Let Loose And Unwind At Alexandria's Best Nightlife Spots

Whether its turning off the work computer following a hectic or clocking out after a busy shift, the feeling you get leaving your job walking toward a wide open weekend is pretty euphoric. ( I see you nodding your head in agreement.) But where should you and your pals go to celebrate?

Minutes away from Washington, D.C., Alexandria, Va. has a bustling nightlife just waiting to be explored. During our own downtown, 10Best went in search of the top nightlife spots in the city. Tough job, we know.  

When you think nightlife, live music venues pop to the front of most folks' minds so we included several in our list such as Birchmere which has been bringing in nationally and internationally known talent for more than 50 years.

Some folks enjoy restaurants for their late night destinations so we included a few like Hank's Pasta Bar, Daniel O'Connell's and Fish Market because foodies need to indulge after a long week.

If you are looking to play, be sure to head to The Light Horse which has multiple games to try including skeeball and shuffleboard while you sample their menu and drink at their upstairs bar.

So no matter what your ideal nightlife evening looks like, Alexandria has got you covered.




Osteria Marzano
Photo courtesy of Osteria Marzano

Whether a dish is a pasta, pizza or bread, Chef Carmine Marzano uses only the best seasonal, local and organic produce paired with authentic Italian ingredients. The dinner menu features a wide selection of salads, cold cuts, cheese, soups, antipasti, paninis, meat and seafood. When it comes to pizza, you may pick one off the menu or create your own. Pasta dishes give guests the opportunity to add on shrimp, chicken, salmon or meatball. To close out the meal, try their selection of desserts like Nutella pizza, chocolate cake or cannoli alla Siciliana and pair it with an after dinner coffee or liqueur.

Recommended for Alexandria's Best Nightlife because: With beautifully crafted seasonal dishes, this venue makes a great date night for those craving Italian cuisine.

Gina's expert tip: Want to cook like the chefs here? Try their cooking classes. To see when will be coming up, check their website's events page.

Read more about Osteria Marzano →

Nick's Night Club
Photo courtesy of Nick's Night Bar

For those in the Metro region looking for some good, old fashioned country music, this is the late night destination you want. Tuesday is karaoke so be sure to practice your Johnny Cash, George Straight, Garth Brooks and Reba McIntyre songs before taking the stage. Dance lessons in swing, country couples and line are also a fun way to let loose. What most come for is the live music featuring local, regional and touring talent. Once you've danced and sung your heart out, be sure to grab a bite to eat off their menu which includes pulled BBQ sandwich, chicken tacquitos and Buffalo tender basket.

Recommended for Alexandria's Best Nightlife because: For lovers of country music, this is the spot to see great talent and learn some dance moves.

Gina's expert tip: Check their website for a monthly calendar of events including dance lessons, happy hour and live music.

Read more about Nick's Night Club →


With more than 400 seats spread across five dining rooms, sea folk and landlubbers alike may enjoy treats from Poseidon's domain at this Old Town Alexandria spot. There are dishes for those who prefer land animals but seafood is the main attraction here. House specialties include fresh whole Maine lobster, Alaskan king crab legs, dill seared salmon and fried fish Pontchartrain. Guests may also indulge in platters – grilled items are served with sides of roasted red potatoes and asparagus while fried are paired with Captain's fries. Head to the Anchor's Bar for draft, bottle and craft beers and catch one of the local sports team's games on one of 16 televisions.

Recommended for Alexandria's Best Nightlife because: Want to catch a game or quench your thirst with a draft beer? Grab a seat at the Anchor's Bar.

Gina's expert tip: Valet parking is available Friday and Saturday evenings.

Read more about Fish Market →

Daniel O'Connell's Restaurant and Bar
Photo courtesy of Daniel O

Named for the famed Irish political leader, this antique restaurant/pub is right at home in historical Old Town. Featuring a modern fusion of Irish cuisine and culture, folks may order new dishes including daily specials yet also favorites like corned beef and cabbage, fish and chips and shepherd's pie. Now while most bars/pubs are for those who like to see and be seen, this venue offers four unique and cozy snugs (nooks) to customers. On tap, you'll find Irish favorites like Guinness, Smithwicks Ale, Harp and Magners Irish Cider but also a bevy of others by the bottle.

Recommended for Alexandria's Best Nightlife because: For a late night taste of Ireland right here in Virginia, head to this pub/restaurant.

Gina's expert tip: Be sure to catch their live Irish and popular music concerts.

Read more about Daniel O'Connell's Restaurant and Bar →

Port City Brewing Company
Photo courtesy of Port City

One of Alexandria's largest employers in the 19th century was the Robert Portner Brewing Company. After nearly 50 years, prohibition lead to the business shutting its doors. Nearly 100 years later, Port City Brewing Company is reviving the city's quality brewing tradition. Folks will find year round flagships like Optimal Wit - a Belgian style white ale and Ways & Means – a session rye IPA. There are also must try seasonals like fall's Oktoberfest and the holiday season's Tidings Ale. But don't just taste the beer. Book and take a tour of the facility. Their Tasting Room is open seven days a week and features different events including BeerYoga Tuesdays and live music on Friday nights.

