An ex-girlfriend of local bartender Jeremy "Stinky" Peterson once told him that his true love in life wasn't her, but Whistler.
"I didn't realize it at the time, but it's true," said Peterson, the owner-operator of Stinky's on the Stroll, a new bar and restaurant expected to open as early as next month. "I want to do this to give back to Whistler."
If you've spent any time in the resort's local watering holes, chances are you've been served by Stinky, as he is affectionately known, a fixture of Whistler's bar scene going on 24 years. Not that you're likely to have forgotten it; Peterson has a way of making friends wherever he pulls up a stool. Over the years, he's manned the bar at the short-lived Hard Rock Café, Buffalo Bills, Tapley's, Caramba, Roland's, the Brewhouse, and, of course, his beloved Citta's, a favourite with locals that closed after nearly three decades in 2014.
With all of that experience—and beer—under his belt, it's safe to say Peterson knows what makes a good bar. Slated for the former location of Menchie's, he is treating the new venture as a love letter to his hometown.
"I'm not opening up Stinky's for me, I'm opening it up for Whistler," said Peterson, adding that he wants to draw on his passion for customer service, something he feels has been lost somewhat during Whistler's staffing shortage.
"Because we don't have the housing ... we're losing the core of people that used to live here that cared about Whistler and brought that joy," he said. "I've been in town for a while so I'm really lucky that I have some core, amazing Whistlerites that are going to join and help me out. I just love what I do, and that's what I want to show to people."
As for the menu, Peterson said it will focus on a handful of signature items done well, and he also wants to offer daily soup, salad and sandwich specials.
On the all-important beer side of things, Peterson is unsurprisingly looking to go local, wanting to feature suds from Coast Mountain Brewing and Pemberton Brewing Company along with rotating taps from other Sea-to-Sky-based breweries. He also plans to offer a handful of daily happy hours.
Overall, he's committed to keeping things affordable.
"Not cheap, not gouging, just being fair," he said.
The soundtrack will skew to Peterson's penchant for classic rock, and will be a big factor in creating the atmosphere he's going for.
"I just want to do what I used to at Citta's: Some Dead, some Doors, classic rock. Some newer stuff; doing Tragically Hip days. I'm going to maybe focus on doing an album of the day. Like, this Steely Dan album came out on this day in 1974; I'm going to play it today at 4:20 p.m.," he said. "Let's have some fun! There's nothing I can't try and do if people have an idea for me."
Peterson is also piling up old skis and snowboards from his friends that he will get them to sign for a large ski wall he's planning for the interior. "(I want them) to put their kids' names on them, so in 10 years they've got a place to bring their kids where they can show them, 'Yeah, those are my skis, and these are Stinky's,'" he explained.
Although Peterson is committed to giving the people of Whistler what they want, he's not budging on one particular aspect of the bar's décor.
"It's going to be a Habs and 49ers bar," the longtime Montreal Canadiens and San Francisco 49ers fan assured. "If I'm doing this on my own with my own money, the least I can do is call it Stinky's and have some fun. But it's not about me, it's about the people."
As Peterson readies to open, he can't help but reflect on the good times and better people he has met along the way. After all, not many of us are fortunate enough to say we've found our true purpose in life.
"I've been doing this for a long time and have kept friends with a lot of people," Peterson said. "I'm lucky. I'm the luckiest son of a bitch in the world that I wound up in Whistler and found what my real love is. If I can continue doing it, that's all I want to do."
Peterson is still looking for staff ahead of opening day, expected for May 11*. Anyone interested can send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Editor's Note: The print version of this article said that Peterson was planning to open Stinky's on the Stroll on Cinco de Mayo. Since publication, the opening day has been postponed until May 11.