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Kelowna’s iconic Doc Willoughby’s pub may change name

Doc Willoughby's on Bernard Avenue in Kelowna is looking to expand and, possibly, change its name.
Doc Willoughby's on Bernard Avenue in Kelowna is looking to expand and, possibly, change its name.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Doc Willoughby's

The new owners of Doc Willoughby’s pub in downtown Kelowna want to add another 155 seats on its second floor.

The pub opened at 353 Bernard Ave. in downtown Kelowna 20 years ago, in February 2002, but was bought by the Nixon family, who took over operations in May 2021. The family has owned BNA Brewing, also in the city's downtown, for a number of years.

“The Nixons assumed operations of Doc’s during the pandemic and have been struggling through numerous and repeated operational restrictions imposed by the Provincial Health Officer,” reads a letter filed with the City of Kelowna along with an application to amend its liquor licence.

“This has forced them to re-think their style of operation and come up with some creative ideas to remain as a feasible business in an ever-evolving and challenged hospitality industry.”

READ MORE: Kelowna's old Sturgeon Hall getting a serious make-over

They’ve already revamped the menu but now want to do more.

The current pub has seating for 150 on the main floor and mezzanine, plus 28 on an outdoor patio.

The plan is to renovate the second floor with an additional 155 seats.

The upstairs will be an extension of the pub but also be run as a multi-function area with live entertainment, film viewings, comedy nights or as a space to rent for private or corporate events.

The renovations will include soundproofing material to minimize the noise impact.

“They believe this multi-use area with its unique design and operational concept will add a new energy and vibrancy to this already cool dining location in Kelowna,” the letter says. “They are also currently considering changing the name of the establishment. This is still to be determined.”

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