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PUBS, PATIOS & BARS:The Michie, great chicken in Charlottesville

Charlottesville, Virginia, has a lot going for it, not least being home to Thomas Jefferson’s UNESCO-rated homestead, Monticello. But while in town, a stop surely not to be missed is the Michie Tavern.

The Michie (pronounced “Mickey”) is itself a historic Virginia Historic Landmark that dates to 1784, but it’s renown is clearly in the present too, having been rated in October as the state’s Restaurant of the Year by the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel Association (VRLTA).

It’s a chance to “experience the true meaning of southern dining and hospitality,” offers Greg MacDonald, executive director of the tavern.

Located less than one kilometer “down the mountain-top” from Monticello, the venue gives visitors a taste of 18th-century life (including staff in period clothing) and is known for its traditionally inspired food, in particular its fried chicken, which is seasoned with secret spices (and love, presumably), and sided with requisite biscuits, cornbread, mashed potatoes and gravy, stewed tomatoes, green beans, and black-eyed peas. And don’t get us started on the peach cobbler for dessert.

Famous fried chicken

Served only at lunch hour (apparently following southern tradition), the fare is offered buffet-style, and includes other menu options, such as baked chicken and barbecue pulled pork.

Meanwhile, the 1784 pub is housed in the oldest section of the historic property, serving local wines, hard ciders, and craft beers such as Devil’s Backbone, as well as lighter fare – country ham biscuits, barbecue sliders, fried wings and other southern staples.

The pub’s Tap Room features a recreated 18th-century style wooden caged bar and is warmed by a roaring fireplace during winter months, while the Public Room is furnished with period antiques and provides colonial games to play.

But the best spot is on the front porch when the weather is good for incredible views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Beyond the tavern, which it must be said is a popular stop for tour buses (but accommodates 300 diners) when the pandemic is not interfering, visitors can also explore the General Store and Tavern Shop, both housed in restored period structures.

The Michie Tavern is located at 683 Thomas Jefferson Parkway, Charlottesville, about 10 minutes from the city centre and less than a mile from Monticello.

Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains about two hours southwest of Washington DC, Charlottesville is also home to the University of Virginia and (5th US president) James Monroe’s “Highland” estate and is a gateway to Shenandoah National Park, about an hour away.

The Tap Room

With glass purposefully in hand, we at Travel Industry Today continue our series on some of the planet’s best bars, patios and rooftop venues. For more articles in the series, click here:

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First published at Travel Industry Today

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