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Black’s takes a bow

Local pub celebrates 25 years on Whistler’s F&B scene with new event and lots of live entertainment



David Branigan has memories of some vintage musical moments from Whistler. He spent almost 12 years, from 1988 to 2000, on the local scene, working in the food and beverage industry, helping to build the Longhorn and the ill-fated AlpenRock House. He also wrote for the Pique for five years and helped organize some major concerts.

"We definitely had some great shows (and) probably one of the biggest ones I was involved with was when Ashley MacIsaac first came out with his Hi, How Are You Today? disc, which was big domestically and kind of started to explode," he recalled.

"We sold out in, like, minutes on that show."

Eventually, Branigan made his way to Victoria, where he managed the Shark Club and Station House, and converted the Ingraham Hotel into a live room. Then he and his wife opened a business in Kelowna where Branigan got his Marine Captain ticket - they built their own ship to host corporate dine and dance cruises. But he couldn't resist the lure of Whistler.

"When the Olympics were coming up I just really couldn't resist the excitement. I came for a family vacation at Christmas and saw some old friends, and felt the hype and the energy, and felt it was time to come home," Branigan explained.

He was back for February 1, "the quietest two weeks I've ever seen in Whistler," and just in time for the Olympic and Paralympic experience.

"I'm very pleased I came back and was part of that - the energy obviously throughout the village was unbelievable and we were right there, we got a lot of feed off the Sliding Centre when (Jon) Montgomery won... and that whole army came down." He paused and laughed, "I have no idea where that jug of beer came from, certainly!"

Now, after a 10-year hiatus, Branigan is back, taking over the role of pub manager at Black's Pub, which is celebrating its 25 th year in business; quite an impressive feat in this town.

"It's an ever-changing market, there has been a lot that's happened over those 25 years," Branigan pointed out.

To mark the occasion, Black's has launched a new food and crafted cocktail menu, and even introduced a brand-new night, Take A B.O.W. (which stands for Bar Owner Whistler), the new Old School Locals' Thursdays. The evening will see industry friends, hospitality legends and longtime Whistlerites invited in to act as bar owner at the boutique pub for a night. They get to live large for the night with a complimentary bar tab, dinner and the selection of theme and entertainment for the evening.

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