Whitefish Mountain Resort recently reached a long-term lease agreement with Bierstube owner Scott McIntosh and announced the popular bar and grill on Big Mountain will undergo an exterior facelift.
The ski resort and the bar renewed a 10-year lease with a five-year option last week. As part of the agreement, the 50-year-old building will receive new siding, doors, windows, roof and deck. The renovation project will begin this spring and be completed in time for the 2017/18 ski season.
“I am very excited about the future of the Bierstube. Having a long-term lease allows me to re-invest in the facility and I am looking forward to working closely with the mountain planning continued improvements,” McIntosh said in a press release announcing the renovation. “While the biggest changes in this renovation will be made to the exterior, some interior improvements will make our customers more comfortable while maintaining the bar’s charm.”
The new exterior design — completed by Whitefish design firm Montana Creative architecture + design — will feature board and batten siding and tie into the look of other buildings in the Village. The deck will extend off the west end of the building and be partially covered by a gable roof. The Bierstube renovation project will be managed by McIntosh and completed by Dow’s Custom Construction of Whitefish.
While the resort celebrates its 70th anniversary next season, the Bierstube will lift beer glasses in honor of its 50th year in its current home. Although there has been a Bierstube in one form or another on the Big Mountain since 1947, the current building was approved by then President and General Manager Ed Schenck in 1967. It was built by Gary Tallman of Tallman Construction for Jim and Joyce Black, Big Mountain employees who took over management of the bar. Tallman and Black were long time ski instructors together.
McIntosh took over the business 14 years ago. The building, owned by Whitefish Mountain Resort, has undergone several recent maintenance projects including restoring the foundation in 2011 and razing the deck in 2014 due to unstable footings.
In its five decades, the Bierstube embodies more than the title of being the mountain’s first après ski bar; it signifies a link to the past. From its rugged rafters to its tables carved with the signatures of patrons of past eras, the building maintains an aura that conjures the mountain’s colorful history and the unique character of a classic Montana bar.
“The ‘Stube has long been part of our skiing heritage and culture for everyone from the part-time employee to the homeowners across the street. It’s both a fixture of the past and the heartbeat of the mountain today,” McIntosh said. “It is very exciting to preserve this piece of history for decades to come.”