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Screwtop (Photo by Aaron Spicer)

Trummer’s on Main
Clifton’s preeminent fine dining establishment’s first floor is home to a swank and beautiful onyx bar where patrons can enjoy the fine fare of the restaurant (without the noise of being upstairs) and sip on craft cocktails like the Pain and Pleasure—tequila, vermouth, hibiscus, jalapeno ice and cilantro. Small plates like the chicken fried oysters impress. The low lights and quaint house setting make for a quiet, intimate experience. Servers here have seen many a proposal. / 7134 Main St., Clifton  

Restaurant Eve
Restaurant Eve’s bar exudes warmth, literally. From the fireplaces to the light colored orange walls surrounding the bar, the entire setting feels cozy, which makes it perfect for date night. A bartender wearing a classy black vest will pour couples creative cocktails, crafted by top mixologist Todd Thrasher, like the Smoke and Spice, a combination of mezcal, hibiscus citrus tea and lemon juice. Couches surrounding the bar make it easy to cuddle. / 110 S. Pitt St., Alexandria  

Tuskie’s historic charm isn’t stuffy. Bartenders wear vests. Behind the bar is an eye-catching floral centerpiece. Pulleys hang from the ceiling. The bar is all dark wood. The conversation hums along but doesn’t require patrons to shout to hear each other. Guests can sip wine and beer. The beer menu is mostly craft beers such as Dogfish Head, Allagash White and DC Brau. Wines are mostly international, but a Virginia one makes an appearance, too. / 203 Harrison St. SE, Leesburg

Restaurant Eve (Photo by Ken Wyner Photography), best bars in virginia, best bars for dates
Restaurant Eve (Photo by Ken Wyner Photography)

Magnolias at the Mill
Housed in a building that was once a working mill, Magnolias looks like a barn scene straight out of a wedding album. Think wood accents everywhere in a spacious and charming country setting. Given its location in Loudoun County near plenty of wineries, it makes sense that the wine menu features a local flight and a selection of Virginia reds alongside domestic and international picks. Beer and cocktails complete the drink menu. / 198 N. 21st St., Purcellville  

Half retail shop and half wine bar, Screwtop is a true Arlington haunt. Decor features a dark brown bar complemented by warm, soft yellow walls. The crowd includes parents, middle-aged professionals and Arlington’s younger crowd. Tasting notes specify just how the wine might taste. Order a stuffed sandwich or cheese plate and pair it with a glass of wine from this menu that shifts seasonally. Although attentive and knowledgeable, the staff here isn’t all that chatty. / 1025 N. Fillmore St., Arlington  

(October 2015)