Café/Bar now offering Islanders bits, brews at Brookvale

Bits Bikes Brews, a mobile café/bar, has set up shop at the Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park at Brookvale and has acquired a liquor licence.

'I've been coming here for close to 20 years and this is just a really nice touch'

Cynthia King is the owner of Bits Bikes Brews. (Travis Kingdon/CBC)

Normally during summers, Cynthia King runs a cycling tour business.

 But with no tours because of COVID-19 this year, King decided to pivot.

"So I thought, well, maybe I'll convert my trailer into a café and see how that works," she said. 

King knew that the Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park at Brookvale was popular through the summer with mountain bikers, so she parked her trailer and started selling snacks and beverages.

"I know what it's like to … spend a couple hours on the trails and then want to have a refreshment after," she said. 

King decided to continue into the winter, providing visitors to Brookvale's nordic site something similar to the summer offerings.

But she added to the menu in November. She acquired a liquor licence to the trailer. 

It's the first time that alcohol can be purchased at the provincially run facility. In an email, the province said this is a "test program."

"If it's well received by users, we may consider the possibility of offering this opportunity at the Alpine lodge as well," a spokesperson for the province said in an email.

There's a small seating area for people to enjoy their purchases.

It's the first time Islanders can buy alcohol at Brookvale. (Travis Kingdon/CBC)

King said people like to talk about their activity when they are finished. She said they often like to do it with a beverage and a comfortable place to sit.

"I think it will kind of help keep people in touch with each other, too," she said, noting many indoor spaces are closed and there are fewer options for socialization.

For John MacQuarrie, it's something that's been a long time coming. "I've been coming here for close to 20 years and this is just a really nice touch," he said.

Helen Smith-MacPhail agrees. 

"To be able to come here during this difficult time and have a bite to eat really makes a difference, and the fact that it's outside just makes it a really nice winter thing to do," she said. 

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