Village Tavern image

Village Tavern

This spot is Permanently Closed.

Bar FoodBBQ

Atwater Village

$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsSports!

Any time I watched The OC, which was a lot, I found myself wondering if Rachel Bilson would ever work again. That seems mean, but I couldn’t get it out of my head. On one hand, she was certainly never the most accomplished of the actors on the show, to put it nicely. But on the other hand, she was easily the most likeable of the bunch. So I wondered, just how far could you get on just being “likeable? The next 5 years answered this for me: it can get you your own show on the CW. Go ahead and scoff, but you don’t have a show on the CW. And she plays a doctor, for god’s sake! A f*cking doctor! Mystery solved: sometimes being likeable is good enough.

Village Tavern is just that: likeable. Specializing in the very specific and not that tasty smoked BBQ / Mexican fusion cuisine, the food ranges from “pretty good” to “huh?” To be honest, we couldn’t make it more than a three or four bites though one dish, because it was just so unrelentlessly hot without any flavor whatsoever. But like, whatever.

“Whatever? WHATEVER? You just insulted America’s treasure Rachel Bilson and you’re giving these guys a pass? What is wrong with you?!”

Woah, calm down. It’s a bar first, a restaurant secondly. And everything else about this place hit the nail on the head. This is a neighborhood bar in every sense of the word. Sports on TV, board games for the kids (and for people who still act like kids, myself included), and drink specials for days. A friendly staff who won’t charge you for the dish that was so bad you couldn’t even get it down. A laid back décor and dining area that’s never too busy to find yourself a spot at a table or the bar.

Pick your poison (Sundays for $5 Bloody Marys or Tuesdays for $5 Margaritas), find a spot to watch some sports or challenge your friends to a game of Candy Land. It’s not fine dining but if you pick your dish right (see below), you can still have a good time. And even if you pick your food wrong, this place is just too damn likeable for you to get too upset.

Food Rundown

Village Tavern image


This place specializes in smoked meats (brisket, pulled pork, and chicken), served in your choice of preparation, i.e. taco, burrito, quesadilla, etc. The brisket is the clear winner, with the pulled pork not too far behind (and the chicken a very distant third… not recommended). Each comes with some killer spicy avocado sauce, which pairs amazingly with the slight sweetness from the brisket.
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Fried Jalapeños

No flavor, hot as hell, and nothing on the plate to cool it all off. Not sure what they were thinking on this one. Yes, this is the dish we sent back.
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Crazy Corn

Nothing feels more LA to me than a Mexican-style corn on the cob. This thing was absolutely smothered in cheese and agave aioli and lime, and I couldn’t have been happier.


Suggested Reading

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Petty Cash

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A Filipino-Southern BBQ spot worth a visit. Hit it on Wednesdays for their try-it-all special.

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The Father’s Office burger (in Santa Monica and Culver City) is amazing. If you don’t know that, you don’t get it.

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The New York-iest bar in Los Angeles, the Village Idiot is always there when you need it, and the British pub food is good too.

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