Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Village Idiot - Melrose and Martel

So it took me a few extra "minutes" to get to this post.  Yesterday instead of blogging, I spent four hours doing yard work.  Having received what would ultimately turn into a very last minute (based on my schedule for the next couple weeks) threatening letter from the LAFD (fire department) about brush clearing.  And having not yet morphed into a properly self-respecting house-and-yard proud Angeleno, I don't have an army of willing helpers from south-of-the-border to call on at a moment's notice to whip my perimeters into a paragons of social responsibility of the non-flammable type. 

So (ouch!) still aching and blistery, here is my post about the Village Idiot.  

A nifty "corner pub" situated right in the midst of the vast post-punk 20-something oft-recycled in many and various iterations consumer paradise otherwise known as Melrose Boulevard.

The Village Idiot does the 21st c. English pub thing par excellence and with bells on, this World Cup moment, going even so far as to having special pub sign, AND t-shirts (framed, above and below) made up for the occasion, donned obligatorily by their wait staff.  It took me a minute to get the joke (yes, remember it is called the "Village Idiot") but I could be forgiven for thinking that the T-shirts were actually made in (dis)honor of all those overpaid European footballers who are playing so badly and staging mini-strikes-from-the-bus in this World Cup, and all those ego-crazed, Managers and money-bags Club Owners who, as my husband's grandfather has been saying for lo, these many twenty years, have "ruined the game". Yes, I@#$%S!

I'll also take a moment to apologize for the picture quality again.  I seem to have spent all Saturday with the camera on "tulip" setting (i.e., close-close up)  and the Guinness did not at all help in bringing my attention to or remedying the situation.

Now if you'll notice, I'm taking you on a quick tour from left to right of the bright, airy, generous space, with its Ilse Crawford hipster-finds-herself-in-the countryside (deer butting heads if you get close enough) graphic wallpaper at the back in the loungey nook, slatey gray slat-back chairs reading bluey in this light reading as more "rustic chic".....

cozy traditional bar to elbow up to

open kitchen at the right 

and finally, giant blackboard on which someone has lovingly spent an inordinate proportion of their precious moments on earth recording the prospective match schedules (and ultimate scores - yes FRANCE IS OUT already!) to help us all keep track. 

Well, if I've never said it before, an Englishman, wherever he finds himself in the world, needs a drink and a chat on a Saturday afternoon.  To relax, to take stock, to renew his sense of proportion about the world AND his acquaintances. And if that acquaintance turns out to be with one's wife, well she may not be particularly inclined to hole up in some dark man-cave reeking of stale beer and ricocheting with the sounds of competing jukebox, sports event and sporting-man hoots-jeers-and-boasts.  (Did I mention IN THE DARK!?  On a bright Saturday afternoon?)  So thank goodness for the English pub tradition which long pre-dates the Puritans and the Victorians (with their morose vilification of a cheery social drink), of bright big windows and fresh air, letting a little of the outside world in, and comfortable seating which invites you to linger.  Thank goodness for good humored color and good design.  And thank goodness for immaculate restrooms with little hooks for hanging your handbag up off the floor, and turbo charged handdryers.  That get you back to your beer "wiki-wiki*" with less muss, no fuss.

Thank goodness for tall creamy not-too-cold and not-too-warm pints of beer, tuna tartares with lots of little bits of pink grapefruit, endive and radish (so pretty - sorry I didn't take a picture - too hungry!) and big plates of fish piled on mounds of veg in savory sauces (just like the Grove - a very similar "gastropub" in Hammersmith, London)  and practically authentic fish'n'chips (so says Kevin at Hollywood Forever), and yes, TACOS, that slip down beguilingly with it all.  And the homemade Peruvian chocolate gelato and Intelligentsia coffee that reminds you that yes, you can be rustic and SOPHISTICATED all at the same time.  That's what the 21st century and globalization is ALL ABOUT.  

The Village Idiot is a very pleasant place to while away your afternoon, do the odd celebrity sighting: was that Lilly Allen?  (No, but v. similar.)  Count how many times the other (must be authentic) visiting Brits go out for a cigarette break....  The staff are as pleasant and charming as the atmosphere and you can always easily park on Kevin's street and have a stroll around the shops before you head in.  (At night, go L.A. baby: valet!)

Its effect on my marriage:  so far, so GOOD!

*   Hawaiian, for "quickly"


  1. i feel your yard work pain...we have a half acre property with like .0001 percent of it hardscaped...we were lucky this year and a little more on top of it so we didnt receive our brush clearing letter!

  2. What a fun place to hang out, Paradis. :-) FOUR hours of yard work is amazing. Well done! :-)

  3. Hi C., Do you know Diane at The Eagle's Nest. She has a blog that I think you would enjoy. Also I think she lives in your neighborhood. It's all about connecting, I love it. Thanks for mentioning me yet again, you are too sweet.

  4. That place looks very cool and laid back.