The Osborne Bay Pub in Crofton lives up to its destination as the Cowichan Valley’s live music destination. (Photo by Don Bodger)

New form of social media brings people together at the Osborne Bay Pub

Crofton venue a throwback to the good old days when people got together to dance, enjoy music

The live music scene in the pubs and clubs ain’t what it used to be.

The once thriving musical locales that were the highlight of Vancouver’s nightlife for so many decades have struggled through recent years to keep their heads above water. Sadly, many have lost the battle and had to close up shop.

A similar story runs through most cities, and the Island is no exception. As musicians search high and low for places to showcase their talents, they are often left wanting. Although many venues have been lost, those few left are keeping up the good fight. But a genesis in this struggling industry is a rarity. One such phenomenon on the Island is the Osborne Bay Pub in Crofton.

Against all odds, the Osborne Bay Pub has gone in the other direction, emerging not just as the Cowichan Valley’s Live Music Destination but a place for Islanders near and far to enjoy live music and dancing in a great social atmosphere. It can all be attributed to the work of Berry Music Company Ltd. owner Patricia Berry, also the general manager/marketing executive of the Pub, for making it happen.

The landscape is a lot less crowded now for live music venues, yet it still takes an extraordinary effort to bring in the quality shows that people want to see and entice them away from snuggling up in front of the TV on weekends.

The Osborne Bay Pub truly offers a special experience for patrons.

“It is really exciting to see so many people having fun, socializing and dancing,” said Berry. “Makes me feel like all this hard work is worthwhile.”

The transformation of the establishment itself from a sleepy little seaside pub into a warm, family-friendly busy destination every day of the week and an extremely exciting, thriving nightlife scene on the weekends has been remarkable.

“The response from the music industry is outstanding,” noted Berry. “Thousands of bands have applied to play at this amazing venue. The venue itself is so wonderful – the stage, sound, dance floor, comfortable atmosphere, friendly staff, amazing food.”

The care and love of so many people has gone into crafting every aspect of the public’s experience at the pub.

And the public has responded in a big way, with five-star reviews rolling in every weekend.

“A really cool theme that I am trying to establish here is that of a new, but retro, form of social media,” Berry indicated.

Her good friend Russell Marsland, one of the founders of the R&B Allstars among many other musical projects, put it in perspective when he recently addressed the audience while performing at the Osborne Bay Pub.

“Now this is real social media, you’re here, being social,” he excitedly announced.

“In this world of electronic disconnect, it is crucial that we enjoy quality social time with our friends and neighbours,” Berry explained.

“The universal language of music brings us together in such a beautiful way. We can transcend differences, laugh and dance together, reminding us how wonderful spending time with others is.”

Berry’s life passion has always been helping people.

”The beauty within this project is the method in which I get to accomplish this,” she conceded, “Creating a place of joy through music this past year has been the highlight of my life.”

It’s meant a lot of endless hours of work and some sleepless nights, but a sea of smiling faces during Osborne Bay Pub events is her reward.

“I am overwhelmed with gratitude to get to do what I do,” Berry remarked. “A crucial aspect of live music is that it is raw and uncut. Most of what we are exposed to now is so processed and filtered, I feel that we have lost some of the beauty of reality.

“When you take in a live show, you never know what is going to happen. It is exciting and engaging to see the musicians pouring their hearts out on stage. You get to share in this with them. It is a journey we all take together, stepping out exhilarated by the new experience that we just created.”

Berry added a lady approached her after a show and said she experienced more fun than she had in 30 years. She mentioned how she felt ‘transported to another time and place on the dance floor, and all her troubles just melted away.’

Comments like that do Berry’s heart good.

The musical success aside, the pub and the adjacent cafe being renovated need more overall to survive and that’s where Berry is now putting her expertise to work. She’s recently initiated exciting incentives to bring in more weekday business, including happy hour, daily specials, a children’s menu and a new wine list focusing on Cowichan Valley wines, and new local beers and spirits.

There’s no magic formula for creating the right entertainment and dining experience, other than a good old-fashioned mix of versatility and variety that are indeed the spice of life at the Osborne Bay Pub.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Patricia Berry with Valdy, another famous performer who played at the Osborne Bay Pub recently. (Photo submitted)

The Osborne Bay Pub in Crofton is a busy place during most shows, with so many top-notch entertainers on the agenda. (Photo submitted)

A collage of the scene at the Osborne Bay Pub, with many people making sure to capture the performances on their cell phones for posterity. (Photo submitted)

Just Posted

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate facing penalty; details of Quarantine Act still being worked out

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

No more ferries will sail from Departure Bay, Mill Bay, Brentwood Bay during COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Ferries announces major changes to sailing schedules for 60 days starting Saturday, April 4

CVRD cancels all recreation and theatre programs through end of April

Community centre and recreation programs cancelled through end of April

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Long list of events disrupted by COVID-19 around the community

Challenging situation affecting fundraisers, entertainment, sports and more

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Saanich mayor receives his foster bees through pollinator rental program

‘I feel like I’m an adoptive father,’ Fred Haynes says of his rented mason bee colony

Nanaimo’s Harmac mill works to fill doubled pulp order for medical masks and gowns

Mill’s president says extra cleaning in place and workers are social distancing

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Most Read