An Industry Veteran Finds Her Post-Shift Watering Hole at Warren’s Hostel Tevere | Drink Up | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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An Industry Veteran Finds Her Post-Shift Watering Hole at Warren’s Hostel Tevere


Published August 23, 2022 at 3:55 p.m.
Updated August 24, 2022 at 10:04 a.m.

  • Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Justin Lefebvre

After a long day cooking in a Mad River Valley restaurant kitchen, I crave the social connections I found working in wine bars and restaurants in Los Angeles and Manhattan — not to mention the almost obligatory post-shift drink.

Shortly after moving to the valley in late 2021, I noticed a lack of late-night options. One evening after I finished a shift, Warren's Hostel Tevere popped up on my Google Maps search. I was intrigued. A hostel is not the first place that comes to mind when I think of a bar or restaurant, but I had driven past the place several times and decided to give it a go.

Hostel Tevere's website describes it as a four-room, 24-bed hostel "welcoming guests of all ages." The restaurant, which is open to the public, serves a pretty straightforward dinner menu from Thursday through Monday, 4:30 to 10 p.m., including burgers ($11 and up), fried or grilled chicken sandwiches ($15), and salads ($8 and up).

When diners arrive, they hear a mix of jazz, electro swing, nu jazz and deep house music over the sound system. I found the food agreeable, but the beverage program is what really shines. The upscale, dark and cool atmosphere is not at all what I expected from a hostel, pulling inspiration from early 20th-century American bars and the art deco and art nouveau movements.

Longtime friends and business partners Ryan Donnelly and Justin Lefebvre moved from Cary, N.C., and Washington, D.C., respectively, after Donnelly bought Hostel Tevere in early 2019. Lefebvre previously worked in clothing and horticulture sales and Donnelly in property management. Donnelly said he was motivated by his personal experience with, and appreciation for, hostels as an affordable lodging option.

An Industry Cocktail - JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • An Industry Cocktail

Lefebvre has primary responsibility for the beverage program. The menu includes a revolving list of 25 cocktails, ranging from well-known classics to obscure pre-Prohibition drinks to originals influenced by unique European spirits.

"European herbal liqueurs have always fascinated me," Lefebvre said. "I love using these alongside gin to create interesting and unique cocktails for a botanical party in the imbiber's mouth."

One of his finer creations is the Industry Cocktail ($16), a spirit-forward blend of Fernet-Branca, Citadelle gin, Absente absinthe, Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, and lemon and orange bitters. The floral brightness of violets in the gin melds so well with the herbaceous orange of the Fernet-Branca and the fennel notes of the absinthe that this drink will take the edge off any long workday, regardless of the drinker's industry.

The wine list is extensive, focusing on natural and biodynamic producers. In addition to highlighting lesser-known wine-producing regions in Europe, Hostel Tevere offers bottles from California, Oregon and Québec. On a recent visit, a glass of a lovely 2019 Pikasi Rebula from Slovenia ($10) went beautifully with crisp fried chicken cradled in a brioche bun. The salinity of the wine married perfectly with the rich sandwich, reminding me of the caviar and fried chicken pairing that's become a thing these days.

Vermont has plenty of local breweries to support, and Hostel Tevere does that while also offering a strong global roster, from Québec's Unibroue to Belgium's Brouwerij St. Bernardus.

On my most recent visit, a family of Parisians was at the bar. I ordered an Industry, my new "usual," and sat back in a corner. As my drink was being made, a curious Parisian inquired about it. Lefebvre provided a thorough description, pausing to describe each component as he added it.

Shortly after, the Parisians ordered a round of Industrys. Another pack of converts.

The original print version of this article was headlined "Valley Oasis"

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