An old, historic building in downtown Chilliwack has been given a fresh and modern touch by new business owners.
Garry Peddle and Yu ‘Oscar’ Zhang opened Wilde Oscar’s earlier this year. It’s a pub with a mix of lively entertainment and drinks located in the Royal Hotel on Wellington Avenue.
The two Vancouverites wanted to open a cafe in Vancouver. However, high real estate prices put that plan on hold and the two focussed on buying a house instead. But, again, a house in Vancouver was a bit out of their price range.
“We didn’t have $1.2 million for a house,” says Peddle.
When a friend told them how affordable housing in Chilliwack was, they decided to head east. Peddle and Zhang moved to Chilliwack in March and a month later, they opened Wilde Oscar’s.
Peddle is a high school art teacher with lots of hospitality experience, and Zhang specializes in the English language for international trade.
“We wanted to (add) an inclusive space out here where anyone can feel welcome — absolutely anyone. That includes the LGBT community,” says Peddle. “We wanted that outlet for the gay community to feel welcome and safe.”
The two warmly greet guests as soon as they step in the door. The atmosphere is casual and inviting. Drink lists are written in a variety of colours on black chalkboards that hang on walls throughout the pub.
Head past the main pub space and you’ll find yourself in The 64 — a large, open room where they hold special events.
“I’m really glad that we opened up this space and that people feel welcome,” he says, adding that they hold many events to serve the community at Wilde Oscar’s in both the pub itself and in The 64.
They host everything from regular dances to fundraisers to meetings.
In September, the Chamber of Commerce had its monthly Chamber Connections meeting there, which was a huge success, he adds.
Wilde Oscar’s hosts monthly drag shows, plus themed dances on a regular basis. In October they hosted a Halloween dance, and earlier this month they had their first women’s dance.
On Saturday Nov. 26 they are having a fundraiser for Lee Wilton, a woman with MS who is trying to raise funds to get treatment. It starts at 8 p.m. with music by Duelling DJs, and also features a silent auction, raffle and 50/50 draw. Tickets are $20 at the door.
On Friday, Dec. 2 it’ll be their Pop Divas dance from 8 p.m. until 1 a.m.
“I really like seeing people enjoy our events and having fun,” says Peddle.
With a maximum capacity of 95 in the pub proper and up to 85 in The 64, Wilde Oscar’s is available for private rentals as well. People can rent one of the two spaces, or both.
To help quench your thirst, they have five locally-brewed beers on tap. From Old Yale Brewing they have the Knotty Blonde Ale, Off Trail Pale Ale, Sasquatch Stout, and West Coast IPA. From new Chilliwack brewery, Chaos and Solace, they have their Lakeside Hefe-Weisse.
They also serve a good variety of domestic beers, imported beers and coolers, plus they have a decent selection of wine and martinis.
Pub food is catered through the Royal Cafe located beside the pub in the Royal Hotel.
Wilde Oscar’s is located at 45886 Wellington Ave. and is open Wednesdays to Saturdays starting at 3 p.m.