TOTS Fried Mac and Cheese

Fried Mac and Cheese from TOTS, Feb. 13, 2019.

If you live in Blacksburg, whether as a student or a full-time resident, you’re probably at least somewhat knowledgeable about the downtown bar scene. As someone who enjoys a good night downtown, I have my own personal menu of favorite things to order at most restaurants.

Many people in town will claim Sharkey’s as the best Blacksburg bar food, no contest. And while I agree that Sharkey’s is always reliably good, I’ve had some amazing food at other bars as well. Here are my top picks for the best things to order at a bar downtown — you may have never been yourself, but they’re definitely worth discovering.

The Cellar

Downstairs at The Cellar might not be your first choice of bar on a Friday or Saturday night, but it definitely should be. For one thing, it’s hardly ever as crowded as Champs or TOTS. Second, it has a diverse list of drinks, including cocktails, beer, wine and shooters. With your drink, you’ll also want to try its cheesy garlic bread, which can be ordered by basket and comes with your choice of cheese. There’s also the option of gluten-free bread. It’s delicious, inexpensive and a definite must-try.


Rivermill is another great place to go downtown because it has an extensive food menu. And while this may come as a surprise, I’m not going to name TOTS as the best place to order tater tots. Rivermill’s menu includes tots with cheese, which are somehow superior to every other order of tots I’ve had at a bar. This particular order of tots comes with melted cheddar-jack cheese and ranch dipping sauce, and they are the perfect compliment to your night out.

Hokie House

While Hokie House boasts the typical appetizers and food options that you could probably find at any bar, there is one thing that absolutely stands out: the jalapeno poppers — which, I had neither tried nor had any desire to try before having them at Hokie House. They’re a bit of an unexpected addition to a bar food menu, and, as I said, I had never wanted to try a jalapeno popper before having one, but they are truly wonderful and worthy of a try by everyone in Blacksburg.


As I said earlier, I claim Rivermill as the best spot for tots in Blacksburg, but that doesn’t mean Top of the Stairs doesn’t have its fair share of food offerings. I recommend the fried mac and cheese, which is truly one of the best things I’ve ever eaten, and I now make everyone I know try when at TOTS. Thankfully, it comes in a basket and is more than enough to be shared between multiple people or taken home. Whether you’re having a meal out or ending the night, an experience at TOTS is made so much better when eating its fried mac and cheese.

And finally, Sharkey’s

If you’re looking to stick with what’s known to be by far the best bar food menu in Blacksburg, my favorite thing I’ve had at Sharkey’s is the spinach and artichoke dip. I’m a huge fan of this dish, and am very discerning when it comes to eating it — I know when it’s good, and when it’s not — and I can unequivocally say it’s by far my favorite thing to order when at Sharkey’s. It’s a great pairing to any drink you’re having, and large enough to be shared. It’s a win for me everytime.

I love eating out at different places and trying new dishes every time. And as someone who likes going out, I’ve found some amazing food to eat with my drinks. If you’re up for something new, any of these places come with a high recommendation from me.

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