More than simple sports bar fare in the Fermentation District
A number of businesses that produce beer, hard cider, and spirits have sprung up in the Boston area over the past decade or so, and you can find concentrated pockets of such places here and there, including a section of Everett called the “Fermentation District” that used to be little more than a quiet residential and industrial area until not too long ago. Here you’ll find such spots as Night Shift Brewing, Short Path Distillery, Bone Up Brewing Co., and just across the Revere Beach Parkway, Down The Road Beer Co. and Artifact Cider Project, the latter of which is planning to move to Florence in the Pioneer Valley over the coming months.
With all of these businesses so close together and bringing people to this part of the city, you would think that there would be plenty of restaurants and bars to go to nearby, but there really aren’t, which is why a fairly new spot (opening in the summer of 2017) called the Village Bar & Grill is in a unique position in a way as it sits right in the heart of the district, and if first impressions are any indication, it has the potential to be a pretty popular place as things continue to evolve in this area.
Saying that the Village Bar & Grill is in the heart of the Fermentation District is not an understatement, as it resides in a structure attached to a warehouse that is home to Bone Up Brewing Co., is literally around the corner from Short Path Distillery, and is within sight of Night Shift Brewing about a block west, where Norman Street becomes Santilli Highway.
While its space appears to be more of a commercial/retail structure than a warehouse such as the ones that Bone Up, Short Path, and Night Shift are located in, it has a vaguely industrial feel to it, with exposed beams and pipes along the ceiling, a hardwood floor, and plain hanging bulbs. An attractive mural that celebrates the history of Everett runs along the back wall in the dining area, while a bar stretches along the wall on the other side, and a mix of high-top and low-top tables are set up throughout the space along with a pool table toward the front windows. A few partitions help break up the rather large space, giving a bit of privacy to diners, especially along the wall with the mural.
The Village Bar & Grill labels itself as a sports bar, but it feels more like your typical neighborhood eating and drinking establishment, and its menu does indeed reflect the demographics of the immediate area with a menu that has Portuguese and Brazilian influences. A real highlight here—and one that you don’t see too often at local restaurants—is a flame-grilled Portuguese chourico plate that is brought to the table on a clay roasting vessel with flames shooting out of it. The fire adds a char that gives the sausages some added flavor, and the longer it cooks, the better it tastes (within reason, of course).
A few other Portuguese/Brazilian dishes include codfish cakes; littlenecks in white wine, garlic, and oil; a “village prego” sandwich that consists of a marinated Portuguese steak on a bulkie roll; tripe stew; grilled octopus; and pork with clams and fried potatoes. Being that Everett is part of “steak tip country” (Everett, Malden, and Chelsea have many, many places for tips), you would think that the steak tips here would be good, and they are indeed excellent with tender and moderately lean meat in a zesty marinade, charred nicely on the outside.
Another item of note is the absolutely enormous chicken parmigiana plate that comes with an excellent red sauce and plenty of cheese, and it comes with enough ziti to make a meal unto itself. Diners can also opt for a thin-crust pizza that leans a bit toward New York-style with foldable slices, with two chicken options—buffalo and BBQ—being offered for toppings.
The beer list at the Village Bar & Grill is pretty impressive, which you might expect considering where it’s located, and some top beers from outside the immediate area are offered, including options from Avery, Zero Gravity, Anderson Valley, Switchback, Jack’s Abby, and Mighty Squirrel. Wine, cider, and cocktails are also available, and the latter includes a classic Brazilian drink called a caipirinha, which is made using muddled limes, sugar, and cachaca rum liquor.
Even if it weren’t in the Fermentation District, the Village Bar & Grill would be considered a place of interest in part because of its mix of Portuguese and Brazilian dishes, which moves it a bit beyond your typical sports bar that focuses more on mozzarella sticks, toasted ravioli, and the like. But the fact that is located in a rather fascinating area of warehouses where lovers of alcohol can feel like kids in a candy store makes it all the more appealing, even being a destination spot of sorts because it’s one of the only full-service sit-down options in the neighborhood. The Village Bar & Grill certainly has some great potential, and the soon-to-open casino not too far to the south can only help.
VILLAGE BAR & GRILL. 38 NORMAN ST., EVERETT. VILLAGEBAREVERETT.COM
Marc is the founder of @hiddenboston, a textbook editor, a hike leader for @AppMtnClub, and a food and travel writer and commenter for DigBoston, NBC/NECN, WBZ, WMFO and indie617.