Popular downtown Kelowna watering hole Doc Willoughby's has been sold | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Popular downtown Kelowna watering hole Doc Willoughby's has been sold

Doc Willoughby's on Bernard Avenue in Kelowna.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Doc Willoughby's

The popular Kelowna pub Doc Willoughby’s will retain a piece of its history after being sold to new owners.

Doc Willoughby’s owner Dave Willoughby announced the bar’s sale today, March 17, to Kyle and Carolyn Nixon who own Skinny Duke’s Glorious Emporium and the BNA Brewing Brewing Co. & Eatery.

“It’s time for a new set of eyes and some new energy to come into the business to take it to the next level, and the Nixon family have the same sort of appreciation of heritage and the family aspect of the business,” Willoughby said.

His decision to sell was not influenced by the pandemic, as he owns the building and was managing with wage subsidies offered by the federal government. He has owned the bar on Bernard Avenue in the city's downtown since 1999.

The pub, a longtime staple in Kelowna's nightlife, will retain the name of Willoughby’s grandfather Dr. Charles James McNeil Willoughby, who served in the Royal Medical Corp during the First World War after graduating from the University of Toronto medical school, according to the Canadian Letters and Images Project.

After the First World War, he returned to Canada where he practiced medicine in Kamloops and was one of the few doctors in the city during that time. He also served as Conservative MP for the Kamloops-Cariboo riding in the 1960s for a term. He died in 1995. 

“I just wouldn’t let anyone to use that name. It’s a testament to my confidence in their ability to carry that reputation forward with respect and dignity,” Willoughby said. "You think about somebody with his heritage and his legacy and I think he would be very excited to see his history was carrying on forward and I'm proud of that as well. The whole pub is a homage to his legacy."

The Nixons' ownership begins May 1.

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