OUR COMMUNITY: Rick Fast — Woodworker Extraordinaire

Rick Fast builds old, English-style pubs in people's basements.

Rick Fast (left) started building custom in-home pubs like this one about a year and a half ago.

Rick Fast (left) started building custom in-home pubs like this one about a year and a half ago.

Rick Fast builds pubs.

Not the type of pubs meant for the general public — they’re more of the at-home sort of pubs. But not the standard ‘bar in the corner of your basement, beside the big-screen TV, ready to host a Grey Cup party’ type of setup.

His pubs are way more elaborate than that.

Take an old Irish or English pub, compact it into a space about one-tenth the size of a commercial one, and put it in your basement.

That’s the type of pub Fast builds.

These pubs are completely walled in. The old, musky smell of antique wood fills the room as you open the door and walk in. Lamps sit on the ends of the bar and hang from the ceiling above giving the whole pub a warm, golden glow.

The room is packed with knickknacks. There are beer steins and mirrors, plaques and metal trays, wooden ducks and sailing ships, pitchers and guns. They fill every shelf and section of wall you can imagine.

It’s hard to move without brushing up against something, or someone.

Fast, owner of Canadian Heritage Timber, has been working with wood since he was 16 years old, but it’s only been over the last year and a half that he’s been building pubs.

About two years ago, Mark Myers saw Fast’s company truck at a gas station and inquired about the wood beams in the box of his pickup truck. He wanted similar beams for his in-home pub.

For four months Myers would call Fast time and time again. “You have to come see my pub,” he’d say.

But Fast didn’t want to see it. Honestly, he didn’t really care. It was only after Fast’s friend saw the pub and raved about it, that he went to go see it.

“When I saw Mark’s pub, I flipped. I said ‘that is absolutely through the roof!'” he recalls.

Ever since, the two have been working together to make custom-built pubs and saloons for people. Fast brings in the customers through his business, and Myers focuses on the interior design.

“It’s a collaborative effort,” says Fast. “We are way stronger working together. It takes artistic flare to take what Mark and I have and put it together.”

“Why do we do it?” he asks. “Because it’s a piece of artwork and it’s unique. Then the craft beer market exploded and it was the perfect time.”

They use anything from one-of-a-kind finds at Value Village, to beams and other wood pieces from old churches, to driftwood.

“One little piece of wood can have an amazing story,” says Myers.

All of it has to be old, refurbished wood they say, otherwise that feeling of stepping into a century-old pub simply isn’t there.

And each pub they build is different.

“It’s completely customized to you and what is important to you,” says Fast.

“It’s like painting the Mona Lisa — it’s all got a balance,” says Myers. “If you put one thing in and it doesn’t incorporate itself with the rest, you don’t use it. Then you try something else and, bang, you got it!”

These pubs are hidden gems throughout Chilliwack. Anyone walking by the outside of the house has no idea what treasure is inside.

Myers’ pub is located in his basement and has two entrances, one from inside the house, and another in the garage. His neighbour, a few doors down, also has a pub which is built in his garage. There are nights when there’s a mini neighbourhood pub crawl and both pubs are open for the neighbours to come and go as they please.

“These are real community pubs. There are no TVs,” says Myers. “Everyone appreciates it. What can be better than, after seeing it all, sitting down and having a beer with (your neighbours)?”

How do their friends and neighbours describe these community pubs in one word? Incredible. Enjoyable. Unique. Creative. Authentic. Nostalgic. Indescribable. Life-altering.

“You are transported and there’s nothing else you can say,” says Fast.

Fast and Myers knew they had to build a display pub inside Canadian Heritage Timber.

“If we don’t make one as a display, we don’t have a hope of selling them,” recalls Fast when they first started working together.

Custom pubs start at around $50,000, but it’s easy for them to double or triple in price.

“You will get something that’s original,” says Myers.

“These are custom made and you can see that they are,” adds Fast. “These are for people who enjoy their craft beer and want to be in their environment. It’s a walk-in piece of furniture.”

Those wanting to see the display pub can visit the store at 8950 Young Rd. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays to Fridays.