The Quest for the Holy Grain - Best Beer Bars






Falls Church










Virginia Beach





Maplewood Grill
Danor Plaza
132 Branch Rd SE
Vienna, VA 22180
(703) 281-0070

Sitting inside the small shopping center of Danor Plaza in the heart of Vienna, Maplewood Grill's exterior does not overwhelm you.
Inside, however, is a different story.
The decor, with lots of wood, provides an elegant yet casual feel.
The restaurant is divided into several dining rooms, and the cuisine is described as classic American.
Everything I've ever ordered there has been superb.
But...we are not here to talk about the food.
The barroom is to the left as one enters, and is relatively small compared to the rest of the dining area.
There are 8 carefully selected taps, and none of them are wasted.
On my latest visit, there were products from Devil's Backbone, Brooklyn, Green Flash, Boulevard, and others.
There was even a selection from Caboose Brewing Company which is right in the neighborhood.
Factor in that Maplewood Grill is next door to Norm's Beer & Wine, and Vienna is a great place to be for the thirsty Questor.




Magnolias at the Mill
198 N 21st St
Purcellville, VA 20132
(540) 338-9800

Maggie's is a fine restaurant with an incredible beer list located in the heart of rural Purcellville, VA.
Maggie's is located just about 10 miles west of its sister restaurant, Tuscarora Mill in Leesburg.
The restaurant is situated in an old mill, with lots of wood and rustic accoutrements.
The atmosphere is sophisticated yet casual, and the clientele well-educated, especially about their beer and wine.
The three-sided bar seats about 25 patrons.
The 31 taps were extremely well-chosen, covering all the bases of the craft beer diamond.
Managing Partner Shawn Malone was eager to tell us about beer and the beer dinners which he loves to host.
We were also lucky in that our visit coincided with that of a young lady who was a sales rep for the eVolution Brewing Company in Salisbury, MD.
She shared with us a glass of a barrel-aged delicacy that had been waiting in abeyance.
Aside from the bar, there is a large dining area, and I would be remiss if I did not mention that Maggie's is reknowned for fine food.

Magnolias at the Mill would be an excellent place to dine during your tour of Purcellville's microbreweries.




Deutschland Downtown
411 William St
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
(540) 373-4110

Deutschland Downtown is a family owned German bar and restaurant that needs to hire outside the family.
The Biergarten was too hot on our visit so we enjoyed the cool relief of another authentic German Bierstube.
A ceramic Bier engine dispensed four fine drafts...Warsteiner, Konig Ludwig Weisse, Ayinger Celbrator and Hofbrau Munchen, along with 14 very German bottles.
If you do not drink German, you do not drink here.

The bar was small, cozy and set off in the corner of the main dining room. The waiter who began as the bartender was a cloying frat boy type who married the owners daughter.
I foresee unhappiness in the family but I digress.
The dumplings were excellent, the food was brown and white and the beer was fresh.
This is another great Deutsche stop for questors tracking the Civil War.




Globe and Laurel
3987 Jefferson Davis Hwy
Stafford, VA 22554
(703) 221-5763

Feeling followed
Feeling tagged
Crossing water
Trying to wipe my tracks

And there's some little jerk in the FBI
A keepin' papers on me six feet high
It gets me down, it gets me down, it gets me down

So what do you do? Head to the Globe and Laurel Restaurant, better titled the Marines and FBI Bar. This is a dark bar and restaurant. Dark wood, dim lighting, wait staff all in black. My buddy said it was frequented by men with short hair, in white shirts, with coats and ties. Sumbitch if he wasn't right. The parking lot held the car of a one star Marine General, his tag said USMC.

The bar is like a not-so-secret club for America's defenders.
The walls are decorated with U.S. Marine Corps paraphenalia. Presidents Reagan and Bush have been here, no Democrat President is ever going to be seen here. There is a photo gallery of famous military visitors including Ollie North. Medals, bugles, swords, all regale the bar and restaurant.

The ceilings belong to the police and other para military groups. In OCD straight rows you find police and sheriff's patches from all over the country. The straightness and uniformity of the rows is a bit creepy. But we are here for beer, right? There are six beers on tap. Today they are Stella, Guinness, Yeungling, Sam Adams, Adventure Brewery's Expedition IPA and Devil's Backbone Vienna Lager. The last two were our choices. I liked the IPA my buddy liked the Vienna.

