Villa Nova – Home of the BIG Beer
Posted by cmh gourmand on December 28, 2006
5545 N High St.
Villa Nova is about 1/3 bar and 2/3 restaurant. As you walk through the door – you can turn left for some reasonably priced Italian fare or right for the Bar. If it is Monday to Friday between 4 PM and 7 PM – turn right – and try to find a spot in one of the best value Happy Hours in town.
Villa Nova is Home of the BIG Beer.
One regular refers to these as BABS – BigAssBeerS
I grew up near Villa Nova – but I did not discover or appreciate the bar side until 2001. I was smitten by the good deals. In 2002, I did 15 Friday Happy Hours in a row. Back then, the only downside I could see was the aroma of ashtray that would permeate into my pores after 10 minutes inside – but that was resolved by the smoking ban. (With no effect on the business.) Today – the only downside I see is wanting to eat more free food that I should.
First, let’s start with the big beer – $3 gives you a 1 liter frosted mug of Hoster’s Gold Top, $2.50 serves up a lesser beer – like Killians. We are talking 33 ounces of bliss. But wait – there is MORE. Happy Hour features FREE FOOD – a 3-4 foot sub, wings, popcorn, and pizza. On Fridays – you can expect a cheese tray and usually other miscellaneous goodies that do not appear on the regular menu such as taquitos as well as other fried foods. But wait there’s more – on alternate Fridays – the best bar crew in town is on duty – Kelli, James and (barback) Angel. They ROCK.
The crowd is about 80% regulars with a hardcore group of “more senior” patrons hitting the food hard from 4:00 to about 6:00 PM. The bar has some character and is frequented by some characters as well. However – anyone can fit in here and after a beer or two you will feel at home. It is worth the effort to get there early to stake out some space and a chair – because it gets crowded quickly. Another thing to watch out for – after two Big Beers, something clicks in your head that says a third big beer is a great idea (DON’T DO IT!!!!). The next thing you know multiple Washington Apples and shots of Uzo seem like good ideas too.
As a side note – the restaurant was one of my favorites growing up. Villa Nova has some good specials. On Sunday there is usually an All You Can Eat Perch Special (I am allergic to Fish, but my friends like it a lot) and a Spagetti Special that includes soup, salad, breadsticks, ice cream, and pasta topped with a meatball and Italian sausage for about $7.
And in 2004, this was the starting line of my Clintonville Pub Crawl – 12 hours, 13 bars and a long walk home… but that is another story.