The Hippo


May 28, 2020








Inside the Lobby. Courtesy photo.

The Lobby Bar

Where: The Grand at Bedford Village Inn, 2 Olde Bedford Way, Bedford
Hours: Monday and Tuesday, 3:30 to 10 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday, 3:30 to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Contact: 472-2001,

The Lobby experience
New BVI space features creative menu, intimate setting

By Angie Sykeny

 With unique menu items like duck corn dogs and truffle popcorn, and homey furnishings like leather couches and a stone fireplace, the Bedford Village Inn’s new Lobby Bar is unlike any other dining space at the inn.

“We did that on purpose, to create a different kind of experience for people,” BVI President Jack Carnevale said. “Our regular dining rooms are more formal, the Tavern is more historic, Corks [Wine Bar] is urban-chic, but the Lobby is a more relaxed version of all of those. … It feels like a family room in a private home.”  
The Lobby Bar opened in June as part of BVI’s new boutique hotel, The Grand, and is open to both hotel guests and the general public. Between the leather couches and chairs and the U-shaped wooden bar, it can accommodate about 50 guests, plus an additional 30 guests on its adjoining patio when weather permits.
The menu consists of inventive small plates like the bahn mi lettuce wrap made with roast chicken, kimchi, pickled vegetables and sesame; duck confit poutine, made with slow-cooked duck, Vermont cheddar curds and roasted garlic foie gras gravy; and grilled housemade bacon with a local maple bourbon glaze. There are also more traditional options like shrimp cocktail, oysters on the half shell and mini burgers.
The small plates can be ordered individually as a light meal or combined with other plates to make a full meal or be shared among a group.
“We wanted to set a distinction for the Lobby Bar in terms of the culinary side of things,” Carnevale said. “It’s not a place to have a sit-down meal with one course after another. It’s more of a fun menu. It’s fun to go through the selections and put things together and experience different tastes.”
In addition to the small plates, the menu has a modest selection of chowders, salads and sandwiches, as well as desserts like the chocolate bag, made with white and dark chocolate mousses and an assortment of berries and chambord sponge cake. Diners can also request a dessert from the inn’s more expansive bakery menu.
The Lobby Bar features its own selection of cocktails, wines and draft beers which were carefully chosen to complement the food, atmosphere and clientele.   
Its assemblage of wines is displayed in a wooden cabinet nestled next to the bar, while turquoise pillows and accessories add a pop of color to the wood and leather furnishings. On chilly nights, the stone fireplace adds an additional level of warmth to the space.
Carnevale, who designed much of the Lobby Bar himself, said his inspiration came from a 1930s Vietnamese buffet chest. With its weathered yet vibrant turquoise paint, the piece stands as a focal point in the evening and is put to use in the mornings for the continental breakfast buffet offered to hotel guests.  
“That’s how the Lobby Bar evolved,” he said. “The color scheme and the whole feel of it was created with the buffet piece in mind.”
But unlike some of the newer urban lobby bars with “funky art, hard seating and whatever the designer wants to showcase,” Carnevale said the primary focus of BVI’s Lobby Bar is the comfort of the guests.
“In a more intimate setting, people are more inclined to talk to one another, and I think there was a need for a place [like the lobby],” he said. “It’s very warm and cozy, and you can actually hear your conversations. I think that’s what people really enjoy about it.”  

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