Good Craic, Good Times!
The Things That Make an Irish Pub Great:
Irish Pubs are as popular now in North American drinking culture as Budweiser and beer pong. And they fit perfectly into ski resort culture for so many reasons - all great communities have one or more that have become an institution. There’s the Dubh Linn Gate at Whistler, St James’ Gate in Banff, The Irish Heather in Vancouver and now The Blarney Stone at Big White!
So what makes the best, true Irish style pubs stand apart from the manufactured “plastic paddy” tourist destinations pushing T-Shirts and Leprechaun souvenirs? The team at The Blarney Stone have considered this question in every aspect of their plans to bring a little bit of the Emerald Isle to beautiful Big White:
1. Great Food: Believe it or not, Pubs are some of the only places to enjoy traditional Irish fare in Ireland. If you want proper Steak & Guinness Pie, Bangers & Mash or Seafood Chowder you’re going to have to venture into a bar. The menu style should always remain rustic and comforting, but the tastier and more well prepared the grub, the better the pub. The Blarney Stone menu will be classic Irish gastro pub fayre, equally family & foodie friendly, and with portions to satisfy the most active of skiers or riders....and the best breakfast buffet to start your day right. Check the restaurant page for the early season menu to be unveiled soon!
2. Character and Characters: Traditional outstanding pubs in Ireland are not adorned floor to ceiling with trinkets and corny signs covering every inch of open space. This look would be the look of a bar that is attempting to look like a traditional pub but taking it way too far. The ambience of a true Irish pub should be relaxed with rustic interiors, comfy stools and benches with lots of wood tables and bar space. A fireplace might throw a soft glow on a few classic photos, maps and other tasteful decor.....and a warm hearth to perch on with pint in hand on a mid winter Big White day will be one of the best seats in the house!
And of course it can’t be a great pub without the quintessential salty Irishman drinking alone at the bar at any time of day. That might be Paul Doherty, genuinely Irish co-owner of The Blarney Stone if Jude will give him the day off or it might be Jono O’Connor or Joey Macauley the 2 Aussie Bar Managers who are milking the throwback to their Irish roots to the full this season. Without one or two of these, there really is no character.
3. No Music (Unless it is being performed): The one thing the Irish cherish almost as much as a perfect pint is a rousing conversation. So, background music is just a distraction from their chief pub pursuits: drinking and talking. If you hear classic rock tunes oozing out of speakers from all over the bar, you are probably in a tourist pub. The Blarney Stone, like it’s sister restaurant Globe, will be all about great food, great drinks and great conversation!
4. Music: “May the sound of happy music, and the lilt of Irish laughter fill your heart with gladness, that stays forever after”. The pub really is the heart of Irish music. Many watering holes in Dublin and Belfast city centres boast live music every night of the week. The Blarney Stone will support local up and coming local live music acts as well as featuring established Celtic bands from the Okanagan and beyond. Live music every weekend throughout the season!
5. No TV (Unless it’s Rugby or Hurling): TV, unlike music, is a means to an end at an Irish pub. People only want to see one thing on the screen while they are kicking back a few pints: Sports. That isn’t to say that we wouldn’t share the latest snowboarding movie if it was too good to miss. Usually though if a traditional Irish pub has a TV at all, it would be tucked away in a corner and only used to show important matches. Otherwise, it stays off.
6. Affordable Drinks: Anything over 5 Euros for a pint in Ireland is considered too much. Sadly good ol’ BC Liquor taxes will make it hard for us to continue that particular part of authentic Irish culture, however there will always be a $5 beer special at The Blarney Stone, plus a wide range of local Okanagan craft bottled beers and the full selection of fine Irish Ales poured as full 20 oz imperial pints! The Guinness in any Irish pub should of course be legendary and for those Guinness virgins at Big White, you’ll be able to try “a mini pint” 5 oz of the black stuff poured beautifully into an authentic mini glass because after all “Guinness is Good for You”! Interesting wines, classic cocktails and a 40+ bottle whiskey selection will complete the line up for your drinking pleasure this season.
7. The Welcome: Like joining a huge traditional Irish family for dinner, the pub should always have a friendly face and a warm welcome to greet you at the door. The “gift of the gab” (legend has it that if you kiss the Blarney Stone in Cork you are blessed with this ability forever)...it’s more than just a personality trait in all those who will form The Blarney Stone team this winter. It is a part of the passion for providing exemplary customer service that we share with everyone who joins us. Talk to our guests, find out about their day, give them all the information they need to make this ski holiday their best yet! Like over the road at Globe Tapas, that’s just how we roll.
8. Great Craic!: Pronounced ‘crack,’ this uniquely Irish concept loosely translates to “news, gossip, fun, entertainment, and enjoyable conversation”. It is also described as the state of positive energy, good moods, friendly conversation and robust enjoyment. It is definitely not a state of belligerence after too many pints, nor is it a fake, manufactured feeling of delight. When you’ve got just the right amount of Guinness in you, you are unknowingly tapping your foot along to the music, and all of your friends are quick witted, interesting and attractive, you are in the Craic.
Come visit us at The Blarney Stone Irish Tavern on Friday September 13th (the luck of the Irish!) for the pre season opening party, followed on Friday December 13th by “The Blarney Stone Grand Opening Céilí” with live music, dancing and beer. For more info on renovation progress and coming menu temptations visit and like the Blarney Stone on Facebook.
The Blarney Stone Irish Tavern looks forward to welcoming you to share a pint and some craic with us!