Did I mention the guys filtering in were all short hair, no neck, white shirt, coat and tie? I was waiting for Efrem Zimbalist Junior to stroll in. Or maybe Jack Nicholson telling me I can't handle the truth.

After a while you begin to feel like a person of interest here, even if you are an altar boy or a boy scout. So let's look at a menu... I mean Chow List. It has Semi ala Carte entries (?) and Side Arms. The Semper Fi steak looks inviting, to the no neck crowd. I think I am going to move on. So Questors, if you are in Stafford, VA and your car breaks down and there is no hope of a tow truck, grab that emergency white shirt, suit coat and tie and have one for the Quest.

Who's the man on the corner; that... that corner over there
I don't know. Well, you better lay low. Watch out.






3998 Jefferson Davis Highway Stafford, VA 22554
Phone: 703-221-4635

If scary puppets, brown and white food and liters of good German beer served in an authentic German atmosphere are your idea of a good beer night, then the Rheingarten Restaurant in Stafford Virginia is a must stop for you, especially if you are a traveling Questor.
It is easy to miss this Bierstube, as it sets off the road and is marked only by an easy-to-miss sign.
But let's trust any good German beer nut to follow the directions and find this place.

You have to wend your way around the property and enter through an opening in a high hedge.
Open the door and you land in a fairy tale bar that is just like hundreds of first floor Stubes throughout the old East Germany. There is a small bar, well stocked with glassware, intimate and gregariously inviting in the faux closeness of German drinking establishments.
It makes me wonder, that if Germans did not drink, would they have any friends at all?
Not to worry, they do drink and the question is moot.

Petra was our server.
She was too German for Germany and landed in Stafford County with an attitude to boot.
She turned out to be a most delightful beer and dinner guide.
There were three taps...Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen, Hofbrau Original and Weltenburger Klastor, a dunkel.
We chose the dunkel.
She said pint, half liter or man-sized in a way that left us no choice; we went the full liter and never regretted it.
The brown and white food was sehr gut and the second liter of hefe was perfect. Finish it off with an apple strudel and it is a lot cheaper than a trip to Germany.




Lost Dog Cafe - McLean
1690A Anderson Rd
McLean, VA

Lost Dog Cafe-McLean is an outstanding venue for sandwiches, pizza, and of course beer in the Northern Virginia.
Lost Dog offers 16 taps of fresh, well-chosen craft beer and about 250-300 bottles.
Any of the bottles can be removed from the large cooler and taken to go.
We arrived on a Tuesday afternoon, and found the place busy with an eclectic mix.
Lost Dog's bar seats seats about a dozen, and most were lapping up microbrews.
There are also tables and booths, and a small back room for dining.
The walls were brilliantly decorated with colorful, canine-related artwork that were dramatic yet playful.
Lost Dog has three other locations in the area.



Beamer's 25
357 Salem Ave SW
Roanoke, VA 24016
phone: (540) 904-6233

Beamer's 25 is a restaurant and beer bar in downtown Roanoke, just west of the City Market section of the city.
The owner is Frank Beamer, currently the head football coach at Virginia Tech, and the winningest active coach in Division I FBS.
Beamer's 25 has 25 well-chosen taps, many locals, and about a dozen different bottles.
The L-shaped bar seats about 16, and there are many booths and tables making Beamer's a rather roomy venue.
At the end of our meal, Sandy proclaimed that her's was "the best burger I've ever had."
Beamer's 25 was a fun place in which to eat, drink, and watch the U.S. vs. Portugal World Cup soccer game.



Wasena City Taproom and Grill
806 Wasena Ave SW
Roanoke , VA 24015
phone: (540) 562-8584

The Wasena City Taproom is located in a one-time icehouse in an old industrial area of Roanoke.
The Taproom has a stone-top bar that seats 12-14 patrons.
About 20 tables round out the indoor seating.
Wasena City had 32 draft beers on tap, about half of which are local.
The outdoor patio was full on this pleasant evening in June.
Roanoke has a number of what appear to be good beer venues, but some seemed to be closed on Sunday.