Recommended for Alexandria's Best Nightlife because: With different events throughout the week, many will want to grab a beer at this fun destination.

Gina's expert tip: Check their calendar for release parties when new flavors or old ones coming back are released.

Read more about Port City Brewing Company →

Hank's Pasta Bar
Photo courtesy of Hank's Pasta Bar

When it comes to pasta dishes, most restaurants feel that huge heaping helpings are best. Personal trainers and your waistband may think differently. Thankfully for pasta lovers, we have this Old Town Alexandria destination offering homemade pasta in small plates. Those with a big appetite need not fret. They also have large plate offerings such as grilled shrimp and polenta, oven roasted fresh catch and rosemary grilled lamb chops. Add on some sides to your meal including broccoli rabe, Portobello mushroom, and roasted potatoes. Libations include seasonal cocktails, wines by the glass and beer

Recommended for Alexandria's Best Nightlife because: With small dishes that are big on flavor but easy on the stomach, this Old Town spot is a must visit!

Gina's expert tip: You have to love some of the names they give their seasonal cocktails such as 'Everything you see I owe to spaghetti' and 'Tequila and spice makes everything nice.'

Read more about Hank's Pasta Bar →

The Light Horse
Photo courtesy of The Light Horse

Looking for a late night destination to get your game on? Head to this Old Town Alexandria spot to try your lucky at skeeball, shuffleboard and other games. Refuel downstaris with either small or large plates of their American seasonal menu offerings such as mac & cheese, smoked chicken wings, baked crab cake on brioche or their double cheeseburger. Guests will want to head upstairs to the bar for craft beers including local flavors like Port City Optimal Wit and Hellbender Red Line Ale. This neighborhood staple since 2008 also offers a weekly entertainment lineup including a DJ, live music and sports.

Recommended for Alexandria's Best Nightlife because: A neighborhood hangout, this venue merges food, drink and entertainment seamlessly.

Gina's expert tip: Check their Facebook page for their weekly entertainment lineup.

Read more about The Light Horse →

Blackwall Hitch
Photo courtesy of Blackwell Hitch

Dedicated to blending the area's finest tastes and talents, this restaurant showcases seasonal menu items made from local sources. Start off your meal with a trip to their raw bar. On a recent summer menu, guests could try oysters, chilled Maine lobster and crawfish. For those that want to go straight to entrees, you'll find plenty to tempt your tastebuds. Share (or keep to yourself) a chilled seafood platter of favorites like peel and eat shrimp, smoked salmon and Jonah crab claws or try the jumbo lump crab mac & cheese, crispy softshell crabs or rockfish. Coming on late week and weekend days are a must for the live music featuring local and touring musicians from a variety of genres.

Recommended for Alexandria's Best Nightlife because: This restaurant nets a lot of return customers thanks to its American classic/regional favorites restaurant and popular live music nights.

Gina's expert tip: Check their website to see which musical talents will grace the stage during your visit.

Read more about Blackwall Hitch →

Photo courtesy of PX

Harking back to the days of Prohibition, you'll find this Old Town speakeasy by looking for the blue light in a second floor window. Celebrating a rebirth of the golden age, guests will find creative cocktails mingled with a glamorous yet intimate setting. Because only 25 people are allowed inside at a time, reservations along with a credit card number are required ahead of your arrival. Guests are encouraged to wear semi-formal attire to enhance the mood. Those wearing flip flops, baseball hats, jeans and tank tops will be turned away thirsty. For those who want to learn how head bartender/mixologist Todd Thrasher makes those lively libations, consider taking a mixology class.

Recommended for Alexandria's Best Nightlife because: Looking for an intimate night out? Head to this 1920s themed speakeasy in Old Town.

Gina's expert tip: If your group is larger than eight, the speakeasy considers the visit a private party and must be booked through their event coordinator.

Read more about PX →

Photo courtesy of Birchmere

When Gary Oelze bought The Birchmere in 1966, he didn't change the restaurant's name but decided to add live music acts. That fateful move to boost business more than 50 years ago has lead to the venue becoming one of the most beloved stages for musicians including Ricky Skaggs, Vince Gill, Seldom Scene, and John Hiatt. Once known as THE location for bluegrass acts, the site has branched out to other genres over the years but kept the intimate feel. The focus here is on the music so if you want to have a conversation with your friends, do it before or after the show.

Recommended for Alexandria's Best Nightlife because: Bringing great live music to folks since 1966, this venue is much beloved by residents and internationally-acclaimed artists.

Gina's expert tip: Seating is on a first come, first serve basis so get there early to get a line number.

Read more about Birchmere →


Meet Gina Gallucci White

Gina Gallucci White is an award winning freelance writer with articles appearing in such regional publications as Frederick Magazine, The Daily Record, Montgomery Magazine and The Gazette. She...  More About Gina