Native pubs share pleasure, goal of the Christmas serving custom – Victoria Information

Morgan Watson, owner of Bartholomew’s Public House, behind a bar decorated with Christmas lights. (Kiernan Green / News Staff)Hostesses at the entrance to The Snug Pub at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel.  (Kiernan Green / News Staff)Hostesses at the entrance to The Snug Pub at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel. (Kiernan Green / News Staff)

Although there is no place like home for the holidays, each year select restaurants and eateries go to great lengths to reproduce the Christmas spirit by opening their doors on December 25th.

There are several restaurants in Greater Victoria that accept diners on Christmas Day for personal, professional, or spiritual reasons. Black Press Media spoke to the owners of two – Bartholomew’s Public House in downtown and The Snug Pub in Oak Bay – about their reasons and hopes for this holiday season.

It’s a matter of tradition for both Bart’s and The Snug.

Bartholomew’s references their British and Irish traditions, said Morgan Watson, Director of Food and Beverage. “A lot of the local pubs back there opened on Christmas Day for their regulars or the local community,” he said. “It’s something that has been done historically here at Bartholomew for years, so we will continue this tradition.”

In the four years that Watson and his wife ran the pub, the Christmas tradition was only interrupted in 2020 by pandemic restrictions and the corresponding decline in customers at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel and Suites, which is above Bart’s.

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The Oak Bay Beach Hotel’s Snug Pub found its local tradition after its founding in 1926.

“Our hotel – not just our current headquarters, but the brand – has been on our property for 95 years,” says Marketing and PR Manager Anneke Feuermann. “We are open every day of the year … that’s why we love to be open on Christmas Day and to be able to offer a great Christmas experience.”

The hotel’s large fireplace in front of the pub is a popular spot for vacation photos, Feurermann said. Its legacy is as old as the hotel brand itself, as its bricks have been around since the original was built. “It’s definitely a tradition for guests and locals to come to us on that day,” she said.

The Christmas hustle and bustle of the two hotels also plays a role in the decision of their pub to serve guests and public alike. Watson said he expected as many seats as any other Saturday on the 25th. Reservations for the evening are almost completely filled. “But it’s not just about business. It’s about giving something back to the residents, enjoying a little folk festival and a traditional Christmas dinner, ”he said.

The reservations for the Christmas dinner in The Snug Pub are fully booked, Feurermann said. However, there are still places available on the waiting list.

Guests with reservations or those looking to eat out are asked to check with restaurants in advance as public health regulations may change.

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