The Blind Pig Pub officially opened last week in the heart of historic downtown Cranbrook. (Barry Coulter file)

Blind Pig joins downtown Cranbrook’s hospitality scene

The Blind Pig Pub officially opened last week in the heart of historic downtown Cranbrook

The Blind Pig Pub officially opened last week in the heart of historic downtown Cranbrook.

The newly refurbished taproom and eatery features a rustic prohibition look and a return to uncomplicated dishes, conceived under the direction of owner and operator Danyari Shields.

“We are thrilled to open our doors in the heart of downtown Cranbrook,” says Shields. “It’s a spot where the community can come together. Everyone has a story to share about this building —when it was the Byng Hotel, when it was Dewey’s. People are excited to see the transformation.”

Located a few steps from the Cranbrook Clock Tower Square, the expansive 150-seat Blind Pig Pub offers a full menu and late-night pub service. Shields and her husband Drew Hillier renovated the historic hotel, one of the first buildings in Cranbrook dating back to the 1800s.

Shields, a Kelowna-born entrepreneur, first came to Cranbrook two years ago to open Mountain Cannabis. When the lease came up for the location next door, the pub idea began to take form. Fast-forward through extensive renovations, and patrons can now enjoy a local craft brew in a comfy yet upscale location.

The beer list features an extensive on-tap menu, including the house craft brew, Speakeasy, as well as lagers and ales from Fernie Brewing Company and other BC craft brews including Bad Tattoo and Electric Bicycle Brewing. The list is hand-printed on the new chalkboard-painted cooler doors, originals from the historic hotel bar.

Menu service is headed up by chef Micheal Schnobb, who originates from Montreal, so look for Montreal smoked meat meal and MTL poutine as well as a five-burger menu (with an additional veggie option) and the massive black bins of Macho Nachos. Mains will include the Reef and Beef prawn and steak dinner as well as upscale pasta dishes.

The Blind Pig Pub features a curated cocktail list, thanks to Justin Atterbury and Steve Kuffler of the Taynton Bay Spirits, a small craft distillery in Invermere who have recently expanded their offerings after a successful Dragon Den’s pitch.

The Blind Pig Pub is a welcome addition to the Kootenay Rockies tourism region. For avid outdoor enthusiasts and snowboarders enjoying the nearby mountain slopes at Kimberley Alpine Resort and Fernie Alpine Resort, Shields encourages them to “burn those calories, then come here.”

While the pandemic and undertaking upgrades to a 100-plus-year-old building threw a few hurdles at Shields and her team, she’s excited to finally welcome her patrons. “The pandemic allowed us to slow down and think about what we were going to do, rather than racing to the finish line,” she says. “It was a hard time, but it almost worked in our favour. We’ve had almost two years to think about how we want to open.”

The Blind Pig Pub is located at 21 Cranbrook Street North just off of Highway 3 in downtown Cranbrook.