As a senior at JMU, I’m always looking for new places to explore downtown. A couple of weeks ago, I discovered a new favorite spot: a little bar called Ruby’s, nestled right underneath Clementine.
I first noticed Ruby’s outdoor patio behind Clementine, but at the time, I had no idea that it was connected to Ruby’s. After hearing about it from a few friends, I decided to check it out.
Ruby’s opened in August 2011, and it’s more than just a bar. It’s a great place to hang out any night.
“It’s just like your friend’s basement, except you have a bartender,” describes Chris Horne, one of the bartenders at Ruby’s. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I love the atmosphere of Ruby’s. It’s very welcoming and cozy, with rustic red walls that warm up the room. Couches and chairs surrounding coffee tables are tucked into corners, with high-top tables and stools scattered around the room and colorful rugs covering the floor. There are even a few flat screen TVs to keep you updated on your favorite sports.
One of the primary focal points is, of course, the bar, where the friendly bartenders serve beers, cocktails, and other beverages. They also offer some food items as well, including barbecue, burgers, and wings. You can find their specials on Clementine’s website.
The atmosphere of Ruby’s depends on the day of the week. Wednesday nights feature the chance to play classic board games and listen to live music by Jeremiah Prophet and Friends, with acoustic, folk, and other toe-tapping tunes.
Thursday nights are one of the most popular times to visit Ruby’s, where there is often a line out the door. That’s when resident DJ Neals Barkley comes in with flashy lights and upbeat, modern tracks to bring Ruby’s to life.
For some, Ruby’s may seem to cap their capacity at a low number, but this is for your own good, according to Chris. “We want to give the people who are coming in here the best service they can get,” he says. Sometimes people may be discouraged by the line, but usually it moves pretty fast, and you will find that it was worth the wait.
The outdoor patio also has a bar and plenty of seating. It’s a nice place to go and get some fresh air when it’s getting too hot inside or for a change of scenery.
And Ruby’s isn’t just for the young folks; it has something for everybody. “It’s kind of how we describe [Clementine’s] menu – American eclectic,” Chris observes. “We get all ages and all types of people.”
I myself have seen people from their early twenties to their 50s and 60s enjoying a night at Ruby’s. It’s a place where generations come together as a community and serves as a kind a snap-shot of Harrisonburg and all of its diversity.
Ruby’s fits in perfectly with downtown Harrisonburg and has a quirky charm, lively spirit, and a little bit of spunk.
When I asked Chris if he had anything else he’d like to share with the community, he responded, “Keep coming downtown, and if you’ve never been downtown, come check it out!”
So take Chris’ advice – come check out downtown and see all that it has to offer. And don’t forget to stop by Ruby’s when you do.
Eliza Seibert is a writing intern at Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance and a senior Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communications major at James Madison University.