There’s a lot of great beach towns along the east coast. But apparently the Guiness Book of World Records lists Virginia Beach as the longest pleasure beach on the planet at 35 miles long. I have no clue what a pleasure beach is, but my fair skinned Irish girlfriend certainly finds most beaches un-pleasurable. She can hide inside the Atlantic Wildfowl Museum (yes this is a real museum here) while I sit outside in the sun and enjoy drinking some Orange Crushes.
But what surprised me for a beach town is that Virginia Beach is actually the largest city in Virginia – almost double the population of notable places like Norfolk and Richmond. And then there are some other oddities like the city is home to 3.5 military bases (the half is one that is mostly in VA Beach but the formal address is Norfolk) and that they have one of the largest landfills in the U.S. and turned it into a park named Mount Trashmore (I went and hiked to the top of the trash heap!). For some other random facts check out this site.
But anyway, my website is about food and drink, so let’s focus on the places I stopped at while here. And look for more detailed articles about the best places in town in future articles!
Drink Orange Crushes at Waterman's Grille
Harborside Bar & Grill in Ocean City, Maryland lays claim to inventing the Orange Crush. But this popular summer drink made of fresh orange juice, vodka, triple sec, and lemon/lime soda has spread throughout the DelMarVa (Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia) region. And here in Virginia Beach, Waterman’s Surfside Grill might make more Orange Crushes than anywhere in the area. Plus, its right on the beach so it’s a great place to duck into for a quick drink, maybe some She Crab Soup, and a cool off before heading back out into the hot sun.
Some other great places for Orange Crush’s include Buoy 44 for a great sunset or also Chix on the Beach (which is a sister restaurant to Waterman’s) where you can also get a great steamer bag made with fresh seafood, corn on the cob, kielbasa, and red potatoes with old Bay seasoning.
Cheasapeake Bay Distillery
Many cities have breweries where you can stop in and get a flight. But finding a great distillery that does similar is less common. Chesapeake Bay Distillery opened in 2005 and started by making craft vodka. They expanded into rum, a ghost pepper infused vodka, and eventually into tequilas and several liquors. And their tasting room is open to try all of them.
But what makes their tastings extra fun is that you can order cocktail flights made with these spirits. Some of the great cocktails to choose from include:
- Cucumber Cooler: Blue Ridge Vodka, fresh cucumber, basil, lemon and lime
- Mango Pineapple Margarita: Ghost Pepper Tequila, pineapple juice, frozen mango, lime
- Rum Runner: Chick’s Beach Rum, 4 Farthing Spiced Rum, pineapple, orange, banana and blackberry liqueurs, splash of grenadine
Brunch at the farm to table restaurant, Commune, is well worth the short walk into the Vibe District. They serve local, organic, seasonal, and sustainable fare in an open concept with community seating style. Additionally, they serve cocktails made with local spirits, Virginia wines, and local craft beer. Even their tea is locally grown.
Bad Ass Coffee
Ugh…. I don’t usually promote chains in my videos or articles. But this video was different in that I filmed in one day almost like a quick vlog style rather than a planned “best of” list. And after the cocktails and brunch I REALLY needed an afternoon coffee, and this is where I went. For a chain, Bad Ass coffee is an ok place…. and I’m certainly not going to film and promote the MUCH larger Starbucks.
With nearly 30 stores across the U.S. Bad Ass coffee is a fairly small chain that serves premium Hawiian coffee. They have a large menu of flavored lattes, and they maintain a fun atmosphere. I didn’t feel too guilty coming here in a video. But you won’t see many chains in future videos.