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Classic Peninsula: The Village Pub

By Alisha Green

Tim Stannard.

There’s a reason The Village Pub in Woodside has the 2018 seal of approval
from Forbes Travel Guide as “Verified Luxury” — it brings a whole new level of elegance to what the “pub” label might otherwise evoke. Since opening its doors in 2001, The Village Pub has made a name for itself as one of the top dining experiences in the Bay Area and earned one Michelin star along the way. Guests flock here for the warm, relaxing ambience while they settle into a luxurious red chair at one of the white-cloth tables or pick a bar seat by the cozy fireplace.

It’s a place that hasn’t changed much in the nearly two decades it has been open, and it hasn’t needed to. The Village Pub was the first restaurant in what’s become a suite of eateries run by Bacchus Management Group, co-founded by food industry veterans Tim Stannard, Andrew Green, Mark Sullivan and Brannin Beal. Stannard confesses it was sort of an accidental evolution and expansion after The Village Pub.

“We never intended to be more than one restaurant,” he says. “We just kind of keep finding really fun things to do and interesting people to work with, and when those two things come together it is really hard to say no.”

In a culinary landscape flush with haute cuisine and experiential dining, the Village Pub refocuses the lens on hyperlocal ingredients and a dedication to organic eating, from harvest to table.

The Village Pub embodies the elements that have made the other Bacchus sites so popular: a focus on quality control that begins with each dish, extends to the wine and spirits list, and even the coffee.

“The more we can control the raw products that come in the back door of the kitchen — making sure they are pristine and perfect and world-class — the more likely we are to be in a position to put world-class stuff on your plate or in your cup or in your glass,” as Stannard puts it. “Plus, it’s just fun.”

The Village Pub draws people in with executive chef Sullivan’s approach to New American cuisine and a menu that revolves around the best of what’s in season. The organic ingredients are sourced from 5½ acres of a nearby Bacchus farm in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

The wine and spirits list spans more than 100 pages, sure to keep the most discerning oenophiles and spirits connoisseurs happy. A visit offers a chance to taste one-of-a-kind drinks, too, such as Bacchus’ line of seasonal gins and a German Riesling from Josef Rosch. The Village Pub team even worked with distiller Julian Van Winkle to craft an exclusive single-barrel Kentucky bourbon and with Glenfarclas distillery on an exclusive single-malt scotch.

The Village Pub approach to quality can be found in the growing suite of Bacchus eateries including Spruce and The Saratoga in San Francisco, Mayfield Bakery & Cafe in Palo Alto, and four Pizza Antica locations throughout the Bay Area.

And the Bacchus realm keeps growing: As a Woodside resident since 2007, there was only one thing for Stannard to do in 2016 when he saw that the town might be losing the Woodside Bakery — so he took on a year-long renovation of the site, which sits just down Woodside Road from The Village Pub.

As renovations were ongoing at the bakery, the adjacent retail space became available, allowing Stannard to turn it into an adjoining cafe. The totally overhauled site reopened last summer as the Village Bakery.

Like its sister property The Village Pub but at a lower price point, visitors to the cafe will find abundant local influence on the menu and wine list, with food sourced from the same nearby organic farm and a selection of wines from small producers around Woodside, Portola Valley and the Santa Cruz Mountains.

“We really want to center the restaurant in the community,” Stannard says.

If the success of The Village Pub is any indication, the Bacchus team is in a good position to carry on that legacy.

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