Happy Hour near I-95
I need to drive up from Richmond, VA to Northern Virginia to meet up with some friends. They live all around Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria. I'm looking for a Chowhound worthy spot that will not be horribly inconvenient for anyone (especially me!). Can anyone recommend a good (non-chain) place for a cocktail and a meal close to I-95? Is there anything in Occoquan - as geographically speaking that would work well.
Right outside Occoquan is Dixie Bones barbecue. It can be hit or miss but generally pretty good. I don't know how they'd accomodate bigger groups since it's mostly booth seating. There are people who rave about how it's the best in the area. I've had decent and really bad (don't go late).
Really convenient is Lorton and there are quite a few new restaurants there and they're all off 95. My favorite Indian restaurant is My Karma. It's dark inside but the food is great and not too heavy. In the same shopping center, there's a Japanese place, Tokyo Inn. It's passable food-wise but does a fun show. There's also Glory Days, a step up from Friday's, in the same center. Good burgers, too many TVs.
There is also Pane e Vino for Italian and it has pizza made on a wood burning stove, good pasta, excellent rolls. Their specialties are excellent. Across the little street is Fireside Grill. When I tried it, I prefer the Great American Restaurants suggested above, but I've had quite a few people tell me that they've completely revamped it and is excellent now. Fireside is a bigger restaurant, modern, great place for a big crowd. Pane e Vino is cozy, smaller Italian place but they can do groups. If you're looking for a place to sit and have a cocktail and food, I'd go to Fireside Grill.
Further north, I'd try Mike's of the Great American group, in Springfield. That's right off the beltway but kind of confusing in that area, getting around. Good food, good drinks but if you want to chat, I find it too loud.
Maybe not what you're looking for in terms of happy hour atmosphere or particular cuisine, but Taste of Tandoor in Woodbridge gets good buzz from the locals -- they say if you want it spicy you need to ask for it REALLY spicy, as it is tweaked for typical Amurrican tastes. But it has a full bar, sounds like it will be quiet enough for good conversation, and the food is fresh.
Address: 13836 Smoketown Rd, Woodbridge, VA 22192-4210
Phone: (703) 897-7200|
Coincidentally, I went to Richmond last week for the day, visited Carytown and had lunch at Buzz and Ned's. On the way back to DC was looking for what you are, and couldn't find anything worth stopping for. You could try Dogfish Head in Falls Church, but that may be too far north.
There is a tavern in Occoquan that might suffice, but cannot say I've been there.http://www.occoquaninn.com/
re: Gina Miller
I will also confess I went to Sally Bell's Kitchen, courtesy of Roadfood. I can recommend Mike's American Grill as well, though not as much as some of their other places, like Sweetwater's. The GAR group prides itself on diner satisfaction, so if there is anything you have a complaint about, they will remedy it. Also, if they still have them, ask for the aussie (sp?) rolls in your bread basket. Yeasty goodness