Life After Dark

¿Dónde está la fiesta? The metro Richmond area is full of diverse options for entertainment. I have a special place in my heart for Latin culture, so I’m always on the lookout for venues that showcase Latin music, dance, food, and culture. Whether you’re looking to embrace your own Latin roots, or you want to explore the vibrant culture that Richmond has to offer, I’ll be showcasing some of those options… starting here!

If you’ve got the Sunday blues because your weekend is almost over, I recently discovered the perfect way to extend it. Champion Brewing (@ChampionRVA) at 401 E. Grace Street gives you RVA Bachata Sunday, with Latin music and social dancing from 4-8pm. The night starts off with free dance lessons at 4pm, and DJ Ruddy Rivera kicks off the music (salsa, bachata, and merengue) at 4:45pm. No partners are necessary, and all ages are welcome! It’s a great opportunity to learn something new, while sneaking in one more weekend activity. Although there is a quieter space upstairs, I was perfectly content to people-watch from the bar and enjoy a pint of one of their craft brews. You can also order from their menu of elevated pub fare - I had the Fried Chicken Sandwich, which is a delicious hand-breaded chicken breast with a pickled carrot and beet slaw and house pub mustard on a brioche bun. I did finally give in – despite my full tummy – and danced for a few songs. It’s easier than you might think, great exercise, a chance to meet new friends, and so much fun!

The Latin Ballet of Virginia is partnering with The Edgar Allan Poe Museum to interpret the life and influence of Poe for the education and enjoyment of an international audience. After touring the US and beyond for the past two years, they return to Richmond with La Pasión de Poe. “The life and poetry of Poe represented in dance is very powerful,” says Ana Inés King, founder and Creative Director of the Latin Ballet. “We have worked closely with the museum directors to make this production as authentic as possible.” Chris Semtner, curator of The Edgar Allan Poe Museum, is also the author of The Poe Shrine: Building the World’s Finest Edgar Allan Poe Collection, and an award-winning visual artist. La Pasión de Poe has been based on Poe’s life and work, including El Dorado, To Helen, The Raven, To One in Paradise and Annabel Lee. Tickets are available for performances March 28-31 at the Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen (2880 Mountain Road, Glen Allen). See for ticket sales.

Speaking of Poe, if you haven’t heard contemporary solo artist Zack Artis, make your way down to Poe’s Pub (2706 E Main St, Richmond, VA 23223) on the first Friday of each month to experience his guitar stylings firsthand. Zack is an extraordinarily talented guitarist whom you may have seen in one of his numerous performances on WTVR’s Virginia This Morning, or at one of his many live shows throughout the area. He has worked with acclaimed artists such as The Temptations, The Commodores, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and Vince Gill. I met him at one of my weekly performances at The Wine Loft, when he introduced himself as a fellow musician. I did something I rarely do with an audience member whom I’ve just met – I handed him my guitar and turned over my microphone. I was stunned by his talent, a level of guitar technique that I was used to seeing only in Nashville. He finished with a surprising cover of Lady Gaga, and after a bit of urging, he played a bluesy original, singing along this time with a mellow, relaxed sound. The range is incredible! Don’t miss a chance to see him – every first Friday at Poe’s Pub.

That wraps up this edition of Life After Dark! As always, my live music schedule is on my website ( with this month’s featured venue being Rare Olde Times (10602 Patterson Avenue, Henrico). I’ll be there on March 10 and April 7, with live music on both Sundays from 6-9pm.

Kari Smith is a professional musician and writer whose winding path has led her through Nashville for a decade, and now back to her native Richmond, Virginia. Follow Kari’s writing adventures at, or