The best après bars in Whistler, Canada

Skiers dance on the table in theor ski boots at Merlin's bar in Whistler
Merlin's is one of the best place for in-your-boots après Credit: Mike Crane

Whistler’s après scene starts at the bottom of the mountain once the lifts close at around 4pm, in lively places at Whistler, Blackcomb and Creekside serving big plates of snacks alongside a large variety of local beers. This is also the time to try a rye whisky and ginger beer – a Canadian classic. Cocktails are often served by the pitcher and extremely good value. Later on Whistler Village is the main focus of nightlife, and there are both rocking bars with live music, and more sophisticated wine bars for a quieter time.

The resort also puts on free Fire & Ice shows every Sunday evening, at the Whistler Plaza between the Whistler and Blackcomb gondolas. Skiers and snowboarders – often instructors from the ski school – perform tricks through a ring of fire to a background of fireworks. There are also regular music events, and free entertainment and activities for children at Whistler Olympic Plaza in the Marketplace sector of Whistler Village, on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3pm.

GLC

The first port of call at the Whistler base is the terrace of the Garibaldi Lift Company (known as the GLC) above the Whistler Village Gondola building. Jugs of beer and margaritas circulate with alarming frequency, and there’s a great buzz and good live music.

Merlin’s

At Blackcomb, Merlin’s is the place to be at the end of the day, serving up pitchers of beer and monster-sized piles of nachos in a big woody room. Big as it is, it still manages a laid-back cabin vibe, and ancing on tables to old-school local rockers the Hairfarmers is positively encouraged.  

Dusty’s Bar

The place to end the ski day in Creekside, Dusty’s is big barn of a bar with pitchers, partying and live music at après time. The decor is antique mountain style – though no longer features the stuffed horse that reputedly gave the bar its name – and the huge windows can be opened fully on hot days for a festival feel.

The Mallard Lounge

For more sophisticated take on apres, the Mallard Lounge at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler is perfect for live music and cocktails such as Watermelon Smash with mountain views and a sizzling log fire. Perhaps for later on, there’s also the chance to try a selection of chocolate from the dedicated Chocolate Bar, or flights of digestifs including Grand Marnier, port and fine Scotch whisky.

Garfinkel’s

Big weekly big après parties kick off at Garfinkel’s, Whistler’s biggest nightclub, with DJ’s, themed parties, live music and giveaways. If wanting a seat to rest weary dancing legs, booths with table service can be reserved.