Village Pub

The Village Pub is tucked away on Bloomington’s Walnut Street in the old Princess Theater. The theater is no longer there, but its historic charm lives on in this high-end gastropub. As you walk in, you’re first greeted by downward steps that lead you into a bar area with high ceilings and stained-glass windows. Above you is live music that plays every night and a balcony with even more places to sit. The space manages to feel both small and large as it blends its antique allure with modernity. The bar top is long, sleek, and complemented by its bartenders pulling dried citrus peels out of glass jars to make their signature cocktails. Village Pub is a hidden gem of Bloomington and is in fact, serving some of the best bar food in town. 

The Appetizers

Jolie Rosen

I’ve described Village Pub’s food as bar food up to this point, but it’s so much more than that. We started with the appetizers, of course, just the kind of food that goes perfectly with your second or third (and even your fourth) cocktail. All in all, we tried the Stuffed Peppers, Lobster Spring Rolls, and Bacon Flatbread. The sweet roasted peppers, stuffed with salty carnitas and farmer's cheese, was a delicious start to the meal. Everyone at the restaurant kept telling us how incredible the Lobster Spring Rolls were, and they weren’t lying. The crunchy spring roll filled with fresh lobster meat and a sweet and spicy pepper jelly for dipping was quite honestly, a perfect bite of food. The last appetizer we had was the Bacon Flatbread. The house-made dough is cooked quick and hot and topped with huge slabs of juicy bacon, shiitake mushrooms, and gorgonzola giving you a blast of umami on bread. 

The Main Course

Jolie Rosen

The brains behind the food at Village Pub is Southern Indiana native, Bret Scott Pafford Jr. He has worked all over the country from New York to California to Hawaii, where he’s been for the past twelve years. His blend of styles is truly evident in the food at Village Pub. First, we had the Wagyu Steak n’ Duck Egg. Each bite of steak, topped with rich duck egg and brightened by a chimichurri sauce and peppery, wild arugula, was cooked perfectly. Next, we had the Cast Iron Seared Ora King Salmon, a special on their Devour Bloomington menu available until March 8th. The plate came with a beautiful piece of Ora King salmon served with roasted Brussel sprouts and an orange ginger ponzu glaze. The fish was light, flaky, and just barely cooked as good fish should be. Every bit felt like eating thanksgiving dinner in Hawaii, a testament to the chef’s blend of midwestern comfort-cooking and island flair. 

The Dessert

Jolie Rosen

To finish the meal, we had two of their desserts, Dark Tiramisu and Black Forest Chocolate Trifle. My favorite was the tiramisu, which came with ladyfingers layered in sweet mascarpone cream and flavored with Songbird coffee liqueur made here in Bloomington at Cardinal Distillery. Both desserts were sweet, rich, and boozy, a perfect end to the meal. Village Pub a hidden gem of Bloomington and should be your go-to for a great drink, meal, or preferably both. Check out their Instagram here to keep up with special menu items and deals on drinks like six-dollar whiskey drinks on Wednesdays.