Hidden Gems of Whistler’s Après Scene
The tradition of après may have originated in France, but in true Whistler fashion, a local spin has been put on it. Here, you can après any way from playing family-style board games to vodka tasting in an ice room. Below, we’ve put a list together of some of Whistler’s hidden après gems running the full gamut, and don’t forget – you can après anything and everything, you’ve just got to be in that celebratory spirit!
Where to Get Social
Pangea Pod Hotel
While you’d be hard pressed to find a Whistler bar where you couldn’t strike up a conversation with friendly people, the Pangea Pod has gone a step further to help you break the ice. In The Living Room you can find game nights, communal tables and special events such as speed dating. The Rooftop Patio lends itself well to casual conversation and admiring the views. The hotel also caters to solo travellers, which makes this a great place to go if you’re by yourself – you might even find a few new ski buddies for the next day.
Known locally as the Fitz, this pub invites you in with its worn wood, welcoming bar and plush, sink-right-in couches. They call themselves “Whistler’s Coziest Pub” and it’s easy to see why. All this coziness naturally makes it a laid-back place to meet and chat with others, even play a board game or two. They also have a reputation for the best selection of whiskys in town.
Where to Drink Craft Beer
HandleBar Cafe and Après
Whenever I step into HandleBar I feel like I’ve walked into the modern, hole-in-the-wall, bar version of Pac-Man. Their bright yellow tap system flows with a rotation of BC’s best craft beer. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a tap takeover. They serve food traditionally paired with craft beer like pretzels, fried pickles and sausages that’ll fill you up after a day on the mountain. My personal favourite item on the menu? The Red Hot Cauliflower Wings. It’s worth mentioning that this is a local hangout, so don’t expect to be treated any different than your average Whistler ski bum.
Hunter Gather Eatery & Taphouse
Hunter Gather is like no other place in Whistler. It’s a bar and counter-serve establishment, but with a quality of food and drink that could rival any sit-down restaurant. This style keeps it casual and spacious, while nailing atmosphere and value. Craft beer from Whistler breweries are heavily featured on tap here, including limited seasonal editions like Coast Mountain’s Opening Daze IPA. Not ones to do anything status quo, they have rare beer tap takeovers, so you might just have the chance to sample beer you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else.
Much has already been said on our beloved local breweries so I’ll leave it up to you to peruse the entries on Whistler Brewing, Coast Mountain Brewing and the Brewhouse. But I will tell you, there are tours available so you can visit each brewery, learn a little, and not worry about who’s going to be the designated driver.
While Stonesedge may feature a smaller selection of craft beers than those above, it’s carefully curated. Beyond beer, they also have a hearty selection of tequila and mocktails. They also offer late night eats from 10 PM – 1 AM, which is perfect if your après session has rolled into a night out. This tucked away location also offers outdoor seating – cozy firepit included.
Where to Listen to Live Music
SIDECUT Modern Steak+Bar at the Four Seasons Whistler
SIDECUT is a steakhouse and bar which might not scream après to you right away but, one of Whistler’s favourite bands, The Hairfarmers, plays here on Thursdays throughout the winter. If you want to catch them live while sipping on a beautifully made craft cocktail then this is the place.
While we’re talking about the Four Seasons Whistler it would be remiss not to mention their other après ventures, like the Vintage Camper and Let’s Ramen restaurant. The Vintage Camper is the cutest (and only) place to drink a hot chocolate with a tipsy snowman, and Let’s Ramen is a new (and temporary) pop-up restaurant with funky mural work by local artist Kris Kupskay.
Cure Lounge & Patio at Nita Lake Lodge
Sitting on the scenic shores of Nita Lake, Cure Lounge is a stone’s throw away from the Creekside Gondola. Cross the highway and you’ll find this sophisticated, yet let-your-hair-down, après venue. How does it combine the two? A live DJ, modern ski-chalet interior and craft cocktails inspired by the elements. The lounge also has drink and dining specials each night of the week and is vegetarian and vegan friendly.
The Mallard Lounge and Terrace at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler
The Mallard Lounge offers après ski with live performances from rotating music ranging from folk to rock, indie to classical, every day from 3:30 to 5:50 PM. They also have a Chocolate Bar where you can order a flight of decadent treats – a different spin on the typical après nacho platter.
Where to Take the Family
Family Après at Whistler Olympic Plaza
On Mondays and Wednesday from now until March you can take the kids for free activities, games and entertainment to Family Après from 3 – 6 PM at Whistler Olympic Plaza. You can also go for an ice skate or take a toboggan to sled down the snow mounds for hours of fun.
Insider Tip: Look out for the blue, round toboggans as these are owned by the Resort Municipality of Whistler and are free for you to use if you don’t have your own.
Gnarly Roots is right there to grab an easy (and delicious) slice of pizza or cone of locally-made gelato. There’s purebread for sweet and savoury baked goods you’ll be dreaming about long after you leave Whistler, and both Blenz and Starbucks if you need a hot beverage to keep you warm while the kids play.
Where to Find Adventure
Canadian Classic Snowmobile Tour
Have you ever dreamed of hanging out in an igloo? Well, you can get pretty darn close with Canadian Wilderness Adventures. They’ve created a snow dome, inspired by the iconic northern structure, on Blackcomb Mountain, that you take a snowmobile tour to. Clear ice panels make up the roof so you can stargaze and stay cozy inside with your well earned, post-snowmobile après. If snowmobiling isn’t your thing, you can also reach it by snowcat.
Après Snowshoe Teepee Tour
Another Indigenous Peoples of Canada traditional structure, the teepee, has been brought to Whistler by Blackcomb Snowmobile Adventures. Enjoy a guided snowshoe tour under the night sky before cozying up in the teepee for a mulled drink and charcuterie après.
These are only a few of the off the beaten path après options out here, we’ve left plenty for you to discover on your own! To get an idea of where each is located, check out the map below.