Hours: Daily 11am-2:30am
A steady, reliable stalwart that's been around for almost a century, the well-loved, well-trafficked VC is within easy walking distance of the Schnitz, the Keller, the Fox Tower, and the Central Library, boasting a solid section of booze and beer, plenty of cozy booths, and a decent, if pricey, menu. Surprisingly enough, the best way to hit the often-crowded VC is when you've got a few people with you: While the wait staff tenaciously forbids all but larger groups from sitting at the best table—the big one near the windows—they'll let you take it over if you have a few friends with you. Then you've got attentive table service, a view of the library and the streetcar, and a comfortable spot to talk about whatever play or movie you all just saw. ERIK HENRIKSEN
One of downtown's classic bars, the Virginia Cafe has been around practically forever -since 1922 at the beloved Park Street location. Now in their new digs across from the Library, some of the history is salvaged in the form of many of the fixtures and cozy booths from the old location. But gone are the smoky haze and the claustrophobia-inducing bathrooms. A good basic bar menu, including burgers, sandwiches and snacks is complimented by signature stiff drinks. There's an endearing quality to the Virginia Cafe, because they do interesting things like the "best kissing blot" contest, which features customers' lipstick kiss marks on paper napkins.
Payment Type: Visa/MC, ATM
Happy Hour Info: Mon-Wed, Fri, Sun 4-8pm, Thurs & Sat 11am-12am