I can hardly believe it’s been almost two years since Alex Sadeghi, Jimmy Kessinger, Mark Byard, Greg Phelps, and Jerry Yerich opened the doors of Village Pub. In that short time it has become a Wilton Manors staple, and it’s known throughout the country. To celebrate their second anniversary, they have eight days of events planned:
On Thursday, October 2, in association with Wanda Wednesday, they present Throwback Thursday, featuring Tiny Tina, Cathy Craig and Tiffany Arieagus! Then on Friday and Saturday, October 3 and 4, they want you to come by and win a chance to spin the Anniversary Prize Wheel, with giveaways all day and night. On Sunday, October 5 at 9 p.m., Del Shores of Sordid Lives fame performs his one-man show, Del Shores: My Sordid Best!
On Monday, October 6 at 8:30 p.m. is Village Pub’s annual staff turnabout, “Dungeons and Drag Queens!”, a benefit for the Village Pub VIPs SmartRIDE team. On Tuesday, October 7 at 9:30 p.m., Electra salutes Broadway in Electra: Living the Legends! On Wednesday, October 8 at 8 p.m. RSVP Cruise legends Amy Armstrong and Freddy Allen take the stage! Chicago’s dynamic duo are an anniversary tradition at Village Pub. Amy and Freddy then finish out the weeklong celebration on Thursday night, October 9 at 9:30 p.m. October 9 is the actual date Village Pub opened two years ago.
A couple of weeks before celebrating their anniversary, I was privileged to sit down with some of the owners of Village Pub to talk about the past, the present and the future.
What made you open Village Pub?
When Alex came to the U.S. as a tourist, he fell in love with Wilton Manors and wanted to move here. Legally he had to invest money to stay. He met Jerry and then George Kessinger, who made him realize that he wanted to open a bar. Alex and Jerry looked at many places and then one day they went to Tropics for brunch and noticed that this location was available. They contacted the landlord and signed the contract. Subsequently, George introduced Alex to Greg, Mark and Jimmy, all of whom were well established in the local gay bar industry for years and who also wanted to open a bar. That’s how the team was formed and George agreed to consult for us.
Is George Kessinger still consulting for Village Pub?
Once Village Pub was built out, George went his way and we went our way, but he is still a big supporter of the bar and will always be a part of the Village Pub family.
What was the goal when you all opened up Village Pub?
We set out to open up a friendly neighborhood bar that serves our community and would become a place where everyone can be comfortable hanging out and feeling at home.
Did anything change from the original design?
Yes, after the design we decided to fill the empty space with a small dance floor, and because of that we turned into something we didn’t plan for, but we are very happy we did it. We feel that what your business becomes is partly what you originally wanted and partly what the community wants, and we are so grateful that the community has embraced us. Basically we are a neighborhood bar with a dance floor.
Why do you think the community has embraced Village Pub so much?
We do our best to create an environment where everybody feels comfortable and feels like family. We try to treat our customers like it’s their place, and we have a wonderful staff that helps us to achieve that. In addition we support a lot of not-for-profits in our community.
Since you brought it up, what not-for-profits does the Pub support?
To name a few, we support the SMARTRide (last year our riders raised over $50,000), Kids in Distress (we are having a wreath auction on December 11, hosted by Electra), Poverello, AIDS Walk Florida, and of course we give a lot to various sports teams.
What does the upcoming year have in store for Village Pub?
This upcoming year we are focused on giving the community even more quality entertainment. We already have booked Jerry Halliday and “Dueling Drag Divas” Chi Chi and Joanna who have performed in Puerto Vallarta and Ogunquit. In addition we have plans for food service, modifying the video systems, restroom upgrades and additional air conditioning units. We are always reinvesting the profits so that the community feels comfortable and happy at VP.
Remember, Village Pub will be celebrating their second anniversary from Thursday, October 2 through Thursday, October 9, featuring various events and performances daily. For more information, visit them at VillagePubWM.com.