Barfly - The Village Idiot
The Village Idiot is not a bar. The Village Idiot is the waiting room of an overbooked, understaffed VA hospital where all the crotchety old-age pensioners have been substituted with pretentious new-age hipsters. The smell isn't quite as nauseating, but the crowds of people standing idly around with bored or confused looks on their faces is every bit as prosaic. After a full decade of sitting in VA hospitals while serving in the US Navy, you can imagine my disappointment with a bar that offers a similar experience (but without the worthwhile benefit of receiving a month's worth of prescription narcotics at the end). The tables are nice. The booths are comfortable. And the wallpaper…well, it has wallpaper. It also has VIP lounges that I assume are very luxurious, and, according to dictionary.com's definition of "luxurious" ("extremely comfortable…especially in a way that involves great expense.") I can say that the drinks fit the description equally well. Not that the cost of drinks necessarily makes or breaks a bar – in fact, I've had some insanely priced beverages in some insanely enjoyable bars – but therein lies the rub: The Village Idiot isn't insanely enjoyable. It isn't even sanely enjoyable. It's just…crowded. And not in a fun, nightclub way or in a rowdy sports bar way, but in a I-10-during-construction way that just makes you want to run towards the nearest living thing and kill it.
The upsides? Well first of all, it's fancy. If maximum occupancy was kept closer to "camp fire" and father from "fire hazard" it might even seem like a remotely sophisticated place to share a couple rounds with friends. And it has a whole menu of giant beers you can usually only find at BevMo, and having a full list of man-sized microbrews is helpful in any desperate situation. Finally, with an 18-and-up door policy, you could even bring your high school girlfriend along and try to convince all of your friends that you don't have serious relationship issues. But no amount of thinning the heard or biggie-sized bottles or barely-legal bar-larvae will make up for the fact that The Village Idiot is just too big for its britches. It thinks it's a fancy restaurant with a nightlife, but it's just a place to order juleps and cabernets like you know what the hell you're talking about in an environment that's priced with equal naivety. Plus, I don't know if I've mentioned it yet, but the place is fucking crowded.
Look, I appreciate the folksy English flair this bar is trying to accomplish as much as the next guy. But it fails at being ironically funny and no one likes British humor anyway (that's "humor" not "humour" for all you kids from across the pond, and just so we're clear, our version of "The Office" puts the BBC version to shame) and I don't have the patience or the pocketbook to spend the night waiting in line to purchase cocktails that are customarily consumed from a saucer. I'm not trying to catch a buzz with my pinkies up; I'm here for the party. I'm a student. I'm usually broke. And I worked my ass off to get these student loans so I'm not about to blow that money on drinks made for patrons with low tolerances and high incomes. I'm at the bar to double-fist double-vodkas until closing time, not to stand around in a crowd of people who are all wondering why the hell they are standing around in a crowd instead of doing more enjoyable things like filing taxes or cleaning the shower drain or eating day-old McDonald's fries.
The bottom line is this: The village idiot is a title reserved for the guy that no one else in town can stand; the one that stands out in the most notorious way; the one that tries in every way to be hip, but always ends up making a fool of himself while everyone points and laughs. In which case, The Village Idiot isn't doing this designation any favors (or favours, for that matter).