The Cellar Restaurant & 6-Pack Store
302 N Main St
Blacksburg, VA 24060
phone: (540) 953-0651

When entering The Cellar, a Questor passes through the 6-pack shop, at which a purchase is mandatory.
The shop offers hundreds of different beers, in cans, bottles, and bombers...all of the 12-ounce beers can be purchased individually.
Now it's time for a draft.
The Cellar boasts 25 well-chosen drafts, and about 90 bottles.
One can dine at a table indoors, or move outdoors in nice weather, as "the outside seating here is the best outside seating in Blacksburg."
Our bartender was extremely helpful, and the attractive young woman who recommended the Pita Pizza sure knew what she was talking about.
The Cellar is a superb venue for food and beer in this beer-friendly mountain town of Blacksburg.



Blacksburg Taphouse
607 N Main St
Blacksburg, VA 24060
(540) 552-3023

Blacksburg Taphouse lies on the main drag of North Main Street in enticing Blacksburg, Virginia.
The building is attractively appointed both inside and out.
The L-shaped bar seats about 10 customers. A large number of tables rounds out an innovative seating area.
Blacksburg Taphouse features 33 rotating drafts; some were fairly obscure, namely a mead, an Italian sour, and an American wild ale.
The bottle list numbers about 15, primarily the macros.
The bartenders were welcoming and helpful, and the crowd was overall friendly.
The dining embraces the popular "Farm to Table" idea, and there is a deck for dining outside.
One can also find a cigar bar upstairs.


622 North
622 N Main St
Blacksburg, VA 24060
(540) 951-1022

622 North is a beer bar in the delightful college town of Blacksburg, VA.
The building, a renovated Victorian structure, appears quite upscale from the outside, and indeed, as one enters, a fine dining area is to the right.
We asked to sit in the bar, and our hostess's reply was, "Beer or Wine?"
Going in alphabetical order, we chose beer.
The beer bar was more to our style.
The bar seated about 8, with numerous tables, 2 pool tables, and several TVs.
We discovered a bar in the back, having 6 more seats.
622 has 15 taps, well-selected with many locals.
One could also drink on the porch.
A bottle list offers about 60 more selections.
Our hirsute, tattooed bartender was helpful, explaining the beers and how to get to the next bar on our list.

622 North is a sure stop for any Questor while in Blacksburg.



4549 Commerce Street
Virginia Beach, VA 23462

The Yard House in Virginia Beach is located downtown far from the tourist area.
This beer bar is similar to others in the chain: a large square bar with 100 taps, seating about 50 , in a large room that seats about 250 more in tables and booths.
The Friday lunch crowd was sparse, thus we had the place to ourselves.
The food was good and not expensive, but the beer selection is mostly the usual suspects with only a few local choices.



11th St. Taphouse Bar & Grille
11th Street & The Boardwalk
In the Hampton Inn Oceanfront South
1011 Atlantic Avenue
Virginia Beach VA
23451 • 757-321-8354

The 11th Street Taphouse is beer bar on the boardwalk in Virginia Beach, VA.
The food is mostly pub grub but they have 32 taps; a vast array, something for everyone. Many are B M/C and the other usual suspects, but they do have about 8 taps dedicated to locals beers.
One finds a sports bar motif, or maybe beach, with an adequate bar and lots of seating, even more on the beachfront patio. It's a wonderful place to spend the end of a day at the beach.





Station 2
2016 E Main St
Richmond, VA 23223
(804) 249-4702

Station 2 is a beer bar in an old fire house in the Shockoe Bottom section of Richmond.
The structure, which was once the home of Engine Company 2, dates from 1899.
The U-shaped bar seats about 18 and there is a large number of tables, booths, and other seating in the large rectangular room.
There is also an outside patio for nice weather.
Station 2 offers 12 taps, leaning toward local Virginia beers. The bottle list numbers about 40.
Besides the beer, much of the local beef, bread, sausage, and produce are local Virginia products.
Behind the bar are a couple of televisions, but they are relatively unobtrusive.


Joe's Inn
205 N. Shields Avenue
Richmond, VA 23220  
(804) 355-2282

Joe's Inn is located in The Fan district of Richmond, VA
Joe's has two separate rooms, the restaurant and the bar.
The barroom is long and narrow, with the bar seating about 16 patrons.
Diners can also sit in one of the 10 or so cozy booths.
Joe's offers 22 taps, with a nice mixture of American microbrews and local Virginia products. The colorful list on the large board shows both ABV and price.
There is also an extensive bottle list.
Our bartender was friendly and knew his stuff.
Joe's is a great neighborhood bar and restaurant, and should be included on a Questor's Richmond beer tour.



