Charlottesville Nightlife: What’s missing?

Indie writes: There are two articles this week in the C-Ville Weekly that take a look at local nightlife. Many times I hear, “There’s nothing to do in Charlottesville.” So what’s missing (in terms of nightlife)? Do we need swankier restaurants? A couple of clubs? An expanded downtown scene? Or do we really have it all?

30 Responses to “Charlottesville Nightlife: What’s missing?”


  • It’s a recursive problem… if you stay at home because there’s nothing to do, then nothing happens because everyone’s at home.

    Look, if you’re bored in Charlottesville, I can only imagine how much more boring the rest of the world must seem.

  • Other places mostly just blow. Have you ever been? Seriously, its a bunch of nut monkeys running back and forth between strip malls and beige boxes.

    Point being that your better off just staying home rather than leaving town for some Other Place. Like Pennsylvania or Massachusetts. or any of those other places that are hard to spell where they dont know what barbeque is and drive badly.

    If you must leave the house then go to Millers, where you can drink too much and make fun of the people walking by on their way to Blue Light. Those people are the true enemy. They are New York City and Los Angeles transplanted worms come to nestle into our sweet red rose and devour it from the inside out.

    True Cvillians are snug in our beds by 11:00 pm like Garrison Keiller.

  • Ack, we’ve been found out. Note to self: stop frequenting Blue Light.

  • I’ve only been here a couple of years, but I can’t say I’m that impressed with the culture here, or I at least don’t understand why people consider it to have "it all". I’ll grant that the city is culturally rich on some level, and it seems like a terrific place for kids, but compared to where? are small towns in this half of the country really that sore for culture? and is there much in the way of subculture here? If it’s that culturally charged, why is it just as difficult to be an artist here as anywhere else? It seems like the bulk of what gets seen here gets seen by EVERYONE, and it’s not actually that much stuff.

    I’m not trying to start trouble, it’s not like I hate living here – I just feel like charlottesville has a bit of a skewed perspective of itself.

    If there’s one thing in particular that I feel is missing here that I’ve really come to appreciate elsewhere, it’s plenty of small flexible performance/gallery spaces for hire.

  • two words: Strip clubs!

  • For someone my age (19), Charlottesville is definitely lacking. The closest performances by well-known music acts are infrequent and at best a four hour round-trip away, there aren’t clubs to speak of, and there isn’t much of an active music scene outside of singer/songwriter, blues and jazz (none of which are terribly interesting to me, though I respect them). Having lived here for nearly all of my life, I’ve pretty much exhausted all of my possibilities here and am going to the big city this winter. Charlottesville is simply completely unable to cater to my interests, so I figure it’s time to move on.

  • that would be nice especially some UVA co-eds who are trying to earn their way through college.

    NICE!

  • I think the problem is what type of club do you want. Cville has a problem in that we have such a diverse of people going out. Like for instance, I don’t like going to ‘down under’ or ‘French quarter’. It doesn’t cater the crowd that I like. It either has the 40-year-old good old boy with his favorite Nascar shirt or the thug up ghetto boys. Plus with these ‘clubs’ you don’t really get a good ratio of men to women. The nice good-looking women are afraid to go out to these clubs cause of the aforementioned individuals.

    Myself, I always like Raptures or Blue Light where you would never see that kind of people that was mentioned before. I just got back from the beach and visited some of their clubs. Boy was I impressed. The key was this. They would have a club that could cater to all types of people. I was in this really cool 3 in 1 club. Where one section would be techno the other would be live and the last would be hip-hop. Plus within each club they had different parts to it. So individual wouldn’t get bored or could choose to do other things in the club like hanging out at a lounge bar. Not all of us can dance you know.

    I think Charlottesville is big enough to have a club. I believe it is a question of where to open it. I say across the street from the Omni where that old grocery store is.

  • will writes: The closest performances by well-known music acts are infrequent and at best a four hour round-trip away

    In just a few years, the new Arena [story and some nice graphics here] should be busy (much to the distress of the neighborhood . . .).

    [The Arena] will enable the University to host any number of non-sports events. Everything from concerts and high school graduations to presidential debates and Nobel laureate visits to summer camps and home shows is a possibility, Moje said.

    They want to bring lots of different kinds of events [to the new Arena]. That’s something the president [John T. Casteen III] has been very clear about," Moje told the members of the U.Va. Club of Charlottesville at a June dinner. "We want to build a very nice basketball arena, but we also want to make sure that it can serve not only the University community, but the entire central Virginia area and the entire Commonwealth. This may be the largest seating capacity of any place in Virginia.’

  • cool, maybe we get some wrestling. O wait a sec, we did and no one showed up. :(

  • Unfortunately that’s four years away, and UVA’s desire to produce some sort of entertainment mecca isn’t well-exercised at all.

  • if one is looking for well known acts, this may be the case. but if you’re looking for good music, this town has a fair amount to offer. and some of the acts go on to become well known. (refraining from stating the obvious here.) starr hill is doing some lovely work getting various types of acts in. the jazz and blues scene is far better than one would expect from a town this size. there have been, in the past, clubs that focussed more on the rock side of things (Trax) and full on dance clubs (216 in its heyday) but Trax couldn’t survive and 216 became a bit less swanky and a bit more smokey. in short, the types of things people seem to be lookig for were around, but didn’t stay around.

  • Did we ever find out if it’s legal to open a strip club in c’ville? I was always under the impression that there’s all sorts of issues with nudity and private clubs and alcohol… Jack? Waldo?

  • hey I read somewhere in the C-Ville about it being legal to have a strip club. Some guy moved here from Dallas and was mad to see that Cville didn’t have any. I recall the paper said that a strip club wasn’t illegal but it is kinda of taboo. It is like the question is ‘who will have the balls to open the first one in town?’.

