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Around the Horn

There’s more to being number one than location

Whistler has been voted the number one ski resort in North America by various ski magazines numerous times, a point of pride among its citizens, planners, restaurant and hotel staff.

And if Whistler residents need one more number one ranking they can be justifiably proud of, it is at the base of Whistler Mountain in the form of the Longhorn Saloon.

You see according to the Longhorn’s assistant GM, Jason Warner, The Horn is the number one consumer of draft beer in B.C., if not Canada.

"Longhorn outsells B.C. or GM Place in terms of draft beer. It’s just amazing the amount of kegs we go through in peak season."

Warner says keeping his bar staff hopping in terms of changing kegs is a good thing for the consumer as it keeps the draft beer extra fresh.

"We rarely get a send back. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever seen one. We’ve got a great selection of draft beer, from Granville Island ales and lagers to Sleeman to Guinness. Also we’re the only bar in Whistler that has Kokanee Gold on tap."

Amid the cowboy and Indian statues and paraphernalia on the walls, hangs a framed article from Snow Country magazine that ranked the Longhorn as the number one après ski spot in Canada and number nine in North America. As the December 1995 article states, "gone are the days when a few musty kegs, last week’s peanuts and a garage band in the corner constituted a fine après ski experience."

When asked to explain the Longhorn’s popularity Warner echoes the mantra of real estates agents: location, location, location.

"Obviously being 50 yards from the base of Whistler helps a lot in drawing customers. We get people who come in at 11 in the morning for something to eat and then decide to meet back here for après ski or if they get split up on the mountain," said Warner.

But as much as location helps, there is another reason why skiers and boarders leave their gear at the door and loosen their boots at the Longhorn, and that is the food.

"Our kitchen manager, Scott Holmes, has been here for 10 years and he does a great job of ensuring our food is high above your average pub fare," said Warner.

Indeed, anyone who has tucked into the Longhorn’s Mountain Burger, with bacon, cheese and mushrooms, is pleasantly amazed that they don’t have to drink eight beers or glasses of water to recover from the sort of MSG-packed burger that most pubs inflict on their unsuspecting customers.

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