Commercial Tap House & Grill
111 N. Robinson St.
Richmond , VA 23220-4431
phone: (804) 359-6544

Commercial Tap House lies in the Richmond sector known as The Fan.
It is a true unassuming watering hole, an unpretentious neighborhood gathering spot, that happens to be a great beer bar.
The Tap House is rather small. The L-shaped bar seats maybe 14, and there are about 8 tables.
Behind the bar are 15 great taps...well-selected, including a hand engine.
Our bartender was very knowledgeable about the beer, and the patrons were brew-savvy too. We got some great suggestions about how to continue our Quest in Richmond.
You may find larger beer bars in Richmond.
You will find those that are better known.
You won't find any more genuine.
Commercial Tap House is a must stop on any Richmond beer tour.



6004 West Broad St
Richmond, VA 23230

Mekong looks live your average Asian restaurant, located in an old-style strip center northwest of downtown Richmond.
It does not appear to be the establishment that was chosen " #1 Overall Best Great American Beer Bar" by
As you make your entrance...well, it still looks every bit your average suburban Asian eatery, with a number of dining rooms mostly occupied by families.
But head back to the barroom. Bam! Things change. A long bar seats about 16 with several more tables in the bar area. There are places to lean with your beer and converse.
The taps number 50, with a high volume of Belgians and local Virginians. The drafts are listed on a board, also telling the ABV and the price...a big plus.
Somewhere between 150-200 bottles were also offered.
The staff was busy and helpful.
Most of the people at the bar were drinking craft beer, and many were absorbed in discussing the beers they were drinking.
If you get to Richmond, and you should, 'cause it's a great beer town, it's worth seeking out this gem known as Mekong.


Capital Ale House-Downtown
623 East Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219

Capital Ale House is a small chain of restaurants in the Richmond, VA, area. One assumes that the downtown location is typical.
Located in Richmond's financial district, this version is narrow but quite deep. Upon entering, the customer finds a bar room with a fairly long bar with booths across the aisle.
Beyond the bar, booths continue on both sides all the way to the back. There is a separate dining area as well as a basement, both of which were closed during our lunch.
The food was good and not expensive.
They do have beer, 35 taps in fact, as well as over 200 bottles on their list. A separate beer list shows the perhaps 10 rotating taps dedicated to local brews. Metered parking was adequate and parking is free in the garage area on the corner in the evening.
This is a good place to start your tour of Richmond.



709 W Broad St
Falls Church , VA 22046
(703) 992-0777

Spacebar is situated in a 2-business strip center in picturesque downtown Falls Church.
The sign over the door reads, "CD Cellar."
Next door is a palm reader.
I mention this because Spacebar does not stand out. Only a small sign in the window proclaims it as Spacebar.
What does stand out, however, is the beer. Spacebar offers 24 taps of well-selected micros.
They do not serve hard liquor.
They offer no food except for their speciality...grilled cheese sandwiches. Of these they have nearly 20 varieties.
They also serve hot dogs.

Spacebar is definitely worth a visit if you are a dedicated Questor.
But know this: like their sister bar, Galaxy Hut in Arlington, they do not open unitl 5:00 PM.

No kids allowed.




Delerium Café - Leesburg
101 S King St.
Leesburg, VA 20175
(571) 291-3470

The world-famous Delerium Café of Brussels has located their first venue outside of Europe in Leesburg!
There is lots of seating in the barroom, in several smaller rooms, and on a large patio in the back.
The Café offers a collection of 26 draft beers that covers all the bases, featuring an intriguing selection of Belgians and American micros.
The bottle list runs to 8 pages.

I must say, though, that at the time of our visit, we really needed to eat.
Delerium's menu featured mostly frites, waffles, and mussels.
There were also several entrees, but nothing that we could or would have for one reason or another.
Delerium refused to make us something from their lunch menu.
To his credit, our bartender went back into the kitchen to plead our case, but the chef wouldn't budge.

Thus, my first visit to Delerium Café, so long awaited, was truncated shortly after it began.