    Heck they just open a XXX store behind KFC. I heard a ad on the radio for it.

  • I believe the problem somebody would run into in opening a "gentlemen’s club" would be in trying to obtain an ABC license. Can you imagine the furor that would arise to challenge that application?!?! For that reason alone, I’d be surprised to see it ever happen here.

  • They let 216 have one. I don’t think they’d have a leg to stand on, legally, with that as a comparison.

  • If you’re all about going to shows and clubs, then a large city will probably have more to offer you, regardless of your age. If you’re more about eating good food and hanging out with your friends, Charlottesville has plenty to offer in that regard.

  • A real pool hall. Not a singles bar with pool tables crammed into a small space, $8/hour table fees, and a wait list a mile long. Not a bowling alley with crappy pool tables to one side as an afterthought. And not two bar-size tables in the basement of a raw bar. What would it take to get enough space to actually enjoy the game in addition to anything else (scoping, flirting, drinking, etc.) you may want to do?

  • Depends – was there any public opposition to 216? ALso, I’ve never been there, but does 216 offer nudity?

    Furthermore, my understanding is that 216 is a club with membership and an elected board of directors. A seat on that board is a pretty big deal within ithe gay community, and something the members take a great deal of pride in. Were a "gentlemen’s club" to be set up as a private establishment, which community icons are going to be prepared to take a seat on that board?

    Charlottesville has a huge gay community, but as far as I know not a very large strip club community. On top of that, the Virginia ABC Board has more or less unlimited power to grant and revoke licenses.

  • Big Al writes: On top of that, the Virginia ABC Board has more or less unlimited power to grant and revoke licenses.

    All the more reason to abolish the ABC. Who needs them — those Commonwealth bureaucrats with peculiar moral ideas about what is vice, and what is not — to make these sorts of make-or-brake decisions for local small businesses and local citizen-customers.

    (I was happy to read — somewhere — that ABC oficer ‘Clarence’, who was the ultra-anal retentive local ABC officer of my youth, has now retired. I hope the hook in his bass jig finds its way into his thumb every day from here to kingdom come.)

  • Have you tried Miller’s relatively new upstairs pool room?

  • We had one. It went out of business. Why? It was just a pool hall, not a bar with pool tables, thus, no revenue. Besides, who the hell makes a bar with pool as a priority over drinking and flirting? That’s silly. Be glad that there’s Rapture and Miller’s at all.

  • We had one. It went out of business. Why? It was just a pool hall, not a bar with pool tables, thus, no revenue.

    I went there a couple of times. I loved it.

  • many strip clubs don’t have liquor licenses, and in fact in some states they are not allowed to have them for the protection of everyone involved.

    these places still do good business.

  • Hey, I grew up in Nelson. Charlottesville has it all!!!!

  • I think the problem is largely country wide. With a drinking age of 21 and such ridiculous laws about open containers public enjoyment is really hemmed in. I laugh every time I go to friday’s after five and see all the fencing they put up and the people wearing their little security vests, all to make sure that the alcohol in the plastic cups is kept in that confined area, with the fun ending before dark. We need to take a cue from Europe and FINALLY relax our drinking laws. People should be able to go out and enjoy themselves without jumping through endless hoops. One great thing they commonly have there in big and small towns alike are parties in the street. Beer trucks arrive and you get your beer in a nice glass mug, there is music and it all goes until early in the morning. The best thing is that the only officials around are usually paramedics, no cops, no silly old people wearing security vests, everyone is relaxed and happy. Why that kind of thing can’t exist here is beyond me. We are supposed to be some great free country but we’re not even allowed to get together and enjoy ourselves in public….

  • I’d like to offer a counter-idea, just for kicks and giggles. What about not needing alcohol to have a good time? If "having a good time" to one means "drinking with pals", you can do that at home. How about fun that revolves around doing something instead of drinking something? There’s plenty of that to do here, whether it be as passive as watching a movie or active as rock-climbing. Every week, the Hook, the CW and the DP offer thick mags full of "things to do". Get off your behinds and *do* them.

    As anyone who owns a home in the Rugby neighborhood can tell you, "street parties" with lots of people walking around with beer is no fun the morning after.

  • Thank you guyincv, for the racist and classist take on the issue. Let us all file away the fact that guyincv doesn’t like rednecks or black folk.

    I, having been to both the Lodge and Boudreau’s on many occasions, admit that I enjoyed myself at both places. I found the male-female ratios to be even (though that’s not what I was there for). I think it’s telling that guyincv says "Not all of us can dance you know." Then why don’t you stay out of dance clubs, dude? Blue Light has plenty of *seats*, so stay there.

    [In defense of Blue Light and Rapture: I have frequently hung out at both, and neither has the snobby atmosphere that guyincv is trying to put on them. Both black folk and Nascar lovin’ white folk are welcome at both.]

  • To add to Hermes, I just read that ABC requires that Virginia bars be restaurants as well, with 45% of sales being food. This could be a downer for any strip chain [a la Deja Vu] that looks to open here but has only liquor in their business plan.

    Let’s not overestimate Cville’s worthiness (or size) to outsiders, ya’ll. Remember that we don’t have an Olive Garden or a Hooters, either.

  • Screw that. Sounds like a whole lot of traffic and out of towners flooding the city constantly. No thank you. Remember the day that Dave Matthews had his whole homecoming concert a year or 2 back? Do you want that every weekend? No tourism dollars are worth that hassle. Our economy does no need that kind of thing. One of the nice things about Charlottesville has always been the emphasis of quality of life over the fast development buck. Let’s keep it that way.

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