About a week ago my department manager decided to treat her employees to a couple drinks and some appetizers for the holidays. We decided to go to this place called the Village Tavern just around the corner from where we work. They've been open since September and a fellow employee said she had been there for lunch and really enjoyed it.
We get there and the place is completely empty, which is not a good sign. The town we're located in has an active nightlife pretty much every night of the week except Mondays, so it was kind of weird we were the only group in there. There were about 12 of us in the group and the waitress seemed a little frazzled even though we were the only people there, but she was decent enough.
Anyway, we sit down and order drinks, and shortly after ordering a couple little flies start buzzing around. Whatever, no big deal, I managed to kill the little annoyances but within minutes a few more had shown up. Our drinks arrived, and a couple people got beers that came with slices of orange which attracted more flies. I kept killing them and literally had a pile of dead flies growing on the floor next to me. I had ordered a chocolate martini that had Bailey's in it. Bailey's, as most people probably know, isn't clear so I didn't noticed the two or three little black things floating in my drink for awhile. When I first found them, I thought they were little chocolate chips, then I put two and two together and scooped one out. Dead fly. I felt sick. I pushed the drink aside and didn't touch it after that.
While that was happening the waitress had brought out bread for the table. The bread looked good (plus we were all starving by now) but the moment the butter touched the table flies swarmed it. And I mean the butter was COVERED in little black flies. One of my coworkers flagged down the waitress and asked her to take it away from the table and the waitress just kind of mumbled an apology and disappeared after that. A couple minutes later a different server brought out the appetizers we ordered, and the food even without the flies wasn't great. I took one bite of a chicken finger and it immediately had a funky taste like the meat was past its date, and the nachos weren't great either. They were cold, and the cheese was just liquid cheese like you would get at a cheap fair instead of real cheese, and because it was cold it was congealing, and the chili had a weird texture, kind of dog foody...I think it was from a can even though the menu said homemade. I know I sound food snobby there but seriously, for the price they were charging (just under $10) we were expecting real cheese and chili.
Anyway, so of course with the food came more of those flies. After 5 minutes or so the table was covered in flies, I looked over at my manager at one point and there were flies crawling all over her glass and floating in her unfinished beer. At this point no one was touching the food, and none of us had finished our drinks because it was just stomach turning. My manager asked me to go to a pub down the street and ask for a table for us there and we would move the party there. On my way out one of my other coworkers who was running late came in, so I stopped him and told him to come with me to the new place, and I starting explaining to him about the flies and in the middle of talking to him the owner of the place just comes out from behind a wall behind us and announces "I heard everything!" It was really...bizarre the way he chose to approach us.
So, I explained to him that we decided to leave early because the flies were just too much and people didn't want to eat here. He apologized and explained that it's an issue they're trying to take care of but he can't have an exterminator come in while people are eating, but the exterminator is refusing to come at night. Then he says "But don't worry. They're not fruit flies. They're drain flies. They're coming out of the drains in the sink." That made me almost throw up. Supposedly (according to my father) drain flies are cleaner than fruit flies somehow, but all I could think of was "Oh my God, those things have been living in filth and they were touching our food and drinks!" My coworker and I left right after he said that because I seriously thought I was going to be sick. We went and got a table at the pub and waited for the rest of the party to show up. When they did, my manager told me that she complained too, and the owner just kind of shrugged, and that was it. She was kind of hoping he would have at least comped the appetizers because we barely touched them, but he did nothing.
The next day out of curiosity I checked the Yelp reviews for this place and they're not great, and I found a review from back in October where people were complaining about flies being all over the place. I mean, I get it, it's a relatively new business, and the owner doesn't want to shut down and lose money, but when you have an infestation that bad shouldn't you be more active in trying to take care of it? It seems like they're just giving themselves a bad rep by staying open when they know they have this issue. I dunno, it was just ick. I feel sick even thinking about it...