We only had to walk a short distance. Leesburg has many other great bars that were much more accomodating.




Leesburg Public House
962 Edwards Ferry Rd NE
Leesburg , VA 20176
phone: (703) 777-6333

Leesburg Public House is located in the same building that housed the Ironwood Tavern on the outskirts of Leesburg.
The large rectangular bar seats about 25 patrons and also houses 10 flat screen TV's. There are numerous tables for diners.

The taps are 32 in number, and include mostly American microbrews with an accent on the locals.
In the words of our bartender, "they rotate the taps to the extreme."
The Public House tries to have at least one event per month, such as a tap takeover.
There are happy hour specials from 4-7.
They seem to focus on the beer with imagination, and the crowd on this Wednesday night seemed to indicate a level of success beyond that which the previous tavern here enjoyed.
The patrons we spoke to praised Leesburg Public House for having excellent food and the best beer selection around.



MacDowell Brew Kitchen
202 Harrison Street Southeast
Leesburg , VA 20175
(703) 777-2739

An interesting addition to Leesburg's “Beermuda Triangle” arrived in 2012, when MacDowell Custom Kitchens gave birth to the MacDowell Brew Kitchen..
Macdowell BK features 18 taps; the bottle list is impressive, offering more than 100 choices.
The bar is small, seating only 10 patrons. To the left of that is a "showroom" featuring one massive community table. Left again leads us into a cozy room with several tables and a booth. Keep on going and you'll pass into the outside Biergarten, with more tables and live music.
The food menu leans heavily towards traditional “beer friendly” appetizers, pulled pork, and chili.
The crowd could be described as professional, while the atmosphere tends toward Bohemian. You will definitely hobnob with some of Leesburg's beer intelligencia, as you will in the other establishments of Harrison St.
Good beer, fried pickles, an informal atmosphere (with custom kitchen cabinets), and a patio featuring live music—what more could one ask for?
Macdowell Brew Kitchen is definitley worth visiting. They have already had bestowed upon them the Rising Star Award from the Town of Leesburg for promising businesses less than one year old.




Döner Bistro
202 Harrison Street SE
Leesburg VA, 20175
Phone: 703 779 7880

Geographically located in Leesburg's Beermuda Triangle, neighboring MacDowell Brew Kitchen, is Dönor Bistro.
What is Germany's #1 fast food?
"What's a Dönor you ask?"
It's a Turkish-style sandwich in which meat, salad, and sauce are stuffed into a flatbread. The bistro also offers bratwurst, schnitzel, and more.
Of course, there's beer. Dönor Bistro features all German beer all the time. They have 3 drafts and feature about 25 different bottles covering all the German styles...pils, dunkel, weisse, rauchbier, and others.
The venue seems small, but they can squeeze in a lot of patrons. A cozy biergarten seats about 40, and another 40 can eat and drink on two levels inside.
The food is prepared, miraculously enough, in a free-standing "Mighty Midget Kitchen" than appears to measure no more than 5 feet square.
Our hostess/server/barmaid was friendly and eager to answer our questions about the establishment. The atmosphere is lively with driving Euro-pop music and soccer on TV.
Leesburg's Harrison Street has more than it's share of great craft is a craft beer destination. While there, if you're looking for some good German bier, tasty fast food, and plenty of Gemütlichkeit, then put Dönor Bistro on your "must visit" list.




Tuscarora Mill
203 Harrison Street,
Leesburg, Virginia 20175

Tuskie's is a spacious bar that resides in a restored grain mill along with an upscale restaurant in historic Leesburg, VA. Being famous for its beer, Tuskie's draws in a crowd both from Leesburg and neighboring towns. And beer it is all about! Along with the 21 drafts can be found about 40 bottles, and the vast majority of both rotate. The drafts are carefully selected and cared for, and the selection is constantly changing. Dave, the barman, was more than willing to provide samples and answer questions about the beer and events, such as the beer dinners that occur monthly.


Piccadilly's Brew Pub & Restaurant
(540) 535-1899
125 E Piccadilly Street
Winchester, VA 22601

Piccadilly's is located in scenic, historic Winchester in a beautifully restored warehouse.
They offer a large selection of bottled beers, mostly of the macro variety, although there are some local crafts.
The taps are macro.
The staff was extremely friendly and helpful.
On site are two spacious dining rooms and an area for banquets and live music.


