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Village Burger Bar. Photo by Lauryn Bodden.

Go Here For That: Village Burger Bar

It’s Tuesday and you’re dragging. You grab a handful of coworkers and head straight for the nearest bar. Or better yet, it’s Friday night and the crew is back at it looking for a social bar with equal parts alcohol and conversation. When it comes to sharing drinks on any occasion, we often gravitate towards the latest hot-list bars or head back to the same old place, with unexciting drink and grub menus that we’ve run through one night too many. There are bars that serve food alongside their drinks, and then there are restaurants that tote cocktail menus equivalent to a speakeasy’s, and a noted food menu all within a reasonable price range. Hence, you get an impressive meal in addition to enough rounds with your buddies to hit the night running.

I present to you a new series: Go Here For That.

What you’re looking for:
A place to fill up and pre-game before hitting McKinney Ave. Not too crowded, and not too wild or expensive. You’re in the mood for a big, fat burger in a relaxed atmosphere. And not just an ordinary patty with cheese, but you want quality meat with variety. You’re also craving a good cocktail that brings the taste and heat. You and your buddies are going to stick around for awhile before heading to the strip, but you don’t want to burn a hole in your pocket.

Where you’re headed:
Hopdoddy’s or So & So’s

Where you should go:
Village Burger Bar in West Village
I get that you like Hopdoddy’s. Everyone is riding the Hopdoddy train currently, especially after their recent Uptown opening. And those milkshakes…They definitely know their stuff, don’t get me wrong. But Village Burger Bar has been a West Village staple for the past decade and frequently gets overlooked for newer places.

This is a great joint to kick back and start off a long night with friends. The food is a plus: gluten-free buns, turkey burgers, chicken breast, truffle fries, kale salad, garlic aioli, and toppings like a fried egg or bourbon caramelized onions – they have all these things and more. Choose from a chef-inspired menu of burgers or build your own with 15 different sauces and 16 ways to top it off. Make it thick or layer it light with options like “bun-free” in a salad, or their four cheese and bacon grilled Panini. Tip: get your own basket of sweet potato fries because you will not share, and please, I beg of you, put the West Village sauce on as many things as possible. They won’t admit it, but it has to be laced with something to make it that addicting.

Photo by Lauryn Bodden
Photo by Lauryn Bodden

Okay, So & So’s just opened and all the cool kids go here to pump their fist with one hand and spill their drink with the other. That’s fun, but you can get the same deal (at a more tame level) here. I will admit I never thought of Village Burger Bar as a place to hunker down with drinks and friends, but that was a rookie mistake. Sorry to their loyal customers for letting the cat out the bag, but this place has some great bartenders that can whip up some deadly cocktails on the spot. You’ll find their signature drinks to be the margaritas, which you can get frozen or on the rocks and in mango, strawberry, raspberry, pomegranate or sangria flavor. Then there’s the strawberry martini and spiked lemonade made fresh to your liking, but my personal favorite is a mojito with watermelon, pomegranate, or done up classic. The sangria comes by the bottle or glass, and there’s a quality selection of craft beers on tap or in the bottle for the brew lovers. However, I dare you to steer off-menu and watch as these guys throw together some surprising and tasty cocktails.

Photo by Lauryn Bodden
Photo by Lauryn Bodden

Village Burger may lack the dance scene of So & So’s, but easily hail a cab off Cole or grab a ride with Uber for a quick fare down the street and you’ll hit the real parties (after you get your drinks in, of course). It’s not as hip as Hopdoddy is right now either, but it’s a local standard and a great spot to begin the weekend. Future plans for Village include two live music nights with local artists every week, and Industry Appreciation on Monday Nights.

Happy Hour:
Monday through Friday 4 – 7 pm
Reverse Happy Hour 11 pm – 2 am

Daily Specials:
Texas Tuesday will get you a different local beer each week for $2.50 a draft.

They just launched a new Ladies’ Night Wednesday where ladies can snack on free appetizers with the purchase of a half-priced bottle of wine.

On Fridays, grab one of their margaritas for half price at $3.25 all day.

Have brunch on Sundays with a Build-Your-Own $4 Bloody Mary bar and $5 mimosas.

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