By Adrian Teran-Tapia
The salsa and bachata dance scene is strong in Richmond as restaurants and bars across the metro area host Latin dancing events all week long.
But many locals don’t know where to go. Newbies might even feel intimidated to go because of their skill level. Not to fear, though: These venues offer something for everyone — beginners, pros and folks who just want to people-watch with a good drink and good music.
From Shockoe Bottom to downtown to the West End, here is your guide to Richmond’s hidden world of salsa and bachata.
Many salsa goers start their week on Tuesday nights at Emilio’s, one of Richmond’s favorite Spanish tapas bars, at the intersection of West Broad and North Meadow streets. This local favorite is best-known for offering live jazz and blues performances during the week, but on Tuesdays, Emilio’s likes to return to its Latin roots.
Once the weekend comes, the party moves on to Havana 59, one of Richmond’s oldest salsa staples. With two locations, one in Shockoe Bottom (16 N. 17th St.) and one in the West End (8902 W. Broad St.), Havana 59 gives locals a chance to get lost in the bygone era of the Cuban capital.
Havana 59 offers salsa lessons and social dancing at its downtown location every Thursday night and in the West End on Friday nights.
The party comes to an end on Sunday afternoons at Champion Brewing Company’s Richmond location, 401 E. Grace St.
The company is based in Charlottesville but expanded to the River City to tap into the city’s flourishing craft beer scene. Every Sunday afternoon, they clear the bar and dining room to host salsa and bachata lessons followed by social dancing.