Westover Market
Beer Haus & Beer Garden

5863 N. Washington Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22205

The Westover Market Beer Haus and Beer Garden are attached to the Westover Market which is separately reviewed on our Virginia Beer Retailers page.
The Beer Haus has subdued lighting and a bar which seats about 8 patrons. There is seating for 20 more thirsty shoppers at tables.
The Haus offers 10 rotating taps with 6 more outside in the Beer Garden. Here is also seating for about 30 at attractive wrought iron tables, in a semi-tropical setting.
A Questor can conveniently shop for groceries, take-home beer, eat a sandwich, and slake his thirst at this all-in-one beer destination in Northern Virginia.


Lost Dog Cafe
5876 Washington Blvd
Arlington, VA 22205
Tel: 703-237-1552

Lost Dog Cafe is located just across the street from Westover Market in the busy Westover section of Arlington County.
The carry-out area has well over 100 different bottles and cans of beer to go. Gourmet pizza seems to be a popular item. In the center section of the Cafe is the bar. They feature a nice tap selection of 16 well-chosen drafts and maybe 130 bottles. Further back is a dining area with a number of booths. The decor is bright with lots of color and light wood. The place was jumping on a Thursday afternoon.
Lost Dog's owners also run a dog & cat rescue, shelter, and adoption operation, and this theme pervades the decor. Jock, our bartender, was an excellent representative of the establishment, explaning both the beers, the Cafe, and neighborhood lore.
Lost Dog also delivers beer, wine, and pizza and is a must-stop for any Questor in the Arlington area.


Pizzaria Paradiso
124 King Street
Alexandria VA

Pizzaria Paradiso is an upscale pizza house and beer bar with 3 locations in the Washington, DC region.
The front seating area is magnificently lighted from the outside through large panes of glass that I would not want to have to replace.
The decor features lots of light wood and brick, and the tables number about 30. They can be reconfigured to suit customer needs.
One can see a pizza bar in the back, as this is Paradiso's speciality.
But so is beer. Paradiso offers 14 taps and one hand engine. During our visit it was Autumnfest, and all taps were dedicated to Oktoberfests, pumpkin ales and harvest beers. The L-shaped bar seats about 12, and selections are listed on a chalkboard. A menu also painstakingly lists and describes the draft choices as well as the 180 bottled beers that are offered.
Parking can be tricky, but once that is accomplished, Pizzaria Paradiso will fill your beer and pizza needs.
They also have 2 locations in Georgetown and Dupont Circle.


827 Slaters Lane
Alexandria, VA 22314

Rustico is a restaurant in a new red brick section of Alexandria with plenty of parking. Although it is darkly paneled, the decor is modern and comfortable. The food is yuppy bar food, not cheap, but large portions. The 30 taps are quite esoteric, with nearly every style represented. Only a few beers were local. There are also about 280 bottled beers, which can be sold to go. Our bartender was passionate about the beer and quite knowledgeable.


Green Leafe
4345 New Town Ave
Williamsburg, VA

Green Leafe is a tavern in New Town Williamsburg. (New Town is a large red brick residential and business development only several years old in Williamsburg.)
Typical bar set up: Come in through the door, walk across the room to the relatively small bar that seats about 10.
The rest of the room, and an area along one side of the bar is table seating.
Green Leafe has 60 beers on tap.
About half of these are permanent features printed in the food menu; the rest are on rotation and listed on a chalkboard.
Green Leafe offers a wide variety of styles and few, if any, macros.
The food is mostly pub grub but Green Leafe is a wonderful place to drink beer.



Oceans & Ale
Prime Outlets
5601-1 Richmond Road
Williamsburg, VA 23188

Oceans and Ale is a small restaurant adjacent to the Outlet Mall in Williamsburg, VA.
One enters the door facing the center of a U - shaped bar.
The rooms are similar on either side: a bar with about 15 stools, booths around the perimeter and some tables in between.
Each side of the U has ten different taps, a mixture of the usual suspects as well as 10 local beers in rotation listed on a chalkboard in the back. These beers are fairly unique and not usually seen outside the local area.
The menu seemed extensive, the food was good and appropriately priced.
A wonderful choice for those needing a break from all that shopping !