On the average night, the intersection of Virginia and North Highland in Virginia-Highland is populated by your quintessential yuppie Emory grad, fresh off of work from some analyst/marketing-type job and rocking his favorite pair of checkered-plaid polo shorts. But on Sunday nights, while those ridiculous plaid shorts are still strutting around, Va-Hi turns into a serious fiesta.
Looking to celebrate Memorial Day weekend with some distinctly summery beverages, my bestie and I decide to start the night out at Sala, a little ways down from the main epicenter of Va-Hi. Sala is the place to go with your gal pals before heading out to the bars – all the drinks are delicious, especially the mojitos and margaritas. The pomegranate-and-mango margaritas are favorites – not too sweet and not too fruity. The tapas are yummy, too – the taquitos de pato, adobado-rubbed, slow-roasted duck in a crispy corn tortilla with guacamole is the perfect munchie, and you'll need to eat a little something if you're going to be drinking all that tequila. Luckily we saved room for dessert, splitting the limon quemado, a Mexican lime crème brulee.
After some scrumptious pregaming, we decide to head toward the real fiesta down the block at Noche. The Sunday night special is $1 Dos Equis, and apparently every investment banker/former frat boy in the A knows this. The crowd at Noche is spilling out into the street, and as we work our way inside, we're met with a wall of hot-and-sweaty Va-Highlanders. Since it's hard to even see the bar, we make our way as far into the restaurant as possible and suddenly find ourselves at the hostess stand, a small oasis in a sea of pushy partyers. Danielle, the supersweet but more than slightly stressed hostess, hands us a drink menu, and we scan the list of margaritas. Having finally decided on the classic Noche Margaritas, we try and make our way up to the bar, but when Danielle sees us struggling to get the bartender's attention, she offers to put in our order for us – a margarita savior!
We take our drinks onto the patio that connects Fontaine's and Noche, a little left of center of the actual party, but at least we won't have our delicious 'ritas spilt all over the place. When I head to the bar to pick up another round, I manage to stand directly behind a lucky couple who has finagled a pair of barstools, and they let me squeeze in to get to the bar.
"I'm just happy you're not trying to steal my boyfriend," the girl says, explaining that even if this place looks to be infested with fratties, ladies outnumber the boys two to one. "They're like sharks!"
Later in the noche when we close our tab (it takes at least 15 minutes to even get the bartender's attention – I know they're busy, but it takes so long I'm worried he thinks I have the plague) it comes to just more than 20 bucks – not bad for two rounds each of yummy margaritas split between two chicas.