After a rainy weekend in West Hollywood, my boyfriend and I decided to finally hit up the happy hour action at The Village Idiot on Melrose. I had tried to make it there before, but I kept remembering that the happy hour ended at 6 p.m., not 7 p.m., so I never wanted to rush it. This Monday, however, we were sure to get there by 4:40 p.m., so we'd have plenty of time to soak up the sun from the parting rain clouds and all of the happy hour discounts awaiting us.Once we walked in The Village Idiot's doors, the bartender let us know that there was open seating and to pick any spot we'd like. I wanted one of their awesome Melrose view window seats but alas, I've never been able to land one of them…ever, so we proceeded to the bar. The drink options on the happy hour menu are decent; wine by the glass, beer and select cocktails will run you $4 or $5 and food options go from $2 (per oyster) up to $10 (signature specials).
At the bar we ordered a couple of cocktails and a small plate of $3 pickled vegetables, which I order at almost any bar. My Ancho' Problem cocktail, explained by the bartender, was made with Ancho pepper-infused tequila and it packed quite a punch. The margarita-syle drink was very flavorful, slightly spicy and not too sour. I tried a taste of my boyfriend's drink, Whisky Business, and immediately tasted orange, clove and cinnamon; it reminded me on my Fall Fashioned cocktail. I asked the bartender what was in our drink and he mentioned it had whisky with a house-made simple syrup composed of orange peel, cinnamon, clove and vanilla. Darn, I missed one but dang, I'm getting good at this! The third cocktail we ordered was the Idiot Mule. "What's the Idiot Mule?" we asked. "It's a Moscow Mule made by an idiot…me," he replied.
Unfortunately, I wasn't as happy with the Idiot Mule as the other drinks. We even ordered another one to see if it was just a fluke - nope. The flavors and lime-to-ginger beer ratio was off, and I'm not sure if it was actually ginger beer in it because it tasted so surprisingly light. Before we ordered any more drinks I had to order some bites. The pickled vegetables had arrived during our cocktail tastings, so I noshed on them while I put in a order for the house-made "meat plate." I like the fact that the Village Idiot pickles it own vegetables and they don't just use your average garden variety. Our pickled vegetable plate was dressed with assorted romanesco, carrots with mustard seeds, daikon, beets, green beans and white asparagus. I dug it.
Because I'm a serious nibbler, charcuterie plates always speak to me. Just a tiny warning though, I would suggest not ordering both the pickled vegetables and house meat plate because you get the pickled vegetables on the meat plate, too, so it's sort of a double beat or beet, you could say. Sorry, on pun run today. Strewn with additional crispy toast points, the meat plate that evening consisted of house-made ham, mortadella and sausage that was laced with hearty pistachios. We had a big dinner planned that night otherwise I would've have gone a little crazier and ordered the enticing wild mushroom pie with shishito peppers and yukon potatoes or the lamb meatballs with tzatziki.
The vibe at the Village Idiot is laid-back cool. The staff are all mostly sporting plaid flannel tops and seem to be enjoying their jobs. One of the highlights for me at Village Idiot's happy hour are their variety of options. Yes, you can get a typical happy hour side of fries if you only want to nosh but you can also try a full on griddle burger with caramelized onions and fries for $10 if you happen to be hungrier. I also love the fact that you can score a michelada here for only $4 (happy hour), but they also have a great selection of craft beers and wines. Final verdict? The Village Idiot happy hour is a no-brainer.