Man caves and home sports dens are all the rage these days.
In keeping with the trend, why not an authentic-looking British style pub in your own home? Many people instantly think that’s a pretty cool idea and it’s the premise behind Back to Britain, a business established in Chemainus by Mark Myers and Sandy Pollard in November of 2016.
The signs at 9746 Chemainus Road have captured considerable attention since then, with passers-by wondering whether the establishment was an actual pub, an antique shop or perhaps a museum. The Union Jack name used for the showroom pub simply intensified the speculation.
It’s inside where the magic happens and a visit to the showroom provides breathtaking examples of what can be done within any home. The use of materials is one thing, but also accessories to bring it all to life, such as an actual piece of armour wrapped around a stovepipe.
“It’s an atmosphere, really,” said Myers.
Myers and Pollard first got together in the early 2000s in Abbotsford and lived in Chilliwack 10 years before coming here.
“It wasn’t even on our radar to move here,” noted Pollard. “Mark thought this would be a great place for a showroom.”
“A lot of people come here from the right places – Nanaimo, Victoria,” added Myers.
And, with Chemainus being a prime tourist destination to see the murals, it’s an added bonus to have that kind of exposure in their own backyard.
“Last summer we had people from all over the world in here,” Myers pointed out. “It’s great to talk to the people. You meet a lot of people and you meet them in a good situation.”
Myers, who grew up in North London, is a faller by trade and been in the tree-cutting industry since the age of 17. Legend has it he started climbing practically before he learned to walk.
He still does jobs on the Lower Mainland and Island in conjunction with building home pubs as the demand warrants.
Myers is such a jack-of-all-trades he even does commercials and public appearances as a Steve McQueen look-alike, with agents based in England and Los Angeles making the call at any time to request his services.
Pollard’s background after being a stay-at-home mom is in the dental field.
“By profession, I’m a dental assistant,” she explained. “I’ve done a little bit of dentistry when we first moved here, maternity leave for a lady at Village Dental.
“As Mark and I have been doing the pub work – he still does tree work – we’ve been working together.
“Most people our age are thinking about retiring. We’re starting a new business. Hopefully, it’ll ease into a retirement thing as well.”
They live above the showroom and have the best of both worlds to also utilize that area as a relaxing space.
They’ve developed a passion for sharing the experience of a traditional British pub with others.
“A lot of people have been to England and they miss it,” Myers indicated. “They want to have a little slice of that for their own pleasure.”
“In England, back in the ’60s and ’70s, you had to go to the pub Friday night,” Myers said. “We looked forward to the pub so much.”
“It’s a different feel there,” Pollard pointed out. “You went in there and it was family run. It was not so much a place for drinking. It was a place to meet your friends.”
Myers had a strong desire to recreate that style of the pubs back home and his first was built into a rock wall under a porch, making the tiny space feel like a step back in time.
Styles can vary from old country traditional to British Invasion Rock & Roll, built into a whole room with loads of detail and collectibles or just a basic bar and beams to start.
“We’ve got stuff stored; it’s ready to go,” Myers explained. “Different sorts of memorabilia, old wood.”
“The style of what we do is a mixture of old and new, whatever works together,” Pollard continued. “There’s no cookie cutter.”
There’s more details at www.backtobritainpubs.com and the showroom is open Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. or by appointment (250-246-1265).
“What Mark does we talk of it as painting a picture rather than building something,” said Pollard.
“It’s an art form,” conceded Myers. “It is construction, but it’s like constructing a mural, for instance.”
Ironically, the latest Chemainus mural, the Kew Flagpole by Cim MacDonald, was recently placed on the front of their building and provided the perfection connection to Myers’ pastime.
“Getting this mural is a great thing,” Myers enthused. “It’s almost as if it was meant to be.”