Josh Wall, Richard Matthews, and Victoria Lang, pause for a brief moment in the days leading up to Ullr Bar’s grand opening May long weekend. Photo by Lorene Keitch

All hail the new Viking-themed bar

Ullr Bar opens this weekend

Find your inner Viking next weekend at the grand opening of Invermere’s newest business: Ullr (read Ooh-lar) Bar.

Co-owners Richard Matthews, Josh Wall, and Victoria Lang want to create a place that builds community and brings people together, and they see correlations between their values and those of the Vikings.

“The core theme with Vikings is protecting and being around your friends, family and village and, more than anything, being together and supporting each other. And that’s why we really like that theme, because we want to build a place that you can go to with your friends and family and be together as a community,” says Mr. Matthews.

They have no interest in duplicating other existing businesses in town, so are intentionally building a different style business from the creative theme to the model of their business.

“We want to be an add-on, instead of a hindrance here, and create something that will benefit the locals and the guests,” says Mr. Matthews.

The trio took possession of the old Shakmans Bar location on 13th Street (next to Birchwood) May 1st, and have been slaving to get it ready for their open date Wednesday, May 16th. Outside, they are redoing the patio, dropping the railing down, and setting up comfortable lounge furniture to create a welcoming atmosphere. Inside, they redid the hardwood flooring, are updating the decor, and installing new taps, amongst many other renovations.

A 13-foot long live-edge communal table will dominate the ‘Ale House’ at the front of Ullr. Food will be ‘family style’ choices, all created with communal sharing in mind.

“We think that’s an interesting way of diversifying the serving styles and types of food you get here in Invermere,” Mr. Matthews says.

He envisions patrons coming in for an appetizer and ale before heading next door to Birchwood, for example, to eat dinner, then coming back to Ullr to close the night out with some great music and well-crafted fresh-squeezed juice cocktails, sourced as locally as possible, or one of the 12 beers on tap (from Invermere-based Arrowhead to some unusual ones from further afield that cannot be found anywhere else in town, Mr. Matthews reports).

In Norse mythology, Ullr is the Viking god of snow, archery, skating, and skiing. The Viking theme will be evident throughout, from the mural of Ullr on the feature wall, to the authentic bullhorn mugs and Viking helmets for fun photo ops.

They are calling the bullhorn mugs the ‘Cups of Legend’, with the idea that you can buy a mug for yourself or someone you consider to be a legend, and it will be there for use by that person alone. Mr. Matthews, Ms. Lang, and Mr. Wall also want to honour legends of the Valley with the cups.

“The first cup will be a cup for Tim Goldie. We can’t thank him enough for the impact he’s had on the three of our lives, and the impact he’s had on our community,” Mr. Matthews says (Mr. Goldie was a well-known and loved local who passed away from brain cancer in 2016).

Mr. Matthews says one of the trio’s core values is in helping others in the community, the way the Valley rallied around Mr. Goldie during his battle with cancer. Mr. Matthews shares that when he was working at Panorama, he had plans to move to Calgary and open a nightclub. But, when he saw the community rally around a few people close to him in their time of need, he knew he wanted to stay in a community that values and supports its people. Ms. Lang agrees.

“We want to create a place where people in the community are proud to come here, to be involved here, to throw an event here … We want this to be a reflection of our personal values and who we are as a community,” says Ms. Lang.

The business partners have planned a number of fun events already and propose to do one major event every month. If you like country music, the first Friday of the month Ullr Bar will transform into Ullr Country Bar. Every Wednesday will be musical bingo, and Singalong sharing Sundays will turn the page to the end of each weekend.

Ullr Bar’s grand opening is May long weekend, with no cover charge and featuring local bands and DJs Friday through Sunday. Friday, May 18th features Shred Kelly and the Smalltown Dirtbags. Saturday includes DJs Wil C, Juice and DasBooty, and Sunday the Big Eli Blues band will be in the house. Doors open at 4 p.m. Live music on all three nights start after 9 p.m.

For more information on Ullr Bar, visit www.ullrbar.com.

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