on at: The White Spot Come here at 2a to experience UVA's most iconic food item: THE GUS BURGER. You'll understand the all-caps emphasis (and the line out the door) once you try this freshly griddled cheeseburger topped on a fried egg and slipped between a Wonderbread-style white bun. There's a reason this place has been around since the fifties
Where to grab a bite on your way outta town (with the lowest risk of awkward interactions): Bodo’s Bagels Multiple locations This local legend makes a bagel that competes with New York, with a chewy crust giving way to a fluffy interior. And with three locations around town, you can avoid an unfortunate run-in with anyone you may have... met over the weekend
Where to stay if...
You're looking for some local charm: 200 South Street Inn 200 W South St; Downtown Mall; 434.979.0200 200 South Street's a pretty-damn-adorable, historic B&B off the Downtown Mall -- just, please, don’t break any of that history when you come home from the bars. Bonus: there're usually fresh-baked cookies in the parlor. Doesn’t get more charming than that
You want it cheap and easy: Red Roof Inn 1309 West Main St; The Corner; 434.295.4333 If you don’t care where you sleep as long as it’s close to the action, the RRI’s right on the Corner. You literally can’t stay any closer to bars. Unless, of course, you pass out in the bathroom of one of them overnight
You fancy yourself a sophisticated guy: Keswick Hall at Monticello 701 Club Dr; Keswick; 434.979.3440 Sure, you might've acted like a frat boy at the Races, but that doesn't mean you actually live like one. Roll presidentially at this grand old mansion, which's nestled onto 600 rolling acres near Monticello. Just don't expect to pay with Jeffersons.