"My wife wanted to keep it,” says O’Shucks’ owner Bruce Corrigan, recalling the bowling alley that once occupied his inimitable pub at 427 Main St. “But it was just so expensive.” So, in 1994, Corrigan tore out the alley, and before there was room for an angry local uprising, he and his wife, Deb, opened O’Shucks, a beer, nuts, and boisterous hole-in-the-wall bar that smoothed over the transition so seamlessly, few remember there were ever bowling balls and pins in Old Town. In August, Corrigan’s “comfy joint for skiers to hang out” celebrates its 20th anniversary. The Corrigans built the place to target people like them: powder hounds who’d come to Park City to fulfill an extended, mountain-centric adolescence. Unlike many Main Street businesses, O’Shucks ran year-round. Competitive freeskiers manned the taps behind the bar. Fish bowl–sized schooners of beer, cheap burgers, and, of course, complimentary peanuts became its hallmarks, along with the frat-house-chic décor. “Life is crazy. Things unfold in front of you,” says Corrigan. “I wanted to build a place where the lifties and instructors could afford to go.”
It was tough to find an empty stool in the place during O’Shucks’ heyday. “We don’t have that local population in Old Town anymore,” says Corrigan about the second-home boom and the relocation of locals to Silver Springs and beyond. “We had to become more palatable to tourists.” The bar became a private club with a full liquor license, and Corrigan added a few classic arcade games and a pool table in the back. And then in 2006, four years after opening a sushi restaurant inside his O’Shucks Salt Lake City location, Corrigan opened O’Shucks–Ahh Sushi at Quarry Village near Jeremy Ranch for local families. The larger space is kid-friendly and capable of hosting events and parties. Corrigan, however, still considers the Main Street location O’Shucks’ heart and soul.
“There’s an energy we tapped into,” says Corrigan, now a 57-year-old self-professed ski bum.“It’s the mountain-town groove. We speak skiing. The ski industry has been great to us over the years. We’re now a landmark and hope it stays that way for the next 20 years.”