Apres Ski in Whistler
Whistler is world-class both on- and off-the-mountain. In addition to outstanding skiing for all abilities, apres-ski and dining out in Whistler is as good as it gets in North America with an abundance of bars, restaurants, nightlife, shops and other activities to choose from.
Whistler ski resort comprises includes four village bases: Whistler Village and Upper Village Blackcomb (which are most convenient for the slopes), Village North and Whistler Creek.
Whistler Village and Upper Village (Blackcomb), about 10 minutes’ walk apart, offer easy access to both Whistler and Blackcomb Mountain lift systems. Whistler Village extends northward for just over half a mile (1 km) to Village North, and Whistler Creek (the original Whistler base station) is nearly two miles (3 km) away from the main centre.
The Whistler and Valley Express (WAVE) Transit system includes free shuttle buses between the Upper Village and Whistler Village and a free loop down to Marketplace, where the IGA Supermarket, Post Office and Medical Clinic are located. To get to and from Whistler Creek take either the No. 1 (Creekside Express) or No.2 bus (via Nordic to Function Junction). The Creekside Base is easily identifiable by the Creekside Gondola and the imposing Legends Hotel.
In Whistler Village you can stroll through cobblestoned streets in the pedestrian-only village center. It has covered walkways in case of rain and more than 200 shops, with everything from ski gear to fashion designer labels to native artwork. If you are after something particular, chances are you can find it in the valley. Pop into the Information Centre next to the taxi loop and the staff will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.
Apres Ski Bars in Whistler
Many of Whistler’s apres-ski bars have outdoor terraces, play live music and serve food. Naturally, they all boast a lively fun atmosphere as well. Eating out in Whistler is superb with a choice of international cuisine and over 90 restaurants o choose from.
Nestled into the base of Whistler Creekside, Whistler’s original après-ski bar, Dusty’s, was established in 1965 and is home to Whistler’s sunniest patio. Rebuilt in 2000 and a favorite among locals, Dusty’s looks like a classic Western ski lodge with wood-beamed ceilings and a cozy fireside, but it has a distinctly contemporary atmosphere with the excellent sound and video system turned on.
Garibaldi Lift Co or GLC for short overlooks the base of Whistler Mountain and is a popular haunt for those ending the ski day in Whistler. A sophisticated synthesis of lounge, restaurant, bar, and club, the GLC has a signature tapas and martini menu, plays the latest ski and snowboard videos, and reggae and ambient house music most evenings – and celebrity spotting is a must here.
Merlin’s Bar & Grill in the Upper Village, with the resort’s largest outdoor patio and plenty of live entertainment, is the favorite among mountain employees and local stars, and the place to party after a day on Blackcomb.
Citta’s is situated in the village square and the patio is known as the best place in Whistler for people watching. This bar is crowded from après till closing time. Other local picks are Crystal Lounge (limited seating so get in early) and the Cinnamon Bear Bar & Grill.
For the freshest beer in Whistler, look no further than the Brewhouse. The draught beer is brewed on-site and the kitchen produces tasty north western dishes. Kick back with a pint Lifty’s Lager straight from the tap, a welcome change from the domestic beers of Canada.
Most bars in Whistler have outdoor patios, play live music, and serve both classic and creative après-ski food and beverages. Naturally, they all boast a lively fun atmosphere, but for those wanting a quieter end to the ski day there are plenty of tamer bars to choose from and plenty of late night shopping.
Visitors to British Columbia, those from outside North America especially, will need to get acquainted with the local liquor laws. In Whistler you have to be 19 to consume alcohol and all clubs strictly enforce ID checks at the door. Young children cannot accompany their parents in some bars, but most establishments will allow children during après ski, but due to licensing restrictions families will have to vacate after dinner time.
The ‘number 1 après ski spot in town for over 25 years’, the lively country theme is a comfortable setting for the cold beers, grill, snacks and large patio at the bottom of the Whistler and Blackcomb gondolas. Tel: +1 604 932 5999.
Famous for table top dancing and large nacho platters, après ski here can be cocktails on the deck, watching sports, or a full-on nightclub. Karaoke nights and theme parties are regular. Located at the bottom of the Wizard chairlift at the base of Blackcomb, children are permitted until 7pm. Tel: +1 604 938 7700.
At the base of Blackcomb, this high standard steakhouse is popular with locals for its good food, pool tables and outdoor area and is equally known for a few drinks before the fire at lunch or after skiing. Tel: +1 604 932 9677
Garibaldi Lift Company
At the base of Whistler Mountain, the Garibaldi Lift Company or GLC for short is a one shop entertainment stop including a bar, restaurant and nightclub. Children only permitted until 7pm. Tel: +1 604 905 2220.
Known for having over 90 beers, many on tap, Black’s Pub has a quiet atmosphere for a few drinks and good food by day, and a more lively night. Tel: +1 604 932 5418.
Dubh Linh Gate Irish Pub
No resort is complete without an Irish Pub, and the base of Whistler Mountain is no exception. Guinness sits among 30 world draft beers and 28 malt Scotches, and the good food is as popular. Tel: +1 604 905 4047.
Its central location guarantees this bistro’s popularity. Tables can be hard to get, so book ahead to enjoy the outdoor terrace, great meals and cocktails in a warm hangout with music and entertainment. Tel: +1 604 932 3320.
