Every great pub has a rich history to draw on but still chooses to innovate.
It’s much easier to be a cynical pub patron in this day and age.
If there’s a fad or a craze sweeping the country, then you can bet that you’ll see bars and pubs adopting it within a few months. The biggest trend to hit our shores in recent years is the craft ale movement. Not only are drinkers more discerning about what they’re drinking, they’re now becoming a lot more particular about where they drink.
Cardiff is a city well known for its charming pubs, many of which have braved decades of tricky financial times in order to stay open today. Of course, not all establishments managed to survive. The Cambrian Tap first opened its doors as a hotel back in 1830. The hotel did good business with it’s rooms, but soon found that more and more locals were frequenting the downstairs bar which became a popular staple of Mary’s Street come the latter half of the 20th Century.
This popularity did not last though; by 1991 The Cambrian Hotel had closed it’s doors. This is how it remained until it was reopened some time later as Kitty Flynn’s an Irish pub which successfully served Cardiff for a number of years until Brains purchased the property back and began refurbishing the interior.
Brains are one of Wales’ most recognised brewers with their origins firmly placed in Cardiff’s Mary Street, so it only makes sense that they open their newest bar back where it all began for them.
The strategy of breweries opening their own pubs is not a new one.
It has been a long running tactic for successful breweries to craft their ale and then sell it directly to the customer in the form of pints. Modern breweries have now taken this one step further, taking their drinks brands and placing them front and centre on the high streets of the UK, offering consumers the opportunity to purchase their beer (as well as food) in a branded setting that fits in with current trends for how fashionable bars should appear.
The Cambrian Tap, opened by venerable brewers Brains is one such place that respects both the heritage of the beer that they serve as well as the customers who are choosing to drink there. Although uninitiated passers-by may well dismiss the exposed light bulbs and iron work as being a little on the nose in terms of fashionable decor, old frequenters of the Cambrian Tap’s previous incarnations will be relieved to see that many of the original features have been kept intact whilst providing a comfortable space for sipping on some beer.
Unsurprisingly, the majority of the drinks on offer are from Brains brewery. On cask they serve their classic golden ale, Bragging Rights (5.0% ABV), for a reasonable £3.65. Their Barry Island IPA (5.0% ABV) is only ten pence dearer and goes down well with one of the fantastic pork pies that they serve throughout the day. For just over a tenner you can sit down in one of their comfy booths, with a full meal of pie, mash, peas and gravy with a pint – not something to be sniffed at when you consider the quality of the products on offer and the cool charm of the surroundings.