Apex's Gunbarrel Saloon opens up with a new direction

Saloon open with new vibe

The Gunbarrel Saloon at Apex Mountain Resort had their soft opening on Friday, operating under new management that aims to change the vibe of the restaurant.

“We've taken down some of the old beer signs and made it look a lot nicer to be more of a dining establishment instead of so much of a beer swiggin' pub that it used to be,” said Jesse Ritchie, the owner and operator of the Score Pub Group. The Score took over the saloon this year. 

Ritchie saw an opportunity to take over the saloon, and growing up in Naramata and Summerland, the mountain was special to him. 

“My grandfather was one of the first people to start Apex, one of the first investors," he said.

“The Gunbarrel needed new life and somebody to come operate it. I just felt like we could do a great job and give people a safe and different experience this year.”

While the restaurant is excited to share the new menu and their "world-famous Caesars" that they offer in Vancouver and Toronto, their main focus in taking over was safety. 

“We do see it being a bit of a battle up here because of people being very used to their routines up here and mingling around, having big groups. Apres ski is always just a fun way to come in and say hi to everybody,” Ritchie explained. 

“Once we're able to train sort of the regulars here that we are enforcing the rules and we're not taking it lightly, it's not the old Gunbarrel this year, then I feel like it's not going to be a problem.”

Changes to the restaurant include removing the long communal tables and pool tables, along with new barriers and partitions to keep people safe. 

“The last thing we want to do is obviously get anyone sick, first and foremost, we want to have a safe environment for everybody so that people feel comfortable coming here. But we have a responsibility to the mountain to stay open.”

Ritchie added it would be "devastating" for the mountain if they were to shut down, being the major food and beverage operator on the hill. 

During the week before Apex mountain opens on Dec. 5, the Gunbarrel Saloon is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

When Apex opens, they will be open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the weekends and weekdays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

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