The Shovel Gets Supersized

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
November 19th, 2008

Re-opening shortly, Rosslanders and tourists alike will have a refurbished and expanded bar in town to swap ski tales, shoot some pool, toss a few darts or pick up the hammer for a game of good ole Neglin this season. Over the past week and a half The Flying Steamshovel crew has been hard at work, embarking on their expansion plans to get the revamped bar up and running in time for the busy season.

Plans to add approximately 1200 square feet to the bar, effectively doubling its size and capacity have been in the works since new GM Chris Bowman got involved with the operation last year after a move from Calgary.

“This is his brain child,” says pub manager Mike Sullivan. “He’s been running this right from square one. It was his idea so he did all the layout design and Pacific Consultants drew up the plans for us.”

With all of the changes going on, Shovel regulars need not fret as their local watering hole will retain the same look and feel as the old pub.

“We’re keeping the same feel, the same look, just bigger.” explained Sullivan. “Our biggest draw was the fact that it was just a good place for people to come, and the locals are comfortable with it. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

The new space will feature one long hall extending all the way to the front of the building on 2nd Avenue, creating an open space ideal for live acts to perform on the brand new stage. Hosting events and live bands will be a major focus once the new space opens. With the ability to host around 140 people (up from approximately 70) and a brand new dance floor, the place should be rocking.

“We really wanted to pick up where the Uplander left off and have a bigger venue for bands and a bigger place for people to come,” says Sullivan. “Last winter we’d have people lined up at the door because we were at capacity three or four nights a week sometimes. This will alleviate some of that pressure but we still expect to sell out for big events or bands we’ll be bringing in.”

Other improvements to the bar will include high definition flat screens, a large screen projector TV above the stage, a new back area featuring pool tables, dart boards, a new top of the line sound system, a digital security system and a larger bar and serving station.

“The first year I lived here I never came into the Shovel once. We always went down to The Uplander because that’s where they had two pool tables a stage and a dance floor, just lots of space, so we’re basically taking over from what that used to be,” Sullivan notes. “Our goal is to be the marquee bar in town.”

You can get a first look at the new space next Thursday with the planned soft re-opening, to be followed by a grand opening party a few weeks later once any new kinks have been worked out and the bar is running smoothly in its new super-sized format.

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