When the Village Idiot rst opened its doors in 2009, its goal was to be a campus bar. Beer signs lined the walls and gra ti covered the oor. An image that reminds me of the dive bars campus used to have (but were replaced by luxury apartments and Target) lived here. However, over a year came and went, and the bar had seen few students.
“So,” owner Scott McCrary explained, “We remodeled the whole place, reopened on New Year’s Eve. We’re more of a neighborhood bar, young professionals, we get a lot of grad students now.”
Later, a patio was added and the Village Idiot as we know it now was born. The bar serves mainly craft beer, bourbon and scotch, and has a laid-back feel. The Village Idiot was no longer trying to be the campus bar that served students and students alone–and found its identity in the process. It became the place to be for young grads and professionals looking to lay back and have a good drink without being rambunctious. It became the bar we know and love today.
As McCrary describes it, “We really wanted a place where you can just go and hang out with your friends and be comfortable.”
And it is. With a lounge area in the back of the bar, high-top tables, and a patio lined with wood benches, the bar can house your average weekend crew with ease, plus quench your weekend thirst at a cheap price. While the Village Idiot may be more of a local watering hole than a campus bar-hopping stop, that may be changing.
The Village Idiot has seen an increase in business over the last two years,
up until construction began across the street this past May. I made my first trip here during Senior Crawl 2019. I’m a part of the trend of students who push further north and south when going out these last few years. With the closing of a few central campus bars, students found a gap in their High Street bar scene.
Between Out-R-Inn and Bullwinkle’s, there is a half-mile gap between campus bars. The O Patio & Pub’s departure isn’t the only reason for this gap; Too’s Under High closed in October 2017. While it reopened as Three’s Above High, the new location is much further north than it was before. Mama’s Pasta and Brew closed this past November. As the facade of High Street continues to change, so has the way students go out.
As a North Campus kid, I spent more time this year in the Old North while others pushed farther into South Campus and the Short North. While we all said goodbye to campus favorites with heavy hearts, it gives other local bars like the Village Idiot a chance to become part of the student repertoire. In settling down as a grad- student, YoPro-heavy space, the bar is starting to attract more undergraduates than ever before in the process.
The Village Idiot has certainly gained traction in the minds of students, but McCrary added that “time will tell” whether the bar continues to see more of them.
The South Campus underdog has seen many personal moments over the years, including engagements and weddings of McCrary’s friends. Two of the biggest milestones as a business have been the remodel and patio addition. However, many of its best nights are a lot more low-key than that, featuring pool, darts and trivia that its patrons love.
The Village Idiot will ring in its first decade on August 24 with a party featuring live music, art and more! Whether it’s your first or tenth time in, you’re welcome to the party.
Photos by Amal Saeed