When word got out in June that Deep Cove’s iconic pub had fallen into disrepair, some were worried The Raven would fly the coop.
But the new management taking over the space – a company that runs several updated Irish bars around Vancouver – assured the community they were going to save the pub, instead of replacing it.
Now, after several months of expedited renovations, The Raven is set to reopen this week.
“We’re very excited about the opportunity to bring back The Raven to its original legendary status,” said IRL Group president and CEO William Donnellan. “As you can see over the entrance when you arrive there now, it says ‘the legend lives on.’ That’s our new slogan.”
Donnellan said the bar passed its health inspection last week, and that the finishing touches are being done on the interior.
The half-a-million-dollar renovation job was spearheaded by general manager James Browne, who has overseen large operations like Shamrock Bar in English Bay, and Donnellan’s Irish Pub on the Granville strip downtown.
Browne said The Raven will open its doors to the public at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, in time for Canada's soccer match against Belgium.
While Donnellan is known for his Irish establishments, he emphasized that The Raven won’t be pushed as an Irish bar, and is focused on giving the Deep Cove community the place they deserve.
“Lots of the locals have popped their head in the door, and the feedback has been extremely positive,” he said. “Some people have left some notes on the door, some very kind words, which is lovely to see.
“It’s got a real warm and friendly feeling, and we have a fantastic team there,” he added. “I have no doubt that the place will be a huge success.”
Browne explained that The Raven would also be piloting a new menu that would "set the bar" for food offerings at their other establishments going forward.
The Raven has a storied history in the community, dating back to 1946 as the Amble Inn, and has been open under its current name since 1979. But that legacy came into question earlier this year when previous operators Gibbons Group didn’t renew the lease, while the building was in dire need of repair.
Whether the pub would keep its original name was up in the air as well. Rest easy, Spirit of the West fans – you can still end your North Shore pub crawl at The Raven.