by Nick McAfee
During happy hour earlier this week, I paid a long overdue visit to the Charles Village Pub. Unassuming in appearance, the CVP (as locals call it) provided a fantastic experience far exceeding my expectations.
It started when I sat down and ordered a Whiskey & Ginger, as I always do when at an unfamiliar pub. The happy hour advertised two for one drinks, so I expected a nice rail drink at half price. To my surprise and immediate delight, the bartender brought me not one, but two Whisey & Gingers less than a minute after I placed my order. I may also add that the bar itself was already nearly full when I entered the pub, so quick service was something I was not expecting. And better than just good service, the drinks were mixed very well with a generous but not overpowering helping of whiskey.
I decided to order a couple of “Munchies,” which were also half off for happy hour, to go along with my newly acquired golden drinks. I was at first given a dirty menu, but the owner quickly noticed and gave me new one. And yes, you heard me right. The owner is actually in the bar serving people, chatting, and making sure everyone has a great experience. I ordered Jalapeño Poppers, The Nacho Supreme (sans the chili cause I was getting a lot of food) and curly fries. Service for the food was not quite as quick as for the bar, but I was just starting on my second drink when the food came. For the price, it was some of the largest portions that I have ever seen at a restaurant or a bar. And I’ve been to a lot of restaurants and bars in the past couple years.
Not only were the portions large, but the food was very good for a little pub. The nachos and curly fries were good, but the Jalapeño Poppers were perfectly crispy and some of the best I have ever had. Throughout the entire experience the staff was incredibly attentive and nice. In addition, they knew what they were doing. They chilled glasses properly before serving drinks, shook drinks thoroughly before pouring, and even offered samples of beer before purchase for those who asked. It’s the kind of bar I would happily frequent. The atmosphere is a very welcoming combination of sports bar and pub with a great 80’s playlist playing unobtrusively in the background. The bar selection was also quite respectable, with highlights including 17 different flavors of Smirnoff.
After I finished my drinks and meal, I had one final pleasant surprise from CVP. The tab that I had wrung up was incredibly small. The two drinks cost me $4.30, the lowest I have ever paid for two drinks at a bar in the US. The food came to just under $12 and was enough to easily feed two people. The Charles Village Pub is a great place for a cheap bite and a drink and I look forward to the next time I go back. I’m sure I’ll see you there!