A chilled-out lounge bar in the Attic, 21 Steps has comfortable sofas and flat screen TVs for watching ski and snowboard movies. Beautiful fresh food is complimented by wines and cocktails. Open until 1am Mon-Sat, and 12am on Sundays. Tel: +1 604 966 2121.
A small but intimate atmosphere with big screen TV’s and friendly service, Crystal Lodge is a popular bar for apres ski and daily specials on food and drink. Get in early after skiing or you will be greeted with standing room only. Tel: +1 604 938 1015.
Cinnamon Bear Bar & Grille
Located in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel, the Cinnamon Bear has sit down eating and a casual bar. The secluded location means it’s easier to find seating. Tel: +1 604 966 5093.
The Brewhouse in the North Village serves the best beer in Whistler, hands down, as well as offering weekly brewery tours and great choice of pizzas and pastas. Tel: +1 604 905 2790.
Restaurants in Whistler
Whistler’s reputation as an Whistler’s reputation as an international resort is reflected in the variety of cuisine on offer at over 90 restaurants catering to all tastes and budgets. There are well-stocked but expensive supermarkets for the self-caterers, but the eating out is superb with a choice of sushi, Chinese, Italian, Greek, French, and North American restaurants, plus many cafés and coffee shops.
For fine dining there are more than enough restaurants to choose from. Araxi, Quattro’s, Bear Foot Bistro and Il Caminetto di Umberto all receive great reviews for their menus and wine lists. The pride of Whistler’s Fine Dining is the Rim Rock Cafe (near Creekside), renowned for its ‘Fish and Game’ menu. Reservations are needed atleast a week in advance.
For more casual dining there are dozens of options. Elements has an affordable yet filling tapas menu, 21 Steps has amazing steaks and grills. The Sushi Village is renowned for serving large ‘dumbo’ flasks of sake to compliment its exemplary sushi menu.
For the families the Old Spaghetti Factory is affordable and has a great kid’s menu. The Crabshack, Caramba and Una Mas all offer great alternatives to an expensive dinner out.
There are also well-stocked supermarkets for self-caterers.
Nightlife in Whistler
Whistler has a strong reputation as a party town and the nightlife will never disappoint. For late night revellers there is plenty of action with a number of fashionable bars, discos, and nightclubs playing a variety of good music, such as Garfinkel’s, Down Under, Moe Joe’s, Savage Beagle, and Tommy Africa’s. Check out the local Pique newspaper for club and show listings.
Hip-hop nights, live bands and theme events, Garfinkel’s is always packed out. Thursday nights have been popular with locals for 13 years, and on Saturdays everyone comes down to party. Tel: +1 604 932 2323.
Visitors, locals and DJs have hit Tommy Africa’s for over 15 years for the mix of hip-hop, RnB and club classics until 2am. Drinks offers, shooters and a buzzing dance floor keep it popular. Tel: +1 604 932 6090.
Centrally located and on two levels, Savage Beagle is renowned for its freshly squeezed juice martinis. Popular with the locals on Tuesdays, the club gets lively after 11pm every night. Tel: +1 604 938 3337.
This downstairs bar is known for its house and hip-hop nights – air-hockey, booths and two bars add to the atmosphere with queues on Wednesdays, when it’s locals’ night. Tel: +1 604 932 1904.
Mainstream and classic dance music make every night popular – as do the cow-girls. The bar can be very busy at weekends, and the special offers on Industry Night Wednesday’s make it one of the biggest. Tel: +1 604 932 6613.
Other Activities in Whistler
Besides skiing and boarding, other snow sports activities in Whistler include snowshoeing, traditional North American dog sledding and snowmobiling as well as plenty of other activities for non-skiers.
Shopping in Whistler
Whistler is the largest resort-based retailer in North America and shops are invariably open until late. With over 200 shops there is plenty to interest non-skiers and for skiers and riders keen on adding to their equipment there are 28 sports stores in Whistler resort.
Snowmobiling in Whistler
Canadian Snowmobile Adventures and Outdoor Adventures offer snowshoeing, dog-sledding and snowmobiling. Snowmobile tours are the most popular and all kinds of themed tours are available, like the fast paced ‘Trailblazer’ and evening ‘Stargazer’.
Sno-Limo for Non-Skiers
For non-skiers wishing to get around the mountains the locally run Sno-Limo service has specially designed chairs fitted with skis and a braking system. This service allows elderly and non-skiers to enjoy the snow without the need to learn any new skills.
Coca Cola Tube Park
A great family night out is the Coca Cola Tube Park. Fun for young and old and no snow sports equipment or experience is necessary. Catch the Excalibur Gondola to Base II and the Tube Park is a short walk up the hill. If it’s raining or you want a more relaxed excursion, the Village 8 Cinema screens all the latest films.
Climbing and Exercise Classes
The Core, located right in the village, has an indoor climbing wall, a full gym and various well being classes like yoga and pilates. Core Kids has a dedicated play area with special camps and ‘climb and dine’ programmes, all fully supervised by experienced staff.
Zip-lining in Whistler
Ziptrek Eco tours offer an exciting tour by zip-lining across the Fitzsimmons Creek. In between zips across the valley at up to 80km per hour, guides educate guests on the local environment of Whistler and the Fitzsimmons catchment.