Newly-Opened Village Pub Aiming as ‘Community Center’ - TribPapers

Newly-Opened Village Pub Aiming as ‘Community Center’

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Biltmore – With The Village Pub, owner Keith Davis wanted to provide something he hasn’t seen enough of in Asheville – a big sports bar with a lot of local beers all under the same roof.

“We have a lot of breweries, but not many places with over 60 local Asheville beers in one place,” he said.

The bar and restaurant have only been open for around five weeks and are located on Fairview Road just around the corner from Historic Biltmore Village retail stores. Davis said the impetus for the idea came when he looked at his surroundings near his furniture shop, Davis Home Furniture, next door.

“I recognized that this area was growing so fast,” he said. “And there was so little like this in this area, a very large bar, more of a pub, focused on party pub foods.”

He’s been running businesses for two decades; aside from the furniture store, he owns various businesses, including an auction company, an antiques store, a chain of hardware stores, and a gift and home accessory store.

On why he’s run so many different types of businesses, his answer was blunt: “It makes life interesting.”

But this is his first pass at running a bar and restaurant, which he’s doing with a business partner, local real estate attorney Zeno Lancaster.

The Village Pub has a high ceiling, and the floors and walls are all bright, warm wood tones. On a Thursday, the bar is packed full of people, and the tables are all fully seated with a wait list. The menu is full of various burgers, hot dogs, and wings, among other things, and there are rows of TVs hung high on the walls, all displaying various sports games.

Davis says he was fortunate that the two dozen local breweries he courted to stock their beer in his restaurant were enthusiastic.

“We approached several breweries, and they came out and saw the location,” he said. “They were very excited. They wanted their beer in the pub.”

Davis said he’s been overseeing the construction of the restaurant for the past year and a half, after owning the building for the past eight years, saying he’d just “fallen in love” with the location. Thus far, he had nothing but good things to say about the business; the customers had already taken to it, with several already becoming regulars, getting to know the bartenders, and coming in to meet their friends as well as new people at the bar. The goal, he said, was to “organize a true community center,” making the Village Pub a place where people could congregate.

As for his employees, Davis said it was his goal to create a welcoming atmosphere that paid them well and allowed them to live the way they wanted. Davis told The Tribune that he pays “beyond a living wage—well beyond.”

“I wanted people to be proud to be a part of this,” he said. “I wanted them to be able to provide for their families and everything they need. I think a business is unsustainable if it exists just to benefit one person.”

His future plans include developing 40 acres of land at a location he owns in Weaverville, located on Reems Creek Road at the site where the old Balcrank Factory used to stand. There, he wants to build a second Village Pub location, which will involve an outdoor location where live music can be played, along with a distillery and brewery operation to make their own beer and spirits. He said he hopes to start that by the beginning of 2023 and get it open by the end of the year.

But for now, with the newly-opened Village Pub, Davis said he was glad to be serving customers.
“Over the last 30 years, I’ve lived as a serial entrepreneur, and I’ve never done anything more fun [than operating the Village Pub],” he said. “It’s been a great pleasure in every way, to build this and to work with this great team. I’ve never done anything I enjoyed more.”