Efforts are afoot to turn an Aldergrove bar into an entertainment mecca, with David Mawhinney making it his new mission in life.
The long-time bar promoter has teamed up with Lucky Dhaliwal, the owner and general manager of Mustangs Bar & Grill, to convert the Aldergrove liquor establishment into a "must see, must be there" place for the Fraser Valley.
Introducing a new comedy series once a month, as well as performances by more live country bands, are part of the way Mawhinney hopes to help distinguish Mustangs.
"I have been running country bars since 1996," said the disc jockey and sports announcer, who recently returned to the entertainment industry as a promoter after a seven-year hiatus.
LIkewise, Mustangs was on hiatus - one might say. The facility at Fraser Highway and 272nd Street in Aldergrove reopened about 10 months ago, returning to its previous name, adding a full-time mechanical bull, featuring a 200-inch high definition television, reopening the kitchen, and turning up the heat on the entertainment end of the business, Mawhinney said.
He noted that during the past few years that bar changed hands and names a few times, being known for a while as Cowboys, Rehab, and SOHO - and primarily catering to a younger clientele.
With recent and upcoming changes, Mustangs is being rebranded and will cater primarily to a 25-year-old-plus group.
"Our goal is to be a super pub. We want to be able to offer a atmosphere of the big game on the big screen to the best entertainment this province has to offer," Mawhinney said.
"We want to be the venue that every local artist wants to play. In other words, 'we won't make it as a band unless we fill Mustangs!," he elaborated.
"I have a very strong belief in supporting up-and -coming local entertainment stars. I call them stars because if we as a community don't support our own then what do we have. There have been so much amazing British Columbian talent that has not gotten the respect that they deserve, ie. the Brent Lee Band, Ken McCoy, Kenny Hess, Karen Lee Batten, Todd Richard, etc. We want to change that and embrace the fantastic talent we have all around us."
While live music will serve as a component of this makeover, adding the monthly comedy nights will also differentiate Mustangs from other bars and clubs in the region, he insisted.
The comedy series kicks off this week-end with young comedian Sunee D (Dhaliwal) headlining.
"Dhaliwal may just be the fastest rising star on the Canadian comedy scene," Mawhinney said. "Think of the funny guy in high school that both the jocks and the nerds liked."
Mawhinney claims this Abbotsford comedian has already garnered a reputation for as both a club-and crowd-favourite, landed opening spots for top headliners like Charlie Murphy, Sugar Sammy, and Jo Koy, along with showcases for Just for Laughs and MTV.
He's also recorded for XM Radio and has done his own Comedy Now! special on CTV.
"Sunee Dhaliwal is definitely one of those comedians that you will be saying a few years from now 'I saw him when...'," said the show promoter.
"The sky is the limit for this young man."
He's being joined by Langley's own Susan Hansen, Dick Thompson, and Ian Imrie.
Imrie, for instance, was born and raised in Ontario and first started with standup comedy while in university.
In 2003, he packed up everything and moved west, bringing his sense of humour with him.
Now a husband and father, Imrie is still hamming it up, and in the process of putting together a 2013 tour called Comics on the Run.
"It may very well be the tour that takes comedy to a whole new level," Mawhinney said. "Take a peek at what that Ian guy has going on and share the good word."
The first in the monthly comedy series at Mustangs on Saturday, March 9. Doors open at 5 p.m., with the show at 8: 30 p.m. There is no reserve seating, and tickets are $10 at the door.