Located at 137 Center Street, The Village Tavern is a favorite bar and restaurant for many. Its presence is embedded not only in the present day culture of the area, but also in Geneseo’s history. The building originally opened in 1821 as a stagecoach shop. In the years following, it transitioned multiple times from private residence to bar and inn. Village Tavern itself will celebrate its fifth year of business in September.
Village Tavern prides itself on creating a space welcoming to all clientele. It’s an environment that caters to anyone, including families, locals, college students and people simply passing through town. Front of House manager Sheena Caito ’11 emphasized the idea that it’s not known as a hangout spot for any specific kind of patron.
“I like the fact that it’s a balance of customers—both locals and residents—because I feel like a lot of places in the area are one or the other,” Caito said. “Our old logo said, ‘Where friends and family come to meet,’ and it’s true. You can come here on any given night and it’s a strong possibility you’ll bump into someone you know.”
Boasting more than 20 taps, Village Tavern is known especially for its craft beers, providing customers with a unique selection of drink. Craft cans and bottles are available as well. “We know a lot about craft beer and we’re very excited about it,” Caito said. “We have a lot of rare and limited stuff and we do beer tastings for customers the first Wednesday of each month.”
New owner Craig Chiara seems to be highly focused on making sure he upholds the traditions of the establishment while also implementing fresh changes, such as the new menu. “[Chiara] is an awesome addition to the business,” Caito said. “He really wanted to add things to the menu based on input from customers and the items they regularly requested.”
According to Caito, the updated menu has proved successful. “We didn’t change the concept of the food selection—it is a tavern after all—we just made some changes and added some things, including healthier options,” she said.
The menu includes appetizers, wings, full entrées, burgers, desserts and more. “We’ve gotten a lot of comments on the new menu, a lot of positive feedback, and I feel we’ve become even busier since releasing it,” Caito said.
While the tavern considers itself more of a craft bar than a sports bar, there is no doubt that it draws a crowd during game days and oftentimes hosts events for big sports occurrences like the Super Bowl. With televisions positioned throughout both the bar and restaurant area, patrons of Village Tavern can eat or drink without missing out on watching their teams.
During warmer months, Village Tavern draws some of its biggest crowds, offering one of the largest outdoor eating areas in Geneseo. “A lot of times in the summer, our entire outdoor seating will be packed, but many customers just arriving would rather wait for a table to open up instead of eating inside or leaving,” Caito said.
Village Tavern has rich links to Geneseo history and gives customers an authentic experience. Students and locals all seem to appreciate its presence and unique craft beer specialty. Employees also seem to have a genuine fondness of the place and management. “I really love my job and I’m not just saying that. I started out part time here to supplement another job and I continued to be offered more and more hours,” Caito said. “I’ve made some great friends; I feel lucky to be working here.”