When Helen Poon and the staff at the Kingsway Pub threw open on the doors on the newly renovated pub last weekend, locals and longtime patrons were keen to see the transformation.
After closing in late February to revamp and revitalize the old building near Harbour Quay, the grand re-opening was a welcome event for those who had missed their familiar ‘local.’ At the same time, those looking for a more up-to-date offering were also keen to visit.
Here’s what they found … and why you should stop by!
An updated décor: Beer-soaked carpets and low ceilings are gone and in their place are airy, 12-foot ceilings and a welcome surprise: a beautiful original fir floor. “We wanted to offer something for the young people and visitors to Port Alberni, but retain some of those elements for the locals, too. It’s important to preserve the history of the building,” Poon says. “There’s a lot of loyalty here and we’re very grateful for that.”
A nod to the past: Part of restoring the landmark building includes retaining those links to the past, Poon notes. A focal wall offers a contemporary nod to the community’s logging heritage, with natural timber rounds in various sizes running floor to ceiling.
Renovations also revealed a wealth of hidden treasures that will be proudly showcased in the refurbished pub, including a collection of classic beer bottles and a number of old paintings depicting the local community – estimated from around the 1920s and ’30s – discovered inside the walls during renovations. These and a large collection of photos of patron-owned fishing vessels will be framed and proudly displayed.
Updated offerings: The merging of traditional tastes with modern flavours continues at the bar. When Poon bought the Kingsway, two beers flows from the taps: Labatts Blue and Lucky. Those two remain, but they’re joined by year-round pours from Steamworks and local favourites Twin City Brewing, plus six rotating taps from across BC. Food options are also in the works.
Activities & entertainment: There’s plenty of activity around the 22-foot shuffleboard table and pool table, and a new music stage is set to welcome bands from all over the world.
Still to come in the phased renovation is the transformation of the hotel portion of the building – to become executive-style apartments available for monthly rentals.
And for those missing popular events like music bingo and meat draws, those will return. “We definitely want to continue supporting the community,” Poon says.
“The feedback has been tremendous, really. People have come in and loved what we’ve done and like that we’re taking a chance on Port